General Discussion

DC Comics to launch Zudacomics.com (a DD.com rip-off)
SteveMyers22 at 10:46PM, July 16, 2007
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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.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:58PM
bongotezz at 6:21AM, July 17, 2007
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i dont think the problem with low sales of some books is distribution. i think its because those characters are so old that they've been done to death and no one cares anymore and aquaman sux. it's time for some new characters.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:32AM
mlai at 6:31AM, July 17, 2007
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Aquaman barely has more readers than SUPERCHUM these days!
Are u serious, or exaggerating by some amount?

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:05PM
djcoffman at 6:48AM, July 17, 2007
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Actually, he's spot on. Even lesser known webcomics have larger readerships than a main DC title. Let's look at the numbers from June 2007 print sales, DETECTIVE COMICS #833 only sold 54,104 copies. Keep in mind a percentage of that, (around 25% I was told by a guy who owns a chain 9 comic stores) won't even see readers eyes, because they get bought and sleeved and stored away for collections. — But let's just say each one of those books counted as a reader, on a monthly title like that, it means only 50,000 unique individuals are reading Batman. Over on my other site, I was averaging 9000 something unique users a day. I can't imagine what a PvP or Penny Arcade get, but definitly, individual webcomics are read by more people than comic books.

Eye opening isn't it? Now we know why so many players will be coming to “webcomics” soon.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:12PM
djcoffman at 6:52AM, July 17, 2007
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By the way, Aquaman #53 only sold 13,450 copies last month.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:12PM
kingofsnake at 8:13AM, July 17, 2007
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To be fair Aquaman is the punchline of the superhero community

How'd The Flash do, I've heard really good things about the new Flash comic books and he's what I'd call a second tier superhero
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
bongotezz at 9:53AM, July 17, 2007
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i can see why webcomics are so enticing to DC. distribution is cheaper and faster. no more printing 15,000 copies of aquaman and then shipping them all over the country. just publish it to the web and 1 second after it's published anyone in the world can read it. and no more aquaman comics filling up the landfills.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:32AM
SteveMyers22 at 12:23PM, July 17, 2007
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kingofsnake
To be fair Aquaman is the punchline of the superhero community

How'd The Flash do, I've heard really good things about the new Flash comic books and he's what I'd call a second tier superhero

The Flash's sales have been sinking like a rock. The newest series was selling so poorly, issue 13 is the final issue, the character was killed, and it's starting all over again, from the issue the previous series left off at (#231). They're bringing back Wally West, and putting one of the more famous Wally West writers back on the book (Mark Waid).

I wasn't exaggerating too much. I used Aquaman because he's a household name due to his Superfriends days. I didn't think I'd get much discussion out of pointing out how horrible Hawkgirl, Firestorm, Blue Beetle, Outsiders, Shadowpact or Trials of Shazam sales have been.

On the other hand, Wonder Woman sales are really low too. I guess I could have used her as an example, but she's got other problems (book not shipping properly, and an entire storyline cut off in the middle as creative direction changed, which is always bad for readership). I'm only sticking with DC stuff since they're the company behind Zuda. Marvel's sales are steady. They're in the lead in the mainstream super hero mag thingamajig. But they're not doing any web comics things like DC is trying.

DJ brings up a very good point with Detective Comics (and the immensely popular Batman) versus an equally popular web comic.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:58PM
Evil Emperor Nick at 8:20AM, July 18, 2007
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Well while one the one hand I'd like to see this fail and see DD rise to triumphant glory on the web, on the other hand I'm not terribly upset that DC is trying this.

Look at it this way. Marvel decided that it was going to close its doors even more then it already has by starting to higher big names from TV like Strazinski & Wheedon. DC is going the opposite road but starting to look for new tallent.

Personally I find DC's aproach much more encouraging since this means DC is actually willing to look for new tallent as opposed to Marvel which is starting to look into other entertainment sectors and import tallent.

So while I'd rather see DD over DC I don't think DC's Zuda comics is really a bad thing for aspring comic makers, particularly when compaired to the direct Marvel is taking.

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:23PM
ozoneocean at 5:25AM, July 20, 2007
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SteveMyers22
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?
Penny Arcade doesn't need backing, but they're not a good example of the viability of web comics, simply because they're so massive; it's not a usual case, they're at the extreme end.

But in citing Penny Arcade you have hit upon the reason why the Zudda offer is worthwhile. You see, webcomics are able to get more readership than print comics because “distribution” is instant, universal, and free. But even though they're able to get more readers, that doesn't mean they will. Webcomics need promotion and recognition to spread the word and get people in. Every webcomic can aspire to be a giant like Penny Arcade or PVP, but it's just not going to happen at this stage in the maturity of the “industry” without something special. And that's where something like Zuda comes in; the hype and recognition of the DC brand name can give its comics what they need.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:27PM
djcoffman at 10:53AM, July 20, 2007
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I just listened to the PA guys on Scott Kurtz's most recent podcast discussing Zuda. I've known Jerry (tycho) for awhile and I respect their input immensely – It was interesting, because they said currently they wouldn't NEED a Zuda— but the main point they and Scott Kurtz have raised is about 100% ownership of your property, because they believe that's all you bring to the table in the end. One point they made was that early on in Penny Arcade history, they sold their rights to this site called eFront, and then chat logs were disclosed with the owners talking about how they'd fire Gabe and Tycho and put someone new on. – now, it's taken years and years for webcomics like Penny Arcard and PvP to “make it” and then some.

