Work-Made-For-Hire, Digital Comics, and Royalties...
The Creator’s Bill of Rights includes the following: "The right to prompt payment of a fair and equitable share of profits derived from all of our creative work."
Royalties for creators is fairly standard in comics today. Now with downloadable comics, will comic book creators be seeing royalties from the sale of digital comics? I don’t know how some publishers are handling this, but in regards to Archie Comics and my work, the answer is "no."
Comixology.com is selling a downloadable version of ARCHIE ALL-STARS VOLUME 3: THE CARTOON LIFE OF CHUCK CLAYTON,…, which I had inked. I contacted Archie Comics to see if I’ll be receiving any royalties from these sales. I was told: "No, we do not pay any royalties."
Mr. Steve Bissette has already discussed Archie Comics going digital: "There’s still plenty of working creators laboring under work-for-hire, under terms with precious few perks or benefits; make no mistake, the plantations are alive and working."
Over at The Beat, Archie Comics Co-CEO Jon Goldwater once stated: "I can’t speak for things prior to my being here, but things that have gone on previously with how artists were treated has nothing to do with where we are now. We support every artist, every writer, every employee of Archie. They are valued. They are treasured."
Well, I don’t feel "valued" or "treasured."
There are some comic book publishers that have made some advances in the area of comic book Creator’s Rights. Some publishers offer royalties and the return of artwork to all of its freelancers. Sadly, some still do not.
Above: Artwork from ARCHIE ALL-STARS VOLUME 3: THE CARTOON LIFE OF CHUCK CLAYTON by (penciler) Fernando Ruiz and (inker) myself.