Zuda Shuts Down, DC Submissions Expansion Planned

Zuda Comics logo

Just received news that Zuda Comics will be shut down effective today. Instead, DC will be offering select titles through their comiXology online comic app and the PlayStation Network. For 20 pages (I assume a screen is a page?), it’ll cost you 99 cents, with the first issue free. From the press release:

The Collective, the Official ZUDA Blog, will continue to be updated at zuda.blog.dccomics.com with information about upcoming releases and behind-the-scenes information.

That blog currently has more information on the announcement, explaining that

from here on out, Zuda Comics will be folded into DC Comics’ exciting, new Digital Publishing initiative. Expect more Zuda series to be released through the DC Comics and comiXology Apps, the Sony PSP and on both the comiXology website and, eventually, the main DC Comics website as well. You’ll be able to read all of your digital editions and manage your entire library in one place, whether DCU, Vertigo, WildStorm, or Zuda. The goal there is convergence of technology and convergence of editorial.

So Zuda’s gone, but some of their comics will be repurposed to try and make a buck. Many aspiring creators will be excited that, although the Zuda competitions are gone, DC plans to allow submissions in a more expansive fashion:

Zuda logos

It is the new DC Co-Publishers’ plan to expand submissions beyond just Zuda Comics and the Online group into a larger, more comprehensive system that covers all of DC Comics’ wide variety of needs, skills and interests. Jim and Dan are very excited about bringing in and developing new talent so look for more information about that from them as plans develop.

The first two Zuda digital comic titles will be the same as those that first made it to print: Bayou and High Moon. Upcoming titles include John Zito and Tony Trov’s Black Cherry Bombshells, Dan Govar’s Azure, Andy Belanger’s Bottle of Awesome, Sheldon Vella’s Supertron, and Adam Atherton’s Lily of the Valley. (Nice use of creator possessive, there, instead of calling them “Zuda’s”.) I notice that my favorite Zuda book, The Night Owls, wasn’t mentioned.

First CMX was closed, now Zuda (which had seemed like it didn’t have much of a future when they ended the submission competitions at the end of April) — looks like there’s some house cleaning going on at DC. I wonder if this has any staffing implications?

Update: Another thought: comiXology and digital comics are being pushed on the iPad, and Zuda was a Flash-based interface, which doesn’t work on the iPad. Might that have contributed to the decision to abandon the Zuda website? Because site conversion would cost money?

Update: (7/2/10) This set of interviews with Zuda creators reveals that Night Owls will be one of the titles sold digitally, although they weren’t listed in the announcement. The story of Brock Heasley, who wrote the winning comic from February 2010 but then never got his promised contract or continuation, is particularly unfortunate. Contrast with David Gallaher, who is good at putting a positive spin on things in corporate-speak, letting us know he’s “excited for the new direction DC has taken.”

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