In the item on The Comic Book Creators' Guild where Mike Pascale replied with some insight as to what might be preventing comics creators from voicing support for and taking steps to forming a guild, I thought it relevant to address with greater depth one of Mike's assessments which has long been a popular perception amongst the creators' community.
Unlike assembly-line workers and such, most comic folks cannot simply "walk" off their jobs in unified protest. A), There is no shortage of people wanting work who would be willing and able to take their places, and B) given the economic nature of their profession (and common check-to-check existence), they can't afford to drop work, especially a steady book.(I constantly go from "Crap, I'm too busy and can't handle it all" to "Crap, I haven't worked in weeks and I think the world forgot about me!" It was much worse before I married someone with a "real" job.)
The question I ask is why must the formation of the Comic Book Creators' Guild automatically entail the calling for a mass strike of the creators' community and the halting of work for most creators? Why must this be a pre-condition for forming the Guild?
I don't believe that any creator wishes such a situation and I don't believe that this needs to be our strategy. The struggle for creators' rights is first and foremost a psychological one and it seems prudent to approach our strategy from this simple yet powerful premise.
What prevents us from coming together and forming a guild which doesn't declare a contentious attitude towards the publishers by threatening to walk off the job if immediate reforms aren't institutionalized in the industry? Isn't the strength of the union, in and of itself, a powerful enough message - without having to reveal all of our cards with the first steps we take? Especially when such a strategy prevents most creators from supporting the Guild's formation?
Does anything really prevent us from forming the Guild just for the sake of the formalized union itself, while assuring most creators that we have no intention of threatening anyone's livelihood? Isn't it obvious that by employing such a strategy, the presence of the guild itself will begin to have an effect on the publisher's policy towards the creators, minimal as it may be?
Isn't it more prudent to consider such a course and allow a little time for the comics industry to become accustomed to the presence of such a union within it, before making premature declarations about a strategy we may not need to employ?