COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE #943 (13 Dec 1991) Krause Publication

cover: (N/A)

COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE #943
Date: 13 Dec 1991
Cover Price: $2.50
Publisher: comicsbuyersguide.com

Description
Scan and information from  milehighcomics.com, thanks to Ilke.

HEADLINE: George Perez issues a challenge to artists: Pay tribute, not homage.

Hi.

In the 17-plus years since I've been in the industry, this is the first letter I've ever written to any fan or trade publication. While there have been many controversial discussions to which I wanted to submit my opinion, I've usually let my more fluent and articulate contemporaries handle the sometimes bellicose banter that often prevails in these pages. In these times where our industry is hurting and many professionals see themselves forced into figuratively taking arms against one another, I'd just like to pass on a recent experience I had with an editor that shows that there is still such a thing as integrity in this four-color business.
A while ago, I received a phone call from DC editor Mike Carlin regarding a cover he and artist Jon Bogdanove were working on for Superman: The Man of Steel #10. It was to be one of those ever-increasing numbers of what we now call "Homage Covers," covers which are patterned after another artist's cover of years past and usually acknowledged as such. This particular cover was to be based on my "death of Supergirl" cover for Crisis on Infinite Earths #7. Mike thought that, since the actual design for the cover was originally mine, then I was entitled to the cover design fee.
Now, for the sake of the uninitiated: Total payment for cover art is usually divided into three parts: The Design Sketch, The Pencil Art, and The Ink Art. In the major companies, many covers are designed by specific cover editors and/or art directors, although these days many more are being designed by the pencillers themselves. When I worked for Marvel in the 1970s, practically all my covers were designed by Marie Severin, John Romita Sr., or Ed Hannigan. While I designed a few, it wasn't until I went over to DC in 1980 that I started designing all my own covers as well as some for other artists.
Anyway, Mike's offer both flabbergasted and embarrassed me. It turns out that this was a regular policy for him, and that other artists had been similarly remunerated in like cases involving the Superman titles.
With all the fuss that we artists, myself included, make and have made about the rights, worth, and value of any individual artist in this business, the fact that such an obvious means of expression has escaped most of our notice is pretty unpardonable, at least for me.
I know of two instances in my career when I deliberately used another artist's design. I used Nick Cardy's cover for Teen Titans #23 as my inspiration for my The New Titans #55 cover. Since his cover introduced the new Wonder Girl, it seemed fitting to use that layout to introduce Troia, Wonder Girl's newest incarnation. I added backgrounds and changed and added characters, but the layout was definitely Cardy, as I indicated on the signature.
More blatant was my homage to Joe Shuster's cover for Superman #1, which I lifted with nothing more than stylistic changes for my cover of Action Comics #643. While, like the Titans cover, the source art was acknowledged, I never even thought of paying the original artist for the use of his design. In the case of that Action Comics cover, DC used it as a promo, and it even appeared as accompanying art for one of the Superman Action Figures  for which I received further payment. Plus, I made money on the resale of the art, while neither original artist saw a penny. I am ashamed that I had not thought of this myself and am taking steps to reimburse Messrs. Shuster and Cardy for the use of their work.
The reason I am writing this letter is to rally other artists to consider doing this, as well, if they haven't considered it already. (Who knows? Maybe I'm the only guy who's been so inconsiderate all these years.)
I've seen homage covers everywhere, to artists past and present. We are all beneficiaries of the legacies these men and women have left, many of whom could never have imagined just how much impact their work would have. Nor could they ever foresee just how lucrative comic book art could be. Much of our success we owe to them. They need to know, as all us artists need to know, that the creative spark that individualizes all artists is worth something. It's a simple matter of respect. Homage is fine. Tribute is better. These artists deserve the design fee, if nothing else. It isn't much, but it is right.
While I'm blowing off so much wind, this is a good time to give a much-belated public thank-you to another man who early on showed me that there was more to creating comics than just lining one's own pocket. At a time when artists and writers seldom crossed over into one another's turf, Marv Wolfman, acknowledging plotting contributions to The New Teen Titans, totally on his own volition insisted on giving me half his plotting fee straight out of his own pocket. This, at a time when most artists' contribution to a comic-book story was seldom acknowledged. The idea of co-plotting credit and payment (which was unheard of then) has since become an industry standard. Marv made me feel like I was more than just another artist -- I was his equal partner.

To Marv Wolfman and Mike Carlin: Thanks for reminding me, both yesterday and today, that there's always room for integrity in this beleaguered world.

