How Much Are Comic Book Writers and Artists Paid in 2023?

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Plenty of unique and loveable on-screen characters were initially brought to life in comic books, thanks to the talented writers and artists who designed these characters and their complex backstories. As popular as some of these characters may be, many still wonder if their writers and artists actually get their due. So, how much are comic book writers and artists paid?

  • Article Breakdown:
  • The average annual income for comic book writers falls between $35,500 and $46,870, while comic book artists usually earn between $36,409 and $52,803 each year.
  • Writers and artists may receive additional earnings through royalties or equity over time, although this is rare in practice.
  • Earnings differ depending on the professional’s skills, certifications, and experience in the field, as well as the company being worked for.

How much are comic book writers paid?

Thanks to an endless list of media releases, the modern world is blessed with stellar entertainment. Figures like Superman, Batman, Iron Man, and Spider-Man are some of the most famous fictional characters worldwide, and their success is thanks to years of comic book releases.

Superheroes may have gained additional fame in recent years thanks to many movies, TV series, and alternative media forms, but it all began with comic books. In many ways, on-screen characters are seen as modern adaptations, as their original forms will always be those created in comic books – tailored and adapted over many years of releases.

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The creators behind on-screen adaptations make money, but many wonder if the original comic book creators get their worth. Unfortunately, the average earnings for comic book writers are much lower than expected – including writers who work for major players in the industry.

It is quite tricky to identify how much comic book writers make, as they don’t earn the same way that most employees would when working a full-time job. Instead, comic book writers are paid based on numerous variables, resulting in an inconsistent income for each comic book writer.

Most comic book writers earn between $36,500 and $46,870 annually as of 2023. Although most comic book writers fall within the lower bracket in their earnings, some writers can earn much more – with higher averages falling between $51,500 and $68,000 per year.

As of October 2023, the average hourly pay rate for comic book writers ranges between $17.07 and $24.76 in the United States, typically fluctuating around $22.53. Some writers earn higher hourly rates of up to $46.62 in the United States, while others earn as little as $11.30 per hour.

It is rare for comic book writers to receive a salaried position in a publishing company. In most cases, comic book writers are project-based as they are paid on the number of pages that they can deliver to their editors within a specified timeframe, and companies may decide to pay their writers based on the number of pages and content provided or based on an hourly pay rate. 

How much do comic book writers charge per page?

Comic book writers usually get paid hourly or per page, depending on the company and their skill level and expertise in the field. Some companies are willing to pay higher rates. In contrast, others offer low starting rates – this could be for various reasons, such as to form a base starting point for a new writer or due to some comic books being less popular and profitable than others.

As such, different publishing companies have different rates about how much they are willing to pay per page. Some comic book writers could make around $50 per page, but the expected earnings still heavily rely on the skill, talent, and popularity of the comic book writer’s work.

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Generally speaking, comic book writers are willing to accept a lower pay rate per page since writing a script for a comic book is far simpler than illustrating the art. Comic book writers can typically turn over more pages within a specified timeframe compared to comic book artists, which can amount to more income over time.

How much are comic book artists paid?

While comic book writing and illustrating are different fields, comic book artists are paid similarly compared to comic book writers. As with most art-based projects and careers, the payout mainly depends on how talented or experienced the artist is – naturally, more proficient comic book illustrators can make a lot more money than those still starting out.

How Much are Comic Book Writers and Artists Paid (2021)?

As of September 2023, the average income for comic book artists in the United States is estimated to be around $43,697 per year, while more proficient comic book artists may get paid between $52,803 and $61,094 per year. However, most comic book artists earn less than the reported average, with annual incomes of between $29,774 and $36,409, particularly those with less experience or those working for less-known comic book companies.

In most cases, comic book artists are also paid by the number of pages they deliver. Like comic book writers, artists rarely get full-time salaried positions, as they typically work for companies on a per-project basis – for example, a project may require the artist to turn over a certain number of completed pages per week in the hopes that they could finish an entire comic book in a month.

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These artists are often freelancers and are not usually paid with a fixed sum in mind. The ideal number of pages is often one page a day, while the artist works on it for at most 10 hours – in reality, most comic book illustrators actually need an entire week to finish 3 or 4 pages while working a third of an entire day.

How much do comic book artists charge per page?

