A candid and personal examination of the Philippine comics scene from a social, cultural, economic and business point of view.

Sunday, October 14, 2007



Sterling, I personally believe, is aware of the problem. How do you maintain an old sweatshop system that clearly results in mediocre, half-baked work? How do you maintain your stable of freelance comics creators when there are other publishers coming in who will grab some of these creators away from you later on? What business incentive is there for the comics contributor to even pour out his very best ideas for you? A measly page rate system? The opportunity and experience of waiting in an air-conditioned office in the business district of Ortigas Center? “Love” for Filipino comics? C’mon.

At the end of the day, it’s a business. Creating an industry is a business. You need other people, creative people, to help you build that industry. What are the terms of your arrangement with these people? How do you make them cooperate with you? What’s in it for them? What’s their motivation? Where’s the legality in all of this? WHERE ARE THE WRITTEN CONTRACTS?

You can invite the professional and wannabe comics creators all you want for a meeting. Declare to all and sundry that you want to produce graphic novels, independent Filipino comics (whatever that means nowadays), and provide livelihood to a lot of people, but all you’ll get are blank stares, quizzical looks and a noncommittal shrug from the real creative talents in your midst.

In the end, you’ll probably get the mediocre and amateur talents to help you stay afloat but that’s all where you’re going. Mediocrity, without an incentive to improve, has a way of destroying itself. If you don’t believe that, just look at what happened to our local comics industry.

You got it right. You’re targeting the lower income market. But how do you maintain the momentum? You can’t possibly go on giving them the same product again and again.

Comics are a product of intellectual creation. They appeal to the mind. They are NOT canned goods. Thinking, intelligent, creative PEOPLE usually produce good comics that appeal to the mind, assuring you of regular, consistent sales. You need innovation, the responsibility of creatives, to constantly invite more readers. You need variety. You need constant improvement.

Can’t the best or the opportunity to be the best, have room in your operation? Can’t both sides play fair? Can’t you all sit down and honestly, seriously, discuss your respective plans, objectives and rights in order for all of you to truly cooperate and prosper? Can’t you all take mutual responsibility for the risks as well as the benefits of a royalty incentive scheme? That is, the creators initially take in the low page rates but are assured later on of royalty payments once their issues sell beyond the threshold limit? Can’t all this be reduced into written contracts?

Can’t we all avoid another massacre?


Blogger monsanto said...

I like this one about royalties. Thanks for the valuable infos about this.

2:02 PM


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