ELAYNE RIGGS: Money changes everything

Elayne Riggs

Elayne Riggs is the creator of the popular blog Pen-Elayne on the Web. She was a founding member of Friends of Lulu, an organization dedicated to increasing the involvement of girls and women in comics, as readers and creators. She is married to inker Robin Riggs, with whom she shares two cats, and has odd love/hate relationship with Hillary Clinton.

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9 Responses

  1. Tony Isabella says:

    It should be noted that there are some artists who draw faster than some writers. After years of writing everything except comics, I'm finally doing some comics writing again. And I feel like I'm crawling because I've been away for it so long. Sure, there are moments when I hit "the zone" and write fairly quickly, but those aren't a regular thing…though I certainly hope they become a regular thing as I do more comics writing. Your points are well taken, but making comics is not an absolute thing. For every Jack Kirby who can draw three pages a day or a Stan Lee who write dozens of pages a day, there's that poor schmoe who can only manage a panel or two of art and that writer who struggles to write a page or two.

  2. R. Maheras says:

    Nice article, Elayne!

  3. Elayne Riggs says:

    Well sure, Tony, but if we can't generalize about some things we'll never start a conversation in the first place. :) If you like, feel free to insert the usual qualifiers like "by and large" and "for the most part."

  4. Ivan says:

    "I've seen fans try to figure out a freelancer's annual income by asking their page rate then multiplying that by 22 (pages per typical comics issue) and then again by 12 (months in the year). Not only does that not take quarterly tax payments into account…"i don't think anyone ever takes into account taxes in defining what someone makes, freelance or otherwise. if someone in an office speaks of making 50 grand a year (or whatever), they don't mean after taxes, usually.(not disagreeing with the overall point, though- i agree with 99.9% of what you said)

  5. Elayne Riggs says:

    Yeah, but the thing of it is, if you work off a W2 instead of a 1099 it's always assumed you'll have stuff taken out for taxes. There's no diff for a freelancer between "gross" and "net," it makes everything much more complicated.

  6. Russ Rogers says:

    This makes Jack Johnson's sexual addictions, whoring and fetish for white women seem heroic, instead of what it was, a major character flaw. Personally, I find a flawed hero more interesting.I continue to have problems with the whole concept of women seen as "His enemy's prized possession." The idea seems awfully degrading, especially for a comic so focused on civil liberties and human rights. Seeing Johnson's sexual addictions as a failing of personal character seems natural. Trying to portray his attempts to "possess" white women as some kind of twisted racial empowerment seems like a stretch.Where is Jack's original johnson on page 57? The man is as smooth as a G.I. Joe action figure! Are we supposed to read that his penis and testicles are too tiny to be seen? Missing in his dreams? Or that he's erect and that his massive tool of heroic justice is just hidden by shadow?I don't understand the aesthetic that says it's OK to illustrate graphic sex with a thirteen year old child [pages 40-41], but it would be too graphic and distasteful to draw Jack's Johnson. In the one case, every male has a penis, so it's silly, unnatural and strange to draw a naked man without one. In the other case, not every 13 year old boy has sex with whores, so it might be better to just mention Jack's youthful whoring and not graphically illustrate it.

  7. Robert Beatty says:

    I'm not sure why an interracial relationship has to be seen as a "fetish" as Russ Rogers indicates. Do you use that term because you think people can only really love someone who looks like they do, and anything else is a "fetish"?This is my first look at this comic, but I'd like to see more. I read about this in the NY Times and wanted to check it out because I admire the way Jack Johnson lived his life…not catering to what people of any color expected of him. I think he was fearless to do and say the things he did at a time in America when Black people were being lynched with regularity. His defiance of the social norms is remarkable and speaks to a tremendous mental strength.Hope you keep drawing as I'd like to see more.

    • Russ Rogers says:

      I have nothing against interracial relationships. And if you find a particular race particularly attractive, that is just a personal preference. Nothing wrong with that. (Ask Michael Davis!)But, if you are attracted to someone because they represent "The Possessions of Your Oppressors," which seems to be a theme in this comic, then that is a FETISH. That is giving sexual power to something that has nothing to do with sex, like getting turned on by shoes or peanut butter. There is nothing particularly wrong with fetishes. They can be personal quirks, idiosyncrasies. But, objectifying women, as "the possessions of my enemy," and then getting a sexual kick out of "taking those possessions" is wrong.Jack Johnson's sexual prowess is just not a heroic quality. I find Jack Johnson's sexual history was of grotesque proportions, not heroic proportions. Jack Johnson's sexual proclivities may have been controversial in his day, they may even be legendary today, but I don't think they are heroic or laudable.

  8. Bob Kahan says:

    We also need to remember that "Jack Johnson did the eagle rock. Fare thee Titanic, Fare Thee Well" with a tip of the hat to Happy & Artie Traum.