Zuda Announces First Winner, Competitors

DC Comics’ new webcomics imprint, Zuda, has announced a go-live date of Tuesday (?) October 30. However, most of their announcements are already being made elsewhere from their main site. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with that, if you want to curry favor with certain outlets, but at least I would have expected the information to be available at the main URL.

Newsarama had details of their first “instant winner” (link no longer available): Jeremy Love, an established former self-publisher who gets a one-year contract. He was solicited by the editors instead of coming as part of the open call. This caused some concern on Zuda’s messageboards (no longer available), from someone wondering whether they were still good enough to try out and thinking that things are different from what they assumed:

I guess that is where my sense of loss comes from. I sort of assumed that Zuda WAS here to make me feel good about myself. I mean I love DC. The opportunity to work for a subsidiary of DC would have been awesome. To have the input from a professional editor would have been invaluable for me. I sort of assumed I would be getting a rotten deal on the money side for the great opportunity to learn and grow it would have afforded me. I should have known something was up when the $250 per page rate was given.

Here is the thing. Every other webcomic site is about making the novice feel good about themselves. They hold people’s hand walk them through the process. Give them tools and advice on how to improve. But that is not Zuda. Zuda is a harsh and hard place where you need to be competent and sharp to begin with. There is no finding your feet here. There is not learning what works and what doesn’t. You start off with a bang or not at all. There is nothing wrong with that. That is the way the publish world works. I am a little saddened to find that the pond is a little too big for me.

Early respondents complain about having to know someone and Zuda not communicating their big news on their own site and the imprint not feeling like “real” webcomics. Complaints of this kind are typical, actually — there are a lot of people out there, and a few of them will be vocal about gripes. That last one, feeling different from other webcomic sites, might be their strength, or at least something that sets them apart.

Zuda also named their first ten contestants on their webforum (no longer available). Lots of the names are familiar to me, which I find surprising, since I don’t follow webcomics. I know them from small press print projects, though. (And I’m thrilled to have the chance to see Steve Ellis’s art again.) These are the ones readers will be voting on next month, and they were also approached ahead of time, so Zuda could have content ready for go-live.

Sean Kleefeld has more detail on some of the first creators involved and early promotion.

Update: Todd Allen lays out the credits of the first round of creators, demonstrating how many are already known quantities in print comics.

7 Responses to “Zuda Announces First Winner, Competitors”

  1. Charles RB Says:

    Todd Allen at Comic Book Resources has done a column on this, comparing what Zuda’s stated aim is to who the first contestants are: http://www.comicbookresources.com/columns/?column=26

    It is quite surprising that they’re almost all pre-existing print comics creators when the whole point is supposed to be getting a new generation in, and webcomic specific. I can understand if they want to use known quantities for the first vote, while they’re still setting things up, but wouldn’t it make sense to use pre-existing webcomic creators for that due to the nature of Zuda? (Though Allen raises the point they might not be _able_ to get webcomics people in due to the contract issue)

  2. Johanna Says:

    Yes, that was the update link I added this morning. My guess is that, rather than saying anything about contracts, this says more about who the Zuda editors knew to reach out to. That is, it looks to me like their circles include more print creatore than web. Or maybe Todd’s right, that semi-established web creators don’t see Zuda as having much to offer them they can’t already do for themselves.

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