Look, the hard reality is that work-for-hire keeps every facet of the entertainment industry going, and that includes comics. It makes no difference if you’re a big-name talent or lesser known. And for a very clear sample of that, Robert needs to look no further than most of the other partners at Image Comics, who, after launching their creator-owned ideas, now run their businesses through work-for-hire. I don’t say this to be disparaging, just as a matter of fact.
Robert also states that in the work-for-hire world, when you’re hot you’re hot and when you’re not…your career is over. He also states that it’s been “proven” that creators have longer careers in the world of creator-owned. Well, “proven” is pretty hard to quantify, no less validate, and for every guy who has had a long career in the world of creator-owned, I could find just as many, if not more, who have been doing work-for-hire for just as long if not longer. Also, from my perspective, the “hot and not” argument has no boundaries and applies to whether you’re doing work-for-hire or creator-owned. The big difference is—and this is important—when you’re “not hot” in the world of work-for-hire, you can still get work doing your thing on lesser-selling titles if you’re talented. It’s still possible to make a decent living. However, when you’re “not hot” in the world of creator-owned, you run the risk of starving to death.
There’s plenty more about creator-owned work at the link, including references to an idea Quesada has “percolating” for a creator-owned property that could appear in 2010.