Tuesday, 4 June 2013

PART TWO OF 'SMASHING' FACTS & FIGURES...


Copyright relevant owner

 

Well, what can I tell you about SMASH! that I haven't already told you or you didn't already know?  Not much, I imagine, so I'll just present second part of images from issue #2 from 1966 - the actual ODHAMS PRESS file copy that contained labels detailing who did what and how much they got paid for it.  Fascinating stuff, don'tcha think?  Anyway, there's one final instalment still to come, so don't stray too far, y'hear?  You wouldn't want to miss LEO BAXENDALE's rottenest crook in the world, ol' GRIMLY FEENDISH - in full colour, and with info on exactly how much dosh Leo received for writing and drawing him.

Don't you just get an unhallowed thrill sticking your beak into other people's business?  I know I do!  Be here for Part Three.
    










13 comments:

Andrew May said...

When I saw your first post on the subject I was struck by how generous the payments were, especially for artists (I'm only familiar with the "going rates" for prose writers, so maybe good artists do generally command higher fees). I thought someone more knowledgeable than me might comment on the subject, but since they didn't... here goes! Last year I wrote a magazine article about the yellow-spined Badger Books that used to sell in large numbers in the early 60s -- their writers typically got paid 15/- per 1000 words, or less than £40 for a full 50,000 word novel. So it's impressive that comic artists got comparable amounts for just a few pages' work. The fee for the article I mentioned (in a magazine with a circulation of 16,000 and a cover price of £4.25) only just crept into three figures in this day and age!

Kid said...

Aren't writers usually quicker at turning out words than artista are pictures 'though? I suppose famous writers got quite a bit more that 15/- per 1,000 words, but it would also depend on who the publishers were and how large the circulation.

Anyone else got any thoughts on Andrew's comments?

Anonymous said...

Using the actual rise in UK inflation since 1966 (I don't have the figure how pay has risen since 1966), I have calculated the payments in today's figures....

Leo Baxendale received over £490 for his script and artwork.

While Ken Reid for his 2 pager, got:-
Heading - £115
Script - £165
Artwork - £785

Interesting, when you put the money into todays's economic context, if the top (i.e: The Beano) UK comic artist's today match these sums each week...

Andrew May said...

Two valid points there. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and it may be that a professional writer turns out a thousand words (3 pages of a paperback) in the same sort of time it takes an artist to draw a single panel. And yes, the Badger authors were unknown hacks while Leo Baxendale was at the top of his profession. But as you say, it would be interesting if anyone else can shed any light rates of pay in the 60s.

PhilSee said...

Hi Kid, great to see more of these vintage classics. I think the editors of Smash got more than their pound of flesh out of Ken Reid's 'a few pages of work'!! Can that guy draw anything without the detail level going through the roof? And even though it seems to have pushed him over the edge a couple of times what a legacy to leave behind. As a cartoonist and illustrator myself I do not appreciate Andrew's artist and writer comparison. Creating something from nothing in line and shade can tax the creative juices just as much as doing the same with words, thanks mate.

Kid said...

I'm sure Andrew didn't mean it in a negative way, Phil - as you can see from his follow-up comment. Stan Lee addressed the discrepancy between writers' and artists' page rates by pointing out that it took an artist longer to draw a page than it took a writer to write it, so things tended to balance out.

******

Anon, I can tell you for definite that today's D.C. Thomson artists get nowhere near that amount (by a huge margin) for the pages they draw.

******

There you are, Andrew - the comments are starting to roll in. Anyone else got anything relevant to add, feel free.

PhilSee said...

It's all in the timing - I posted my comment before Andrew's follow-up appeared, so yeah, no offence taken then. At least the artists and writers at Marvel back in the day (and for 'writers' read Stan!) received a credit for their work beyond the payment. It does seem a curious state of affairs where there was so much effort put into keeping these guys anonymous to the readers.

Anonymous said...

The average UK wage in 1966 was approximately £23 per week.
Professionals such as Teachers would expect to earn £30 per week, while a Doctor or a First Division Footballer would earn £100 per week. So top artists such as Ken Reid and Leo Baxendale were doing very well for themselves working in comics during those days.

Kid said...

Odhams didn't seem to mind the artists signing their work on occasion, Phil, as Ken and Leo's signature appeared on their pages quite a few times. (Although I've also seen original art where the signature was whited-out.) As for other companies, keeping the artists anonymous was supposed to prevent them from being poached by other publishers.

******

Anon, they sure were - especially when you remember just how many pages they turned out per week. Incidentally, Odhams payed around twice as much as Thomson's.

Anonymous said...

One could argue that Reid and Baxendale were the top funny comic artists in the UK and maybe their earnings were comparable to the "Badger authors" Mr May mentions, for producing 1 piece of work, i.e a comic page and a novel. Maybe a fairer comparison would be how would these top artist's relative pay stack up against some of the top contemporary authors of the 1960's, such as John le Carré or Roald Dahl? I think we know the answer. But, in both cases, it's like comparing apples and oranges, two very different markets.

Kid said...

It also depends just how fast one is. Some artists can draw almost as fast as they'd write a shopping list - it just comes naturally to them, whereas others have to struggle. Same with writers.

NP said...

Anonymous said: "Artwork 2 pages- £785...Interesting, when you put the money into todays's economic context, if the top (i.e: The Beano) UK comic artist's today match these sums each week..."

Meanwhile, in the real world, ACTUAL page rates are much MUCH closer to what Odhams were paying in 1966, NOT adjusted for inflation.

Kid said...

Thanks for commenting, NP. The 'industry' being as it is nowadays, it's probably not a good idea to ask for a raise at the moment, eh?