Well things are moving along steadily. With some money family members have kicked in combined with what we have raised here I am just about halfway to paying for the wedding! I will have my work cut out for me once I start filling all these orders.
There is a small, but obnoxious group of people online who have criticized what I am doing here, claiming I’m mooching and that I already make plenty of money. To the mooching accusation, I don’t understand how selling artwork, books and prints is mooching. And if I already make plenty of money, why would I go to all this trouble? I have to create this stuff, order it, do a bunch of custom art, pack it all, ship it all… not to mention just organizing it all, and that is on top of all the work I already do day by day. It’s not like I am sitting here asking for free money.
To the accusation that I already make plenty of money, I actually understand it. My friend Kris Straub said something recently that perfectly explains what I used to believe before I became a “success”. He said, “people always assume there’s some threshold of fame you hit, and are set for life after.” Kris is also a web comic creator and knows the world and the business of trying to make money on comics you put online for free. It would be interesting to me to find out from each person who thinks I am rich how much money they have spent on Axe Cop stuff. If they read an Axe Cop comic, did they pay for it? In that transaction, if they did not pay for it, who did? Often, I did. I spent the man hours creating it with Malachai, drawing it and promoting it. I paid for the server so you would have the bandwidth to see it. If you read Axe Cop without paying for it, I paid you for it. You did not pay me.
None of this is to say I am this poor suffering person who deserves a bunch of sympathy, but if you think I am set for life and can afford a wedding out of pocket, you obviously have a misconception about my income. And like I said, I understand. I always thought that the moment you had a TV show deal you are set for life. The moment you have a toy deal you are set for life. They just pay you a bunch of money and you don’t need to work any more.
But now I am on the other side of it all and am seeing how it works. I see how I COULD make some pretty awesome money down the road here… when the show airs, if more people start buying more stuff. If more stuff gets licensed, if more people demand it. But generally, especially in TV… until they are making money, you are not getting paid a whole lot. Also, in my case, I did not really sell a TV series. I sold the rights to one season of six episodes, each only 11 minutes long. That is not your average sized season on TV. That’s just over one hour of television. That’s not even one episode of the Biggest Loser. So I am sure a TV deal for a full season of twenty two 44 minute episodes or something in that range gets a bit more money off the bat. Especally when the network is buying ALL the rights and not just 66 minutes worth. I still get lumped in with them though because I got a TV show, and everyone with a TV show is rich and set for life according to the common wisdom.
I have made one giant step in comics and that is that I have managed to live off of creating my own material (for the most part) for the last few years. I have made an income that most people who went to college would frown on. That is to say I could probably make a similar income as a shift manager at Starbucks (in fact I could, I checked). But it is slowly getting better. Again, I am not complaining… it is a privilege to make this much money on comics. My only point is that I am not rich. I make a pretty average income and am trying to do extra work to pay for a wedding, because it’s a lot, and I don’t have a lot right now. Most people with average incomes can’t fund a wedding out of pocket. Financially, I am the same as a shift manager at Starbucks trying to sell home-made artwork to pay for a wedding. I don’t think people would come after that person like those who are criticizing me. That is because with me they perceive some level of fame, and they assume with that fame comes some level of implied income and privilege. I think there is also a crowd that gets there panties in a bunch any time anyone tries to crowd fund anything. That’s just a waste of passion. Who cares?
It would be nice if I made the money people accuse me of making. Maybe I will. I hope to. But right now I am what I am. I probably could make more money if I was better at marketing and making products people actually wanted to buy. I never felt that was my strong suit.
Thanks to everyone who has bought stuff here and made this possible. And to those who think there is some fame threshold you can hit and be set for life… that is very, very rare. I have a lot of friends who are considered successes in the industry and they are by no means set for life. It makes you feel better to think that guys like me have it easier than you do and that is why you haven’t had your own success. I used to think the same thing. That’s just not how it is.
So there, I had to get that off my chest. I think it’s good for aspiring creators to know that even with a lot of critical acclaim, you still have to do a lot of climbing and the battle is never really over. That is why it is good to know why you are doing it in the first place. Don’t blame those with success for your failure. Don’t do it for the success, do it in spite of the success. Do it because you love it and don’t know what else to do with yourself, and success or not, do it happily and gratefully because making art is a blessing.
I know that the people this is addressed to are only a small fraction of people. But I am sure there are some of you who are not as vocal, but maybe have similar suspicions. I recently had a reporter from the LA Weekly come to my apartment and interview me. She said she thought I would be raking in the money now that I have a TV show and was surprised by my small unimpressive shared bachelor apartment.
I hope this is not misconstrued as a call for sympathy. It is not. I have a great life, I am privileged, I love drawing comics and making money at it. The only thing I am trying to dispel here is that I am rich or set for life, or that I am at a level where I could just pay for a wedding out of pocket. You can say I have a good life, but if you make claims about my income I hope you know what you are talking about.
That’s all I have to say for now. I have a new page to post! Thanks for reading.