Like writers, comic book artists usually get paid per page – apart from cases involving hourly pay rates. Most comic book artists get paid between $100 to $200 per artwork page, depending on the company, but some comic book illustrators may get paid up to around $300 a page.

Accomplished or established comic book artists can get paid $600 a page, particularly when they can secure a salaried position with the company they are illustrating for. Still, this approach takes a ton of time, effort, and marketing on the artist’s part, and most comic book illustrators choose to take on per-project-based jobs as a result, hoping to earn a higher total income through multiple clients.

How much does Marvel pay comic book writers and artists?

Marvel pays a fair amount of money for their comic book writers’ and artists’ work – although many feel that the payout is still relatively low considering just how much money Marvel makes each year. On average, Marvel can pay their comic book scriptwriters an average of $60, and around $80 for more experienced comic book writers, while comic book artists usually make between $160 and 180 per page.

How much does DC pay comic book writers and artists?

DC Comics currently has the highest expected pay rates for both its comic book writers and artists. In most cases, DC comic book writers can make about $100 per page, while DC comic book artists can earn an average of around $200 a page.

Do comic book writers and artists get royalties?

Comic book writers and artists typically earn an income that falls below the average annual salary in the United States, which is around $53,490 per year or $1,028 per week as of 2023. Although the pay rates of writers are lower than that of artists, they usually amount to similar annual incomes since writers can turn over work faster than artists can – still, neither career offers a stable and comfortable annual income.

Royalties may be on the table if published work makes enough money, depending on how much it makes in terms of other profit-making ventures such as merchandise, movies, or TV shows. Royalties can be between 10% to 80% of the revenue made from other ventures, depending on the agreement between the writer or artist and the publishing company.

A comic book writer or artist can make a lot more money in the long run through royalties, but this is rare in reality. In practice, comic book talent is often considered “work-for-hire,” meaning that writers and artists are usually not entitled to royalty payments or anything beyond the agreed upfront payout.

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Established companies like Marvel and DC both offer equity in some cases, which is a tiny share of profits made – if the writer or artist’s work is used for movies, TV shows, and merchandise. However, since these contracts are typically at the company’s discretion, this does not always play out as expected.

Do webtoon artists get paid?

Webtoons use a digital format instead of the print format for which comic books are known. These Webtoons are popular in Asian countries like South Korea and Japan, but the format is gaining notoriety in other regions due to the global popularity of some Webtoon titles.

Even though Webtoons have different formats, they rely on artists who use digital software to illustrate their work – with common options including posting works as a Canva or a Featured Creator on LINE Webtoon. Given that they need to work hard to deliver their titles’ pages, Webtoon artists get paid.

How much are webtoon artists paid?

The average pay rate for Webtoon artists can differ drastically, depending on the artist’s experience, the Webtoon’s popularity, as well as additional factors. New Webtoon artists may charge as little as $5 an hour, but more experienced artists have reported earning hundreds or thousands of dollars each month.

A study done in 2019 showed that Webtoon artists often get paid between $30,000 and $40,000 each year, although some artists get paid between $10,000 and $30,000 per year or up to around $50,000 in some cases. That being said, some Webtoon artists have reported annual earnings of over $100,000, indicating a massive income disparity within the space, and these average earnings have continued over the years with the growth of the Webtoon market as a whole.

Who is the richest comic book writer?

According to a report by Yahoo! Finance, the richest comic book author is David Choe, who is worth between $300 and $500 million. However, although David Choe does have graphic novels such as Slow Jams, a fair portion of his wealth can be attributed to his time as a graffiti artist – known for painting murals in former Facebook president Sean Parker’s home.

Choe accepted Facebook stocks as his payment and became an instant millionaire as a result. Meanwhile, second in place is the more popular Tom McFarlane, who is worth around $300 million. McFarlane started out as a freelancer for Batman and Hulk but eventually became much more successful when he started working on The Amazing Spider-Man, which went on to sell millions of copies.

That’s everything there is to know about the average income for comic book writers and artists in 2023. Although there’s a massive gap between established professionals and those starting off in the field, there’s still plenty of room for opportunities for writers and artists willing to invest time, effort, and talent into the industry, as well as those who work with successful companies.

What do you think about this? Let us know in the comments below!

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