Monday, April 11, 2011


(*Note: as of this posting the editor of The Village Voice has publicly pulled a U-turn and paid up. Still doesn't change a thing: from my perspective the fact it ever even happened to begin with merits mention and rebuttal.)
Lots of sound & fury across the tubes over the new Village Voice "Comics Issue" with an accompanying article by Roy Edroso: “If Cartoons Are The Village Voice Is So Big, Why Don’t They Pay?” (fixed that title for ya).
After bemoaning “As papers cut back on comics, some cartoonists have seen their livelihoods disappear” the piece goes on to twist the knife with the ironic, or clueless, confession:

“Also, many of the artists in this issue aren't getting paid, but have contributed work for the exposure.”
So the Village Voice didn’t pay many of the contributing cartoonists, reasoning the exposure was worth more to them than money. That’s funny; I would have thought exposure was what you needed to attract the attention of a publication with the supposed stature and reputation of the Village Voice:
“It was the first and is arguably the best known of the arts-oriented tabloids that have come to be known as alternative weeklies“
Notice the past tense - "was" – that's what happens in media conglomeration. 
Still, nobody else has commented directly on the professional artists who gave away their work for free, and no I won’t name or link to them here. Blaming the publication is picking the low-hanging fruit, rather than calling the contributors out for what they really are: scabs who undermine the efforts of others who are trying to earn a legitimate living through their work. I personally just so happen to be right in the midst of another marketing and self-promotional binge, and this is obviously not only just a point of pride, but the entire point of doing everything to begin with.

The art is what makes the publication noticeable, worth attention and attractive to readers. The day a publication doesn’t have the money to compensate the creative content is the day they shouldn’t be able to afford paying anyone else. We'll let one of my favorite writers rant make the point succinctly:

A final insult to injury is when the article’s author (who presumably was paid) closes with the hilarious line:
“Hope springs eternal, especially when it's goosed.”
That goose is cooked.
Lastly, via Drawn, here's even more invaluable, related advice for any freelance artist or creative person peddling their wares:

2011/03 Mike Monteiro | F*ck You. Pay Me. from SanFrancisco/CreativeMornings on Vimeo.


  1. As a musician friend of mine is fond of saying, a person can die of exposure.

  2. The supposed bliss of the terminal stage in hypothermia can be a seductive lure though...

  3. A guy I knew (slightly) chose that route. I don't know if I would have the patience (?) to wait for it, though. My retirement plan IS to find a beautiful remote place, preferably with tall cliffs, and find a niche in which to waste away slowly like a Peruvian mummy, but it may be tricky to arrange.