By Dustin Cabeal
Before I get into why it's interesting, let's cover what the project is. Basically, a hundred artists are being asked to draw the Turtles to help raise funds for the Hero Initiative. Now, the Hero Initiative is to help comic creators in need. Why are they in need you ask? Let's just keep it short and simple and say that the overall structure of what makes the comic industry run is pretty broken, but that a fix would probably shutter the industry at the same time.
What's interesting is that IDW hasn't changed their page rates for creators in seven years despite becoming more and more successful. They also don't offer royalties to creators despite reusing their artwork on games and other promotional material. In short, they're helping creators in need that other publishers screwed over, while not helping their own creators.
Now, I'm not privy to how their creator owned stuff works. Maybe that's better, but considering even John Byrne has said that the rate for pencils, inks and colors is still less than just pencils at Marvel... well you have to wonder. Granted IDW isn't Marvel, but they are a top five publisher and have securely owned the number four spot for years. What I hear behind the scenes tells a story of the pay not being great or improving for those that don't carry as much legacy in the industry as Byrne does.
Trust me IDW I get it. These licenses are expensive and the profits either shared or paid for up front making it less and less profitable for you. But you have to admit that it seems strange that some of your creators might end up getting help from you via Hero Initiative rather than directly from you. That's the rub. That's the part that makes me scratch my head. I'm not saying don't support this project, but maybe nudge IDW to help their own at the same time.