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    COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE #943 (13 Dec 1991)
    Krause Publication
    xxx

    Perez guest column for CBG?

    posted Oct 13, 2014, 1:45 AM by Vu Nguyen [ updated Oct 13, 2014, 5:59 PM ]


    COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE #943 (13 Dec 1991)
    Krause Publication
    Gary asks via Contact
    10/13/2014 2:01:05  


    Hi there. I'm wondering if you could help me out or point me in the right direction. George wrote a guest column for the Comics Buyer's Guide back in ... '94? '95? It was regarding his cover to Crisis #7 (the Death of Supergirl) and how its layout was eventually used by others, George's thoughts on Artists using his layout, etc. The article itself is shockingly relevant for today's audience and completely redefined me as an Artist. I was wondering if it was ever reprinted/put online. If not, is it possible to do so or do I have to accept the (perhaps unfortunate) fact that it's gone forever? Please, please advise?

    UPDATE 10/13/14
    Ilke writes:

    This wouldn't be the letter regarding the cover of Crisis on Infinite Earths #7; that letter may have seen print in Comics Buyer's Guide #954 .... but he may find this other letter by George, from CBG #943, of interest:

    "Hi.

    In the 17-plus years since I've been in the industry, this is the first letter I've ever written to any fan or trade publication. While there have been many controversial discussions to which I wanted to submit my opinion, I've usually let my more fluent and articulate contemporaries handle the sometimes bellicose banter that often prevails in these pages. In these times where our industry is hurting and many professionals see themselves forced into figuratively taking arms against one another, I'd just like to pass on a recent experience I had with an editor that shows that there is still such a thing as integrity in this four-color business.

    A while ago, I received a phone call from DC editor Mike Carlin regarding a cover he and artist Jon Bogdanove were working on for Superman: The Man of Steel #10. It was to be one of those ever-increasing numbers of what we now call "Homage Covers," covers which are patterned after another artist's cover of years past and usually acknowledged as such. This particular cover was to be based on my "death of Supergirl" cover for Crisis on Infinite Earths #7. Mike thought that, since the actual design for the cover was originally mine, then I was entitled to the cover design fee.

    Now, for the sake of the uninitiated: Total payment for cover art is usually divided into three parts: The Design Sketch, The Pencil Art, and The Ink Art. In the major companies, many covers are designed by specific cover editors and/or art directors, although these days many more are being designed by the pencillers themselves. When I worked for Marvel in the 1970s, practically all my covers were designed by Marie Severin, John Romita Sr., or Ed Hannigan. While I designed a few, it wasn't until I went over to DC in 1980 that I started designing all my own covers as well as some for other artists.

    Anyway, Mike's offer both flabbergasted and embarrassed me. It turns out that this was a regular policy for him, and that other artists had been similarly remunerated in like cases involving the Superman titles.

    With all the fuss that we artists, myself included, make and have made about the rights, worth, and value of any individual artist in this business, the fact that such an obvious means of expression has escaped most of our notice is pretty unpardonable, at least for me.

    I know of two instances in my career when I deliberately used another artist's design. I used Nick Cardy's cover for Teen Titans #23 as my inspiration for my The New Titans #55 cover. Since his cover introduced the new Wonder Girl, it seemed fitting to use that layout to introduce Troia, Wonder Girl's newest incarnation. I added backgrounds and changed and added characters, but the layout was definitely Cardy, as I indicated on the signature.

    More blatant was my homage to Joe Shuster's cover for Superman #1, which I lifted with nothing more than stylistic changes for my cover of Action Comics #643. While, like the Titans cover, the source art was acknowledged, I never even thought of paying the original artist for the use of his design. In the case of that Action Comics cover, DC used it as a promo, and it even appeared as accompanying art for one of the Superman Action Figures  for which I received further payment. Plus, I made money on the resale of the art, while neither original artist saw a penny. I am ashamed that I had not thought of this myself and am taking steps to reimburse Messrs. Shuster and Cardy for the use of their work.

    The reason I am writing this letter is to rally other artists to consider doing this, as well, if they haven't considered it already. (Who knows? Maybe I'm the only guy who's been so inconsiderate all these years.)

    I've seen homage covers everywhere, to artists past and present. We are all beneficiaries of the legacies these men and women have left, many of whom could never have imagined just how much impact their work would have. Nor could they ever foresee just how lucrative comic book art could be. Much of our success we owe to them. They need to know, as all us artists need to know, that the creative spark that individualizes all artists is worth something. It's a simple matter of respect. Homage is fine. Tribute is better. These artists deserve the design fee, if nothing else. It isn't much, but it is right.

    While I'm blowing off so much wind, this is a good time to give a much-belated public thank-you to another man who early on showed me that there was more to creating comics than just lining one's own pocket. At a time when artists and writers seldom crossed over into one another's turf, Marv Wolfman, acknowledging plotting contributions to The New Teen Titans, totally on his own volition insisted on giving me half his plotting fee straight out of his own pocket. This, at a time when most artists' contribution to a comic-book story was seldom acknowledged. The idea of co-plotting credit and payment (which was unheard of then) has since become an industry standard. Marv made me feel like I was more than just another artist -- I was his equal partner.

    To Marv Wolfman and Mike Carlin: Thanks for reminding me, both yesterday and today, that there's always room for integrity in this beleaguered world."             

     




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