Wednesday, February 22, 2012

[Link] Are cartoonists doomed to die poor and homeless while pirates dance on their graves?

By The Beat

Even as the economy shows fitful signs of flickering back to life, the comics economy, which was “too small to fail” to really take much of a hit during the Great Recession, is still puddling along, under-capitalized, under-recognized, and with even the greatest cartoonists prone to spells of belt tightening. Comics have been traditionally immune to the effects of a recession—”cheap entertainment does well in bad times!” we’ve heard time and again—but the corollary is also true: Economic boom times rarely touch comics.

During the late ’90s and the first boom, one of the greatest eras of general prosperity in American history, comics were going through their WORST slump since the end of newsstand distribution, with sales numbers so low executives were crying over them. And then, paradoxically, comics began to do better even during the mini-recession following 9/11 and the end of the bubble.

During the recent real estate bubble/stock market boom, quite a few cartoonists bought homes that would never have been available before—and some have lost them, sadly—but most comickers we know were sticking with comics instead of going into hedge funds and condo flipping. A lot of money flooded into comics in the end of the last boom, but the tide has been slowly going out.

But now it’s gone out. And people are wondering when it will come in again.

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