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The Village Voice to Pay Comics Issue Contributors After All

Earlier this week a flurry of pretty righteous criticism befell The Village Voice for somewhat ironically publishing comics commissioned on the free alongside a cover story that explored the essential poverty of the profession in their comics issue. Seriously. The good news? VV Editor Tony Ortega has owned up to the misstep and the cartoonists in question — including Brendan Burford, Ted Rall and Gary Groth — will be compensated for their work. That’s more like it!From The Village Voice:

I wanted to have a big special comics issue, but I had a limited budget. So in a well-meaning effort to make this work, I asked some cartoonists to provide work without compensation. In the last couple of days, it’s been pointed out to me quite clearly that this was not the best way to help out the cartooning industry. The thing is, we’re not a company that expects people to work for free for the exposure. And I’m making this right: I’m paying all of the artists in the special issue.
And hopefully buying them beers and working with them again soon.

Tony Ortega
The Village Voice

The issue of creating art for oneself versus creating it for the sake of “exposure” versus actually getting hired to create looms large these days. As alt weekly mags-turned blogs like VV and other former backbones of cartoonist cash flow change their business models, more and more creators have had to forge ahead on the web and elsewhere — usually on their own. It’s certainly nice to see this particular situation reach a happier ending for those involved, but as always, the Earth continues to turn. Not all publishers are so willing to concede mistakes, after all.

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