2000AD creator Pat Mills official blog, part of Millsverse, might be an acquired taste for some with its mix of marketing and memoir, but I really do enjoy the industry details. (I think “The Sparky People” strip in my childhood copies of Sparky is what started me on the road to a life in publishing, and I can’t stop reading about others’ experiences).
Pat’s latest post, “What Price the Crown Jewels“, about Royalty Payments for “Sláine: The Horned God“, used as the launch strip for Hachette’s news stand 2000AD: The Ultimate Collection, is pretty eye-opening and should be a warning to anyone wanting to make a living in Industrial Comics.
His comments come as he is developing a new one-shot comic, Space Warp, that aims to encourage new talent and to prove the viability of a proper copyright deal based on the French comics industry standard.
2000AD publishers Rebellion have chosen not to comment on Pat’s article.
“Sláine: The Horned God” by Mills and Simon Bisley was the story that catapulted 2000AD in to its painted future. It’s remembered fondly by comic readers and Metal fans. It’s enjoyed on multiple continents and it obviously still has name value, if it’s the launch title of a new imprint.
Pat’s article indicates the publisher gets sales receipts of £2,587.30 (any licensing fee for the book series is not included in royalties) and the creators share £258 of that… £258 for reprints of what is the publisher’s biggest stand-alone story, by two of their most saleable names.
This strip is unlikely to be reprinted again for three to five years, so it’s not doing much for the creators’ bank accounts.
So, if you are aiming to work on Industrial Comics, you had better be getting a page rate you’re happy with and you should be treating it like any other job, because I don’t think you’ll be getting a better deal than Mills and Bisley!
Simon Russell, artist of the recent marriage of Njord & Skadi comic, splits his time between illustration and graphic design for ethical companies and charities and making comic-based art. In the comics world he’s probably best known as Managing Editor for David Lloyd’s onscreen comic Aces Weekly or for making my own comics art projects (such as the “That’s Not My Merkin” parody, “Nearlymades”, or “ROY”, appropriating Lichtenstein’s paintings for comic book panels). He’s also done production work for Sequential and designed many books for London’s Cartoon Museum and Ralph Steadman among others.