A lucky group of some 200 press cartoonists earned between 200 and 1000 dollars a day, these artists moved in an industry that generated 8 million dollars… from 1933.
Some of them could earn up to 7000 dollars a week, these numbers are even more shocking if you try to investigate the “salaries” of Spanish cartoonists, in Spain, at the time.
This was reported in Modern Mechanix magazine in its November 1933 issue under the title “How Comic CARTOONS Make Fortunes” (front cover). Although due to the time that has elapsed and the difficulty of verifying these figures today, they may prove to be interesting guidelines.
Not all these cartoonists who worked for the American press almost 80 years ago were professionals or established authors, between autodidacts and apprentices they created successful series and characters that the publishers of the time knew how to turn into a millionaire business thanks in large part to the already established fondness for cartoons of the readers of the time.
Reading these figures, as well as making more than one of us long for pencils, reminds us that the power and tradition of the American industry of graphic humour, comics and satirical illustration for the press did not understand crises and cartoonists continued to make money even during the Depression, and not even the famous crash could put an end to its flourishing publishing industry.
Source: Modern Mechanick. Very interesting scanned pages from the complete article “How Comic CARTOONS Make Fortunes” (Nov, 1933) (well worth translating into spanish if it doesn’t exist). Any volunteers to translate them?