Zuda for August 2008

I haven’t checked in with Zuda, DC Comics’ webcomics competition, for a while, so I was surprised to see the strength of the submissions this month. There’s a great variety of work from clearly skilled creators, although most of the entries have the same flaw: they’re nothing but setup. Can’t anyone tell a whole story in eight pages these days? I know, they’re trying to drive votes from those who want to see more — but you can still do something satisfying and then expand upon it in depth later.

Anyway, my pick is Furiku Buredu, an absolutely gorgeous reverie about a drug-using samurai.

I’d also like to read more of Shock Effect, by John Lang and Ian Daffern, about a girl dealing with life under alien invasion. It’s a timely subject, with overtones of recent disasters in New Orleans and Iraq, given a fictionalized coating.

I found Tom Kelly’s The Stuffed Animal Sagas distinctive and intriguing. It features a comfortable premise, that of a girl’s teddy protecting her, told in rhyme with a different look, almost illustrated text.

I didn’t read Junk because it’s horror, but I wish net acquaintance and writer Justin Jordan the best.

Current winner is Vic Boone, an exciting, colorful story of a sci-fi private eye. It’s by Shawn Aldridge and Jeff Winstead, and while I liked others more, it clearly is the best of the group from a craft perspective.

Has anyone talked about how many of the leading and winning strips are not single-creator works? That’s unusual for webcomics. Is it a side effect of the company running the competition, or that several of the entrants see this as a way to get more attention for other projects?

An exception to that observation, Matthew Loux (Sidescrollers, Salt Water Taffy) contributes Rhandom Escape, a science fiction adventure. His distinctive style is neat to see, but the strip is heavy on fighting action instead of characterization. If we want to follow the adventures of a space rogue, we should get a good sense of why he’s worth following.

I was surprised to see To the Red Country because I think it’s a bad idea to misspell the name of your own strip on the opening screen. Interesting idea — a post-apocalyptic voyage — and distinctive-yet-simple visuals, but nothing to grab readers.

I started checking out the strips this month because of The Adventures of Rocki Gibraltar. I enjoy the work of the Fraim Brothers, but I can see why this strip is running last at this point. It’s flat black-and-white (without even shading or tones) when most other competitors are colored, making it look old-fashioned, and the story — about a girl with an absent father who wants to be a superhero — is much too familiar.

Anyway, some interesting stuff to check out in this month’s competition.


12 Responses to “Zuda for August 2008”

  1. jim dedieu Says:

    Thanks a lot for the vote of confidence.

    “An absolutely gorgeous reverie about a drug-using samurai”
    At least someone seems to get Furiku Buredu…
    That’s really heart-warming.

  2. Justin Jordan Says:

    Thanks for the well wishes, Johanna!

    If Junk doesn’t win, I really want Shock Effect to take it – Beautiful art and writing and a premise I dig.

    This is a really competitive month – I liked all of the stuff, and there three I really want to see more of.

  3. Justin Jordan Says:

    “Has anyone talked about how many of the leading and winning strips are not single-creator works? That’s unusual for webcomics. Is it a side effect of the company running the competition, or that several of the entrants see this as a way to get more attention for other projects?”

    Money, I think. There’s the license fee for getting in to comp and then the potential for a page rate.

    Which means that writers who can’t draw (yo!) have a little more enticement to get artists involved.

    Plus, it’s just a pitch’s worth of stuff, rather than trying to get an artist on for the long haul of a webcomic.

    I know I’d love, love, love to do a webcomic (and indeed, it’d probably be an ideal formate for Jenny Strange: http://librarygorilla.livejournal.com/81355.html)
    but I can’t get an artist to go along with me and I can’t yet afford to pay one.

  4. Johanna Says:

    Oh, good analysis. Thanks for sharing that!

  5. matt Says:

    you skipped gulch. ;)

  6. Johanna Says:

    Yeah, I kind of ran out of things to say about the middle-tier strips. And that was the one with the intriguing backstory that I didn’t see visible in the strip itself, which was too violent for me in its premise.

  7. Bill Williams Says:

    I think most people enter the contest assuming that they will win and are staffing up for that eventuality. And the cross-disciplines required in the making of comics are very difficult to execute much less master. I have been at this for a while, so I do three and hire freelancers to do the rest. Some weeks, the work load is harder to carry than others.

    What gets me about the Zuda-strips in how they are paced. Many strips are all setup and no pay off, but they are kind of a mess anywhere but the computer screen. How do you stack two six panel Zuda pages and not get a claustrophobic twelve panel mess in print? Of course, that may just be an aesthetic choice on my part. Check the difference between web & print.

    SideChicks webcomic- http://www.graphicsmash.com/comics/sidechicks.php

    SideChicks for print- http://www.wowio.com/users/product.asp?BookId=4664

    On a related note, SideChicks has cracked the 1 million page view mark on Graphic Smash this week. Since the launch in August 2006, we have missed two weeks.

    Sorry for the bit of shameless self-promotion,

    Bill

  8. Shawn Aldridge Says:

    Thanks for the words on Vic Boone.

    Jeff Winstead has been my best friend for 15 years, we’ve always worked together. The colorist, Rachel Winstead, is his lovely wife.

  9. Jeff Winstead Says:

    Thanks for the positive comments; however I would like to point out that Vic Boone is, in fact, a complete story done in eight screens. Seven, actually, considering the last screen is our nod to old B-movie lobby cards.

  10. Johanna Says:

    Yes, and that is a welcome thing to see! I’m glad to see that choice is being rewarded.

  11. Strip News 8-15-08 | ArtPatient.com Says:

    [...] late to the party on this one, but Comics Worth Reading has a look at the Zuda comics in August 2008’s competition. A quick overview, but [...]

  12. Strip News 8-15-08 | News | ArtPatient Says:

    […] late to the party on this one, but Comics Worth Reading has a look at the Zuda comics in August 2008‘s competition. A quick overview, but […]




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