Comics Creators Network

A peer support network for comics creators and graphic novelists

Now that comics are an established artform and graphic novels an acceptable addition to any shelf, the number of creators working in the field has quite rightly multiplied and, naturally, they have questions. What are our rights? What terms can you ask for? What should you accept? What is 'industry standard' when the 'industry' only exists in air quotes?

Woodrow Phoenix and Hannah Berry, network founders Tweet

The Comics Creators Network is a member-led online community that aims to empower, connect and support all types of comics creators in the UK.

The network aims to offer continuing professional and personal support with an online, member-led community for comics creators to unite over common challenges, share experiences, offer advice and make new connections.

If you are an SoA member and want to get involved or take part in any of the activities below, email [email protected]. If you are a comics creator and not yet a member, you can join the Society of Authors using the code COMICS20 to receive 20% off membership.

Background image © deberarr

How it works

The network is run entirely online, using a range of setups and platforms, with the aim of making it as accessible as possible.

We run a member-only private Facebook discussion group where you can share tips and advice, as well as updates about your work, or simply connect with other members. We are currently looking into alternative discussion platforms to help members stay in touch outside Facebook.

Online get-togethers & events

The network aims to run regular get-togethers, online webinars and workshops to help you navigate various areas of the comics scene and creative industries. If you have any suggestions, or wish to lead a discussion topic, please get in touch.

In 2021 we will be running Brush Up! – a series of six free, online events for members alongside The Cartoon Museum on copyright, permissions, publishing and more, aimed at demystifying grey areas for all types of comics creators and graphic novelists.

Brush up! #2 – Funding for Comics Creators

Wednesday 27 January, 20.00-21.00

What funding models are available for comics creators? How can you maximise your opportunities? What grants are available? How do you apply for funding from Arts Council England? How do you claim PLR and secondary licensing money from ALCS and DACS?

Missed any of our online events so far? Catch up on our Vimeo channel below.

  • The first Brush Up! session on protecting your characters (Dec 2020) – Watch here
  • An industry insider panel discussion with Hannah Berry, Woodrow Phoenix and Alan Cowsill on comics creators and the global pandemic (Nov 2020) – Watch here

Our aims

Making comics requires a unique set of skills, and the comics medium itself is unlike any other. Historically, there has been little to no negotiation of creators' fees and rights, especially when working on licensed properties or material originated by the publisher. However, some things are the same no matter which area of publishing you are in: you deserve to be paid fairly, to own what you invent and to control what happens to it. The Society of Authors and the Comics Creators Network is here to help its members and to advocate for better industry standards. Industry standards, without the air quotes.

Woodrow Phoenix and Hannah Berry, network founders Tweet

According to the UK Comics Creators Survey, which surveyed more than 600 comics creators in April/May 2020, more than half of comics creators earn nothing – or less than £100 a year from comics – and 36% have been asked to sign away their intellectual rights as part of a contract. Only 18% of creators made money through work for hire – but it is the most valuable income source.

The SoA Comics Creators Network was set up to address some of these challenges and aims to:

  • Empower comics creators to support each other through the exchange of practical advice around the creative and publishing process.
  • Enable more comics creators from different backgrounds to feel welcome and supported in the comics industry, regardless of sex, age, race, sexual orientation or ability, by encouraging broader access into the industry.
  • Raise the profile of comics as a valued and celebrated art form and campaigning against exploitative practices, helping more comics creators to progress their careers.
  • Help comics creators develop the confidence and business skills to negotiate better rates of pay and thereby helping to raise industry standards.
  • Educate the wider public and creative industries about the value of comics as a storytelling medium to improve the treatment of comics creators.
  • Campaign and lobby for change with key policy makers and publishers.

Let’s Fix Comics – Report Nov 2020

A write-up and breakdown of the UK Comics Creators Survey 2020 follow-up discussion of events, written by Katriona Chapman. Download and read here