The promise of putting the work in print doesn't really seem like a huge incentive. There are a number of ways to print on your own and all it takes is a bit of money. I have stuff in a few stores across the province and it only cost me a couple hundred bucks thanks to online printers.
I think the incentive of DC printing your stuff over you printing your own stuff is Distribution. That nasty nasty word. But I don't know. I mean that's the brass ring and all, but look at DC's numbers lately and you gotta wonder. I mean hell, Aquaman barely has more readers than SUPERCHUM these days! So what's the allure of a big-time company helping with distribution when they can barely get their headline characters out to the masses? I guess I need to see more info on their contract and how they execute all of this, but I just don't see the winner of their contest getting as MUCH hype and PR and marketing assistance as Aquaman, Hawkgirl or The Outsiders. Funny thing abou those comics? They're all cancelled.
This is really something that's been on my mind a lot lately. And was at the forefront of my mind going into Wizard World. And is the driving force for what prompted me to visit the Drunk Duck forum and then go meet the people at the booth a little after the panel.
I finally took a comic book drawing class at the local art college in Wilmington, DE. I'd taken a bunch of other continuing ed classes there, but was never able to get the comic class as it was never offered in a time slot I could make. Finally it was. And I loved it. Had a great time. Polished some skills. Learned some new stuff. But … I was left perplexed. One of my goals since I was a kid was to get work at a big company like Marvel or DC. I draw superheroes. So it's always been a big motivation of mine. But I've been doing freelance illustration, design and cartooning for over a decade now. I've self-published. I've been published as a regular strip in newspapers. And I remember the 1990s in comic books. And I remember the rags to riches nature of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and small indy black and whites that all tried to follow in TMNT's footsteps and failed. I've been to SPX a bunch of times. I've been to Comic Con International. I've made the rounds. And now I'm thinking that maybe, as I get closer and closer to realizing this dream of mine, maybe it's just a bit too late.
I don't think print comics are dead. Not by a longshot. But as a viable career path, I think they're looking pretty bleak.
I think web comics are steadily replacing the daily newspaper comics. With no more Far Side, no more Calvin, no more Peanuts, and with newspapers (my other career for 15+ years) slowly being destroyed by the internet … and with newspapers for the past 25 years or so inching comic strips out of their pages, pica point by pica point … the artform is going to have to thrive elsewhere. And that's the Web. The freedom. The color. The space. The ease of use. It's got it all over newspapers these days.
Which is where Zuda comes in. They seem to be trying to set it up almost like a cartooning syndicate. I don't know though, if the model's all that sound.
I keep thinking that you know, Penny Arcade doesn't need DC comics to back them. Why should anyone else? What does DC offer? Printed books? Aquaman can barely sell 14,000 printed books. How much support and money can they offer their Zuda artists if their mainstream artists/projects keep falling short?
Sorry to ramble. I think about this stuff a lot.