Thursday, July 12, 2007
DC Announces Web Comic Division
So one of the Big 2 have finally decided to dip their toes into web comic waters with ZudaComics.com. This was announced on July 9th through the New York Times and DC President Paul Levitz. I knew eventually one of the Big 2 were going to test this out, I just didn’t know how they were going to go about it. Like anything new from the major comic publishers it has it’s pros and cons. So let me break down how I feel about it.
1. A major company is looking beyond print comics in order to adapt the medium to fit the way people are now getting their entertainment. All comics will have to be in the 4:3 aspect ratio, which basically means a rectangle that fits on a computer screen so the reader doesn’t have to scroll to read it. This is something that I’ve went back and forth on since I started making web comics. In the end I settled for the traditional comic page size since I’m going to turn these into mini comics anyway. What DC can do with Zuda comics is make them downloadable to an iPod or iPhone, with the 4:3 ratio they’ll scale down nicely.
2. The comics aren’t going to be your traditional DC Universe. The submissions can be anything from superhero to auto-bio, color or black and white.
3. You’ll get paid for producing your web comic. ‘Nuff said.
1. They’re turning it into American Idol. 10 finalists will be chosen and then voted on by the fans. Why? I dunno. Maybe more traffic to the site as a way to find out how many people are interested in Zuda? I don’t know why this doesn’t sit well with me but the line will have editors who evaluate talent on a daily basis. Pick your 10 strips and after they run for a while see what strips are getting the most hits. Readjust the line from there. People doing these web comics will have poured their heart and souls into these strips (at this point for no money) and then they’ll have to run around to message boards pandering for votes. Not to mention the folks who have to sit and watch as their comic loses and their once high hopes dashed. Having an editor turn you down is one thing, having a gaggle of fanboys turn you down NCAA bracket style is another.
2. They mentioned that the line is a way to expand their intellectual property catalog. Comics turning into movies and TV are so common now that it’s mentioned right from the get-go. The comic isn’t the end result anymore, it’s the first step. I don’t know how the contract is going to work but I’m willing to bet the giant corporation is going to win out in the end.
3. You’re fighting for the right to have your comic published online when anyone with a pen and paper and a computer can already do it for free. That’s the beauty of a web comic. Instant publication on your terms.
So you can see I’m mixed on the whole Zuda thing. It’s great to see DC being forward thinking but there are still things that need to be ironed out. I guess this is to be expected as this is the first time a big comic company has done this. I’m hopeful and excited but my inherited lack of trust and/or faith in mainstream comics makes me wonder how this ship will sail. We’ll see.
And the funny thing is. Even though I already publish my work online and through Pixelstrips, being published through Zuda seems rather enticing. Even with the worries I spoke of above.
Thanks for reading,