What Is Zuda Looking For?

Zuda Comics logo

I thought I’d stop by and check out this month’s Zuda entries, which made me wonder about how similar they were all becoming. I noticed that many of them were tagged either Super-Hero, Action/Adventure, or Horror. There were smart-alec animals, girls in their underwear, bloody fights, talky conspiracies, and always, too much time spent waiting for the viewer to load. The content reminded me of what I can already get elsewhere.

Also typical: lots of setup, no real story. With only 8 panels, it’s tough, but I shouldn’t learn more about the premise of your comic from the text synopsis than I do from reading it. The one I like best, the one I could see continuing to read as a webcomic, was Vigilante Granny, because it’s funny and unusual and loads quickly (it’s black and white). It’s also currently in last place. Figures. The current first-place holder is something called RockStar, which looks like a whole lot of other superhero comics.

Is the audience self-selecting for things they’re already comfortable with, given that they’re participating in this project from DC Comics? Or are superheros and fights just what’s easiest to do in 8 “screens”?

Zuda logos



10 comments

  • David Gallaher

    There aren’t many superhero comics on the site, certainly a handful, but horror comics certainly dominate the site.

    In terms of what Zuda is looking for? Good comics – and there are certainly a few on the site that are stellar. But, Zuda’s turnaround on submissions is 90 days. So, some month’s comics are certainly not as good as other months in terms of content, craft, or storytelling.

    Zuda loads on my computer really quickly, [like almost instantly] but I adjusted my Flash settings.

  • David, what’s the trick? It takes forever on mine, and I have heard others make the same complaint.

    Zuda does have a lot of sci fi and horror, but there are some great fantasy comics as well. And the biggest problem I have with a lot of their comics is the opposite of yours–not enough setup, so I’m plunged into the middle of the action without enough clues to what is going on. I agree with you though that the info should be in the comic, not the synopsis.

  • David Gallaher

    Here’s the trick if you are on a PC. Go to a Zuda page. Right click inside the browser. A little menu will pop-up, scorrl down till you you see the ‘Settings’ option. This will open up the ‘Adobe Flash Player Settings.’ There are a series of icons on this menu. Click the third one. [It looks like a folder.] This will tell your computer how much information to store from zuda. The default is 10k, which isn’t a lot at all. I set mine to ‘Unlimited’ … which really does the trick. I get few, if any hiccups. You computer stores the page, rather than relying so much on your internet connection. These days, I can read all of HIGH MOON without an internet connection!

  • Alan Coil

    Comic book fans are IDIOTS!

    Some who might read that will know that I recently posted the same sentence over at The Beat. But it’s true. Even if I modify it to say ‘comics fans’, it’s still true.

    I love superhero comics. But I also enjoy other types, too. I read Usagi Yojimbo, Zorro, Lone Ranger, Muppet Show, The Boys, etc. I was one of the first in my neighborhood to GET Sandman. I like reading older comics, too. Yogi Bear, Tarzan, Space Family Robinson, Hot Stuff, Casper, Popeye, etc.

    Here we have a way of having a virtually unlimited variety of types of comics, and the B&W one is voted last, and a superhero comic first.

    Comics fans are IDIOTS!

  • Al Schroeder III

    I do one of the few superhero webcomics out there, but I enjoy the huge diversity of true webcomics, and I find the ZUDA interface a discouraging and unnecessarily restrictive template, and I find the eight-screen restriction unnaturally confining. I also find the competition demeaning and quick to grab the high flashy concept rather than the quality material.

    It makes economic sense of DC, and if your ambition is to work for DC, yes, it’s a good introduction. But expecting quality webscale work on the scale of say, Dresden Codak or Kukkiburri or Gunnerkreig (sp?) Court from this is like expecting the next Bob Dylan to arise from AMERICAN IDOL.

    Sorry. Not my cup of tea. And I’ve been reading comics for a looong time (used to be a letterhack under Al Schroeder III) as well as doing webcomics for over five years.

  • BlaqueSaber

    Maybe I stand alone on this issue but I prefer a flash interface to html buttons that force the entire page to reload.

    Also, it is my opinion that setting up a flash interface (which is easy to do, there are lots pre made codes you can find)sets you apart from a standard webcomicer giving your page a bit more of a professional look and feel to it.

  • Ultimately, BS, it doesn’t matter whether a Zuda creator understands or agrees with the objections or not. The important thing is that a significant number of readers feel that way, and ruling out a big chunk of potential fans because of a stupid (imo) proprietary reader may not be the best way to go.

    Aside from it being ridiculously slow, which interrupts reading, there’s also the sharing problem. If I love a particular installment of Sinfest, for example, I can link directly to it. If I want to point a friend towards a particular screen of the latest Zuda strip, I can’t. That’s sort of anti-web.

    I’m guessing DC thought they needed it out of fear of copying, but that’s sort of putting the cart before the horse. They’d need to have a strip that popular and desired for sharing first.

  • Sean

    It’s so funny to me how people get so caught up with (a) the Competition, (b) the Contract, and (c) How do I get in.

    It’s actually pretty simple. You make a bad ass comic that you’ve put 100% of yourself into, you should get in. And if you don’t, so what — if you feel super passionate about it, put it up somewhere else. If you get in and lose, sometimes (believe it or not) that’s even better. You still retain the rights to your work, you meet a whole array of other creative talent whom you can maybe even collab w/ latter (ie: The Hammer).

    Any way you look at it, it’s a win/win scenario.

    I was a former competitor and came in 10th place, but it was a great experience. Even if I hadn’t gotten in I’d still be doing what I am right now: Self releasing/publishing my comic on my own site.

    Zuda isn’t for everyone… but for those that don’t really “get it”, it’s about way more than just winning the contract.

  • Steve B.

    I’ve been thru the Zuda mill three times and the contest I enjoyed the least was the one where I decided I NEEDED to win. I came out of it feeling vaguely slimy. I enjoyed it a lot more when I just took it as an opportunity to put work out there, get some feedback, and just be part of the whole mishegas for a month. I know in our culture that’s Commie talk (contests are for WINNIN’,hippie!), but I’m not really relying on Zuda to be my “way in”. I think if you set it up as that then you’re bound to be disappointed. Just enjoy it for what it is like Sean said.

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