Make a Career in Comics

Love comic books? Want to create them for a living? Great! A lot of students would give just about anything to have a career writing and illustrating comic books.

That means the competition for jobs is fierce. If you want it Make sure you have the talent! Besides talent you must master:

Work for a big firm

If a major publisher offers to hire you, it will be hard to turn down. The Big Four of the comic industry are:

Marvel and DC are the biggest. A beginning editor at either of them can expect to make $25,000 a year. If you chose to work for one of the Big Four, you will have to live where they are.

Work for a small firm

Smaller firms pay less than the majors, but still provide a good living for freelancers. For example:

Don't go into this club alone.
Want to see a larger image of Night Club?

Both Oni and IDW have sold comic book titles to the movies, which benefits the creators.

Try freelancing

In comics, you can make a good living as a freelancer.

Looks ominous.
Want to see Detonator in progress?

On the plus side, you're the boss:

But you're also responsible for:

Freelance income

If you're an artist don't worry.

Writers usually make more money than artists. A focused, creative freelancer can write as many as five comic books a month.

It takes longer to illustrate a comic book than to write one. Even the fastest artist can only do two comics a month, and have them look good.

FreelancerPay/pageNumber of pagesComics/monthAnnual income
Writer$80-$15025-304-5$96,000-$270,000
Artist$100-$18025-301-2$30,000-$129,000

Their character or yours?

Recognize this guy?
Mike Mignola spent over a decade developing one character before it became a movie.

You can succeed in comics in two different ways:

This is how Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, and Kurt Busiek made it.

If you're an artist, it's easier to succeed with your own creation, because an editor can tell at a glance if you have what it takes.

Writers who have original characters can succeed too.

It just takes longer.

J. Michael Straczynski's Rising Stars is an outstanding example.

The surest way to break into the comics industry is to create your own comic...
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Credit Union National Association, Inc.


This space is for each subscribing credit union's unique invitation to elementary, middle, and high school students.
If no text is added by the subscriber, CUNA displays default text describing why credit unions are important to their members.