On October 18, 1896, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst went to war—not with Spain in Cuba but with Joseph Pulitzer in New York. His opening salvo was The New York Journal’s five-cent color supplement, The American Humorist, which Hearst called “eight pages of iridescent polychromous effulgence that makes the rainbow look like a piece of lead pipe.”

The sudden explosion of color comics had been facilitated by new high-speed four-color printing presses, but “lead pipe” may have been the operative term in Hearst’s boast. The original comics were designed to stun—both their startling graphics and their rambunctious antics.

The great J. Hoberman on The Great Comics War

How does salary work in the comics industry? Do you make your living based on sales? the amount of books you write? or something different?

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I can only speak for myself: at marvel i have a page rate, and then, on top of that, there are certain incentives and bonuses triggered by any number of events or variables. i make my living based on the number of scripts i produce; nearly everything else is unpredictable — or unreliable — gravy. 

creator-owned stuff is entirely different and is usually generated by sales, so payment, if any, comes after bills are paid, publishers have broken even, taken their cut, sales are tallied, etc.