Friday, March 5, 2010

The Cost of Doing Business

Comic book artist* Chrissie Zullo was recently commissioned to create sketch art for a Star Wars Galaxy trading cards subset.

Funny story ... she was paid $1 per card for a set of 100 original sketch cards. These cards are now selling for as much as $549.99 each on Ebay. She makes her sentiments plain on her Facebook page:
"My LEGO Snowtrooper Star Wars Sketch Card is going for $550 on eBay. Suddenly, I want it back now."
This situation is part of the long-standing difficulty between professionals and the collectors market. Many artists are leery of dealing with collectors because a few of us are ... what's the term? Oh yeah, "Outright Fucking Crooks."

Michael Golden has been bilked by scammers and, at one time, stopped selling his original comic pages to anyone (his policy might have changed, but I don't think it has.) Steve Ditko is another who'd rather toss his pages in the garbage rather than see collectors get rich of his work.

On the other hand, without collectors there would be no demand for products like trading cards that require the work of commercial artists. No collectors = no market ... no market = no jobs. And it's fair to say that whoever is selling these cards on Ebay has a right to get whatever they can for them as long as it's all legal and above board (which the referenced Ebay auctions appear to be.)

I don't see a solution to this mess. Unless her contract demands otherwise, Zullo could always whip up a few cards and underbid these Ebay vendors right out of business. And that might be fun to watch.

(*Wow, that title sounds limiting, doesn't it? She's actually quite an accomplished artist and not the kind of person usually paid to draw guys in capes and shiny underwear.)

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