Creator Confessions: Severing Long-Term Relationships

by Frank Martin

Like so many other industries, making comics hinges on the relationships you form along the way. This goes for everything — editors, artists, publishers, designers — the list goes on. A creator is only as good as the people working around him or her. But the roads to success aren’t always smooth. There are bumps; constant twists and turns that must be weathered along the way. When working with somebody new and those bumps come early, it’s easy to get off that road and onto another. But what if you’ve been working with somebody for a long time? What if you consider them reliable and trustworthy and then one day they’re not? It’s hard to sever that relationship and move on to somebody else. But that doesn’t make the decision to do so any less important.

It’s tough to separate the difference between business and friendship. After working with people for a long time, it’s easy to become friendly with them and build a rapport. But unexpected things in life come up all the time. Businesses and individuals can run into trouble as well. You can be there for people and help out when you can, but it is extremely important to recognize when somebody else’s issues start to become your own. You can’t let your own business become hindered just to salvage a long-term relationship. Loyalty is important, but not at the expense of your success.

That’s not to say people can’t be given a second chances. When people get back on their feet, you can always come back around and offer them a new gig or hire them for a new project. But you should also be wary when rebuilding a relationship, too. And this can happen anywhere. Printers are a very important part of a comic creator’s workflow. But when a printer starts to see delays, you can’t make it a personal decision when you start to search for other options. The same goes for colorists, artists, letters … anyone and everyone that is responsible for the creation of your product. You can’t control how someone else will react when you sever a long-term relationship. The only thing you can control is your own behavior when doing so. Be nice, courteous, and honest. That’s all you can do and hope that the person on the other side of your decision understands.

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