( before you proceed, remember that is all about the Philippines. Any opinion outside the country might not be valid. )
For years, we've heard so may different things about Komiks in the Philippines. We debate on the real state of komiks, whether it actually died or never did. We talked about what kind of stories should be done in order to gain renewed momentum in the hope to catapult it back to it's former glory.
But little did we know that the glory days of komiks was not the glory days for creators. Nothing much has changed. The practices of years passed is still with us. The komiks was to benefit publishers and not the creators who actually made them. Creators are still nothing but work for hire contributors to most Publishers.
Let me give you a picture of how this is not beneficial to creators. One time, a publisher wanted me to do a "How to draw book." I will write it, draw images but in some strange way, they don't want me to own it. I said, I wanted royalties for MY books. They said no. They just want to give me 17k for each book and they will own whatever I produce. That is TOTALLY insane. My name will be on that book. i'll be thinking of concepts and everything that I know will be in it and they want to own it?
Now let us say, I was stupid enough to agree on that ridiculous terms. They'll be selling those book for as many as they can. 10 thousand maybe? What if it was a surprising hit? 200k copies sold? Heck they can even sell them for years. They'll get all the profit while me? I'll get to keep the 17k pesos they paid me. It only lasted for maybe a week or less to spend it all. Can you imagine how depressing that scenario would be for me as the creator of the book?
Now imagine this on my terms. Let us say, I'll get that 17k for the book and then maybe a minimal amount for royalties per books sold. Let us say 1 peso per book that costs 200 pesos on retail. Each time it hit a great number of copies sold. I'll get royalties. imagine us, the creators having a better life. Wouldn't that be nice.
If ever, my book flops. No harm done. Now, the question on a publishers' mind now is how can this be a good thing and how it can be beneficial for them for agreeing to such a term? It is simple. The creators will give you nothing... nothing but their best in every project that they'll ever make. The BEST will be coming out from your publication.
You see, going to the local conventions and meeting with other creators. Each time we show some stuff. You can always tell which one is a work for hire page from their creator owned projects. Guess which pages would be more detailed? You guessed it.
Is this right? is this practical? Is this just? Yes, in all fairness of the game. It is just right. A 5 million-peso house will always be more beautiful and well built than a 2 million-peso house. That is why there is such a thing as costing. We don't tell the architect to lower his fee right? They are professionals, and I'd like to think so are we. The writers, artists down to the colorists are professionals.
This is just one way to enrich the lives of the people behind Komiks that some people just avoid talking about. There are more, oh yes. This is only one of many things that we can talk about.
So, let's talk about it now.
Just remember, in order for us to save komiks, we have to save the livelihood of those behind the pages of the said industry.