How long/How hard to learn Photoshop (for coloring hand-drawn pictures)?

I say comic books are doing poorly because I see comic shops shutting down, barely scraping by, all over the place. Most of the comic shops I do know that are doing alright are the ones that carry collectible card games, trading cards, toys and other stuff that tends to move more. You know what does well? Trade paperbacks. In bookstores. Like Barnes & Noble. Now if you want to pitch a graphic novel, then OK. But plain old comic books are simply not doing that well. And the graphic novels that are big sellers are the ones based on well-established titles. In a way, what is happening to comics is similar to what’s happening with music, movies, and other pop entertainment. Producers are less and less willing to take a risk on something that’s not going to be a guaranteed money-maker. I think it’s prudent and wise for that professor to be telling his students they shouldn’t go into it EXPECTING to just be able to make a living at it.

Notice how all the comics you mentioned that are doing well are tied to big movies, tv shows, and video games? It’s the media driving the comic sales, not vise versa. And there are tons of titles picked up and dropped every year because they just don’t do that well. It’s unrealistic, I think, to start a comic with the expectations that you’re going to have the ubersuccess that Batman, Spiderman, or Superman have. Spiderman is going to always have fans, whether or not the rest of the comic market is withering up around it. The majority of comic artists will end up touring cons, selling prints and con sketches and t-shirts to pay the bills.

I understand that there have been some very successful comic artists. But the names you listed are the cream of the crop, people who developed huge cult followings (Gaiman and Kirby) or had their stuff get made into popular movies, TV shows, etc. That’s a handful of guys out of thousands, if not tens of thousands. The majority of comic book artists don’t turn out to be Stan Lee.

I could go to acting school for four years, graduate and go off to Hollywood to wait tables and do parts as extras in films. That’s the realistic scenario. If my professor told me I was going to go off to Hollywood and instantly be a star and never want for anything again, that’s just stupid. The majority of would-be actors fall by the wayside and do what they can to make ends meet, just like the majority of would-be Stan Lees.

There was a pretty good discussion recently about saving American comics in CafeSociety recently, you might want to check it out:

How many of them have gotten their comics start in the last five years? The last ten?

Lee, a multi-bazillionaire? Maybe since he finally got his royalities from Marvel. Jack Kirby is doing well (well, aside from the fact that he’s dead). Please explain why Jack Kirby’s standard of living post-1970 would make someone want to go into comics.

Care to back this up wtih a cite? Check out and look at their sales numbers. Tell me that those are doing as well as comics were in 1992 or 1952 for that matter.

How often do those people stay? Check the ICV2 numbers and check them again in six months (I don’t know if we can get them from six months ago). Tell me that there are more and more people coming into comics.

Ah, a trickledown theory of manga. If we can get enough girls interested in manga, perhaps one or two of them will start buying regular comics out of pity/elitism. Manga and American comics are about as different as two things could be. What you’re essentially saying is that you want a person used to reading (and paying for) paperback novels to start reading (and paying) twice as much for half as much.

Do you have any cites for the claims you’re making? If you have anything that either resembles a marketing study, I know a lot of people who will be very interested.

Head over to the DW site I posted earlier. Get a feel for how well comics are doing and how well indie comics are doing (which is what I presume you’ll be getting into). I think you’ll be disappointed.