Steve Skeates and I were hired away from Charlton to go to work for DC. . . . In the arrogance and the ignorance of youth, we thought, “Well, the stuff we’ve been doing for $4 a page, they’re probably knocked-out by it, boy! They want to get us.”Which prompted comics younger creator Matt Fraction to comment on the reality of a buyer’s market:
Although the reality—which was given to me by [writer and publisher] Paul Levitz years later—is that those guys who created the DC pantheon—the writers and the freelancers—had asked for a little help with the health insurance and the response was to dump ’em.
So, Skeates and I were warm bodies who knew how to type. We had worked with Dick [Giordano] for a year each at Charlton—Dick would come into Manhattan once a week and we’d both had some experience at Marvel. But Skeates and I were hippies and did not wear jackets and ties to the office, so we were told not to walk past the big boss’ office—to go out and go the long way around—because, I dunno, maybe if he’d happened to open his door and saw somebody with long hair and tie-dye, he’d have had a coronary.
Someone will always be willing to write Batman for free. You said you guys were warm bodies and you could type—there’s always going to be somebody. You sit at a bar with an editor at a show and you see 19 people come up and pitch ideas at them. If everybody writing the top 20 books all quit and demanded “Union Now–Union Forever,” those 19 guys would be getting phone calls. There will never be a union.O’Neil again:
We get really pretty good working conditions for freelance writers: You don’t have to pitch a news story or reintroduce yourself every week or every month. Once you get established, you get work. What you pay for that is that you don’t have total freedom.And of course those writers have to deliver on deadline.