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A Comic Agency
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glych
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Joined: 25 Jun 2001
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Location: So' Cal, USA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2001 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi! It's me again... Um... I have an idea about the business of comics in general. The topic about the difference between "pros" and "ametures" is a well rounded, well thought out conversation -but for my two cents, the real difference isn't in selling out or staying pure, it's simply how well known you are and how much money you're making doing what you do...

This is why I've started a new topic.

One problem I've noticed in a lot of companies that are "professional" is a lack of good ideas -Stagnant stories, characters, and art- and also a lack of "professionalism". The latter in that most of these highly profiled books are often late and of lower quality than the first few issues. Some have different, less talented artists or writers than their pilot issues, or go so far as printing their books without full colors are inks meaning that the first half looks beautiful but the second half looks slapped together.

I found myself thinking of several things, including a way that these "mistakes" might be prevented.

Then I was thinking about how hard it is to be considered a "professional" in this business, in that how hard it is to get noticed and known while making money. (I am a nobody in these regards, very few people know me by site or even my name when printed, but I'll be damned if it'll be that way for forever. Meanwhile I doubt Scott here has a moment alone at conventions and lectures due to the high profile of his ideas...Sorry for stealing your time Mr. McCloud!) So how do you bridge this gap between an ameture and a pro status without "selling out" or regurgitating old and stagnant ideas?

Then it hit me- A way to both improve comics from the inside and to introduce new talent into the biz without long lines to stand in to get 5 minutes with a tired editor to look at your work when his eyes are numb after seeing hundreds of others that day...

One common stereotype of an "ameture" (other than typos like the one repeated here because it is late and the procrastinator in me is to lazy to get a dictionary) is that they are "unprofessional" in the way of not meeting deadlines or being able to carry out their side of a contract. Not every unknown is like this, I can vouch for this myself. But without this person having at least one job to say "see? I met all my deadlines and I did good work!" they won't get a job at all, or at least not a very good one. It's a catch 22: without a job, you can't get a job.

So I was thinking about an Agency. Agents doing their hardest to get great artists, writers, colorists, inkers, editors, letterers, etc. into the business to -not only make money- but to improve the business itself. I mean, I've seen some incredible stuff in portfolios on my lap, thinking "If I only had the money to print my own books I'd hire this guy in a flash!" and also seeing some god-aweful stuff in printed books thinking "what the f*ck? I thought these guys were professionals!"

Now, If there were some way for me to get artist a (the bitchin' portfolio) into company b's hands (the printer of the really bad book I wasted $2.50 on) then that would solve the problem of artwork alone, not to mention of I could do the same thing with bad stories, inkers, etc...

One "pro" in the field argued that this would put artist b (the bad printed artist) out of a job. In defense of that, I answer "it doesn't put him out a job persay, it merely wakes him up that his work isn't up to par with what is available out there."

This would also have another pro to it: If book b were running late because artist a or b, depending, decided to punch out 80 pages in 5 hours and keep going and there were only one inker assigned to the book, comany b might hire some of the agencies tried and true inkers to help with the workload, like temps. This is only one example.

It'll help to "pro" companies in that they can spend more time focusing on their comics instead of wading through stacks and stacks of submissions by going to one place. And it helps the "ametures" (there's that typo again) by having them worry about only submitting to one place and having someone beleive in them backing them up and working for them to reach both their goals. The companies would get good talent and the talent would get good work.

Now, this idea of mine isn't completely thought out yet, so if you have any ideas of your own concerning it, please tell me, I'd like to do my best to make it work.

I think it's a good start at least, for the printed-on-dead-trees portion of the business.

-glych

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ashess
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Joined: 20 Nov 2001
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Location: amsterdam

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2001 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sounds kinda nice. so you'd have a company with a collection of selected protefolios and try and get companies as customers. still, do these companies want to be your customers.. they seem to be keeping their heads up fine. crap sells.
still, a web-site umbrella for comic artists would be great.
'f course you'd have to think of a way to put them into catagories, or there would be too many. It would be fun though. I'd be up.
course, I'm not american, so chances are I won't even be able to join. *grumbles*

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glych
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Joined: 25 Jun 2001
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Location: So' Cal, USA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2001 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, when I posted that- i didn't know that there already was an agency for comic and children's book illustrators already out there -so I guess it's true: there are no new ideas in the world....*shrugs*...

As for a website ubrella, there are several.

http://www.digitalwebbing.com for one has a great community and classifieds for comic companies. A wonderful place to post your work.

also, http://www.polykarbon.com has a great message board where people can get their work cretiqued by other artists (some proffessional) without being charged an arm and a leg to improve their work emmensly, so when it comes to the cons, your work stands out (you don't have the editor telling you things you could have picked up from peirs).

Some more good sites are http://www.cartooncommunity.com,
http://www.keenspot.com
http://www.keenspace.com
http://www.comicbookpros.com (some have great forums for you to chat with other fans of these artists and the artists themselves)
http://www.viewaskew.com (also a great forum, and kevin checks it daily.

So- yeah! you'd be surprised what is actually out there...

as for the "non-american' thing, I don't think that really matters anymore...

if you got the talent, you got the job in this day and age...

so- g'luck!

-glych

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steve
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Joined: 20 Jan 2002
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2002 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Glych. I know I'm new here and all, but I would like to say something.... I read your previous post and felt it sounded great. I totally agree with you.

I guess it's a little easier for me, than other starving artist, since I have a great job as a Software Test Engineer, but I still long to be a cartoonist full time.

