Comics and Graphic Novels Rates
These rates can be used by publishers, organisations such as teaching institutions, the corporate sector and individuals wanting to commission comics creators to produce comics work
The rates apply to commissioned work (work-for-hire) situations where the copyright might or might not reside with the artist or writer.
The ASA recommends that comic creators who create original work where the Intellectual Property (IP) is already pre-owned do so under an exclusive licence whereby they retain the copyright. However, if the work is produced for a pre-owned project, then the comics creator may need to assign copyright.
Comics creators could negotiate two payments for the one work: (1) pages rates; plus (2) royalties for copies sold over a certain threshold. For example, assume that a publisher releases 50,000 copies of a comic book containing 24 pages of art and story with a recommended retail price (RRP) of $5.00. The writer will receive a page rate of $100.00 per page, totalling $2,400.00; and the artist will receive a rate of $100.00 per page for pencilling and also $100.00 per page for inking, totalling $4,800.00. As well, once sales exceeded 35,000 copies (say), the writer and artist could ask for up to 5% each.
Publishers or other commissioners wanting to audition creators for jobs should pay the recommended rates for work performed during the audition period.
Where publishers or other commissioners want to bundle jobs with one particular artist (e.g. pencilling, colouring and lettering), then the commissioner needs either to pay out the rates for each individual job component or else the artist can negotiate a reasonable package rate that does not undercut by more than 15% the recommended rates for the total of all job components.
Please note that these rates should apply as minimum Australian rates; some overseas companies pay higher rates. There will also be variations in pay scales for emerging talent as opposed to established brand-name creators or those who have amassed a large backlist of titles and many credits.