I meet all of my deadlines, I update my site as often as I can, I advertise my site and cartoons everywere and I'm published in several papers and magazines. This is not meant as boasting or an ego caress, all I'm saying is that it is very hard to make it in this biz. And even those of us who try very hard and market our wares very well, still can't quit our day job.

I wish you the best in putting all of that together. Let me know how it turns out, K.

Steve, cartoonist of "Strange Breed"
http://www2.hi.net/s4/strangebreed.htm
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glych
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2002 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would love to put something together like this someday, unfortunetly, I'm only 18, going to college full time, working retail full time, and drawing comics during the time I should be sleeping. I'm getting there, but I'm not there yet. You and I seem to be in the same boat here.

Even if I can't organize an "agency" like I plan to someday, I think that while we're here, we should do our best to help others. Don't burn bridges, and the like.

I'm not saying hire your friend over an equally or more qualified artist if you happen to become the editor of Marvel, I'm saying tell your friend about the position available and let him submit his work just like everyone else. There's a difference between "polite" and "politics" and man do I hate politics...

I guess that's one of the main reasons why I wanted to make an agency, to try and bypass the gossip and backstabbing.

Just because the comic biz is one of the smaller "nicer" art industries, doesn't mean it lacks these things, only that they're not as obvious.

I dont know...today seems to be a bitter day for glych... Ignore me.

thank you for the optomism. I needed that ^_^.

-glych

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InkAddict
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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2002 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
So I was thinking about an Agency.


You're right Glych: there should be more of these. They could get the best artists at the best places, and could even defend their rights too! Not having to defend yourself can also mean that the talking is done by something who is good at talking,... and who sees the little booby-traps in each contract.

That way artists could really go on drawing, not having to visit editors every day. Their agents would also know which company fits which artist and vice versa!
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chrisSturhann
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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2002 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glych,

I've read through all of this and I think that the idea of a comic artist agent is fine. Been done, but that's not to say that there isn't room for another agency. To do such a thing, you would really to know the business. You would also need a lot of contacts. You would need to know who is looking for what and when. You would need a good reputation, so that your contacts would know that the artist you refer are not only good but reliable. I could go on and on. This doesn't mean that it is not a worthy endeavor, but it does mean that it would be a lot of work to be successful.

On the subject of poor quality professional artists (I'll call them hacks) who continue to get work over "better" artists. There may be a number of reasons, right or wrong, just or unjust, why these hacks continue to get work.

Right/Just Reasons. The hack might be very very reliable. Always meets deadlines, returns phone calls/e-mails. Will turn work around faster when a project is behind schedule. Contacts the editor when he runs into problems and makes arrangements to do get the work out. The hack might just be really nice (funny, cool, insert complimentary adjective here), and people like working with him. And they rather give the work to him than a better artist they think is an a$$hole.

Wrong/Unjust Reasons. The hack might be related to/sleeping with the editor. The hack might just happen to be around. I understand that back in the old days, one of the best ways to break into the business was to hang around the Marvel offices and wait for someone to have a crisis. "Hey, maybe this kid can do it." While I'm sure that's not the case anymore, I'm sure a bit of this still goes on. The hack happens to be a professional (defined as he's done a reasonable amount of work for the major companies), and he's at all of the conventions etc. Editor: "So what are you working on?" Hack: "Right now, nothing." Editor: "Really? I'm looking for an inker for ..." Not much you can do about these.

I remember hearing someone, I don't remember who, say at one those How to Break Into the Comics Business convention panels say that you can't get work in the business by doing work that's just a little bit better than the worst person working in the business.

Finally, I wonder if when you look at these great portfolios whether you're looking for the same thing an editor would. Is it in a style that the company is looking for. Is it comic art, i.e., sequential art story telling or just a bunch of pinups. Can the artist draw more than just costumed heroes, normal people in street clothes, children, old ladies, etc. Can the artist draw cars, buildings, trees, furniture, anything you'd find in the backgrounds. Can the artist make the characters look the same from one panel to the next. How about anatomy, perspective, interesting camera angles, good composition. If what you're calling a bitchen portfolio doesn't demonstrate all of these things (and probably more that I'm leaving out), having an agent isn't going to help. And if the portfolio does demonstrate all of the above, they're probably going to get a job with or without an agent.

I'm not just trying to rain on your parade. If you're really serious about this agent thing, they're just things you should think about.

Chris
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InkAddict
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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2002 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
And if the portfolio does demonstrate all of the above, they're probably going to get a job with or without an agent.


Well, I guess THIS could be the point!
An editor need san artist, contacts a few agents, and the guy who fits the job best, gets the job, only instead of churning through portfolio after portfolio, looking at only a carefully-selected percentage of work, he can give on that job to an agent, who also knows the artist at work, knows his pro's and contra's,...

The agent gets new clients if he represents his artists well, and gets new artists if he canb help enough of those artists to a job they like to do (also HE can still say he doesn't see any market for a particular type of drawing). This could avoid things like what happened in the forties and fifties in Belgium and France. Editors were desperately seeking "western" comic artists (as in "wild west, with cowboys, shooting and so on...), cause they were popular. A few dudes got hired ONLY because they could draw horses! One of those became THE big name in humorous wild west comic history, but a lot of it he had to pick up "on the road"! Today he wouldn't have survived (I'm talking about Morris, author of "Lucky Luke"; great reading!!!). His version of the wild west was so clich?-laden, that it would never have gotten this far if it wasn't that funny and his series got to be an instant hit!

Well, I drifted off...............as usual.....

As to the fact that it should be someone who knows the industry, I'm sure a lot of comics fans would die for a job to work with comics every day, defending talent, even and perhaps mostly when they can't draw themselves, and have done extremely boring studies (like Law school, or economics )
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