On the other side of the argument is a person like me. While I don't suggest selling your “baby” to a large company, I do not have a problem at all with being a career minded cartoonists, and why not develop properties for large companies, ESPECIALLY when you're locked in contractually to make a percentage or royalty all along the way. While creators
like Kurtz have suggested that such contracts are a backward in time for creator rights, I'd argue and have argued that great creators like Jack Kirby or Joe Simon never had such deals working for Marvel or DC, and for all intents and purposes those companies are still standing on the foundations laid by those men's creations. At least the ICONS.

When I sold Hero By Night, I'd want nothing more than for it to become Platinum's Captain America or iconic NEW hero that could some day compete with the other icons, maybe replace them even… and I'm more than happy knowing i have a good deal for myself.

I imagine smart creators could work deals out with Zuda as well, I guess it all depends on what you bring to the table.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:12PM
SteveMyers22 at 11:10AM, July 20, 2007
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Penny Arcade doesn't need backing, but they're not a good example of the viability of web comics, simply because they're so massive; it's not a usual case, they're at the extreme end.

Then howbout Something Positive? Randy's strip isn't a mega giant hit like PVP or PA. But I bet he gets more readers each month than The Blue Beetle.

last edited on July 14, 2011 3:58PM
marine at 11:20AM, July 20, 2007
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Its not just DC that fails to do their third stringers books. How many successful Doctor Strange solo books have their been? A better example would be the latest Blade series. After 12 issues, its been canceled to do low sales. Granted, it wasn't nearly as good as Blade could be, but it was light comic book fare. No one wants that anymore. No one wants a guy just doing his usual comic book fight a villain and then developer a longer overarching story arc. Its got to be done the way Bendis and Miller do their long story arcs with “super serious buissness” going on. Nobody ever just wants to punch a guy and yell a catch phrase. Just two more cents from me.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:52PM
SteveMyers22 at 11:34AM, July 20, 2007
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marine
Its not just DC that fails to do their third stringers books. How many successful Doctor Strange solo books have their been? A better example would be the latest Blade series. After 12 issues, its been canceled to do low sales. Granted, it wasn't nearly as good as Blade could be, but it was light comic book fare. No one wants that anymore. No one wants a guy just doing his usual comic book fight a villain and then developer a longer overarching story arc. Its got to be done the way Bendis and Miller do their long story arcs with “super serious buissness” going on. Nobody ever just wants to punch a guy and yell a catch phrase. Just two more cents from me.

When you say Miller do you mean Frank Miller or Mark Millar? All-Star Batman or Civil War?

last edited on July 14, 2011 3:58PM
marine at 1:51PM, July 20, 2007
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Its not just DC that fails to do their third stringers books. How many successful Doctor Strange solo books have their been? A better example would be the latest Blade series. After 12 issues, its been canceled to do low sales. Granted, it wasn't nearly as good as Blade could be, but it was light comic book fare. No one wants that anymore. No one wants a guy just doing his usual comic book fight a villain and then developer a longer overarching story arc. Its got to be done the way Bendis and Miller do their long story arcs with “super serious buissness” going on. Nobody ever just wants to punch a guy and yell a catch phrase. Just two more cents from me.

When you say Miller do you mean Frank Miller or Mark Millar? All-Star Batman or Civil War?



I meant Mark Miller. It seems every “event” is written by him or Bendis. They're both always on the top things in Wizard, granted I don't read it often, but every few months I pick it up and they're there. I dunno, just calling it like I see it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:52PM
mlai at 4:01PM, July 20, 2007
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But, having free reader views for your webcomics is not equivalent to having readers pay $2.50 for every issue. You can't compare the numbers that way.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:05PM
SteveMyers22 at 6:36PM, July 20, 2007
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mlai
But, having free reader views for your webcomics is not equivalent to having readers pay $2.50 for every issue. You can't compare the numbers that way.

two fifty? Wow. Talk about time travel! I feel like I'm in 2002 again!

Have you seen the price of that Sinestro comic DC put out?

Comic Prices keep going up and up and up and I don't know if people are really willing to pay that kind of money regularly. I think today's $2.99 is already pushing it.

Especially when readers can get quality content for FREE on the intarwebz.

;-)

It's a pretty intricate little circle isn't it? DC comics backs a web comics venture. And their name is pretty big-time. And they give a lot of weight and PR and visibility to any stuff they “publish” on the site. But people question how long the venture will be quite that viable, or at least DC's execution of it.

Then there's the question of what else being part of that brings. DC promises to open the avenue to print. But with comic sales down, Diamond's continued choke hold on the direct market unwavering and not exactly profitable (oh yeah, SOMEONE had to mention Diamond, let it be me), comic prices threatening to rise again beyond 3 bucks a book, paper prices being artificially high, and readership kind of splintered … is that really a powerful enticement?

See that's another thing I'm thinking about. Ozone says that not every web comic will be Penny Arcade. This is true. But not every Zuda comic will be as viable as Batman. So it's kind of a catch 22 isn't it?

I don't know this stuff's just on my mind. I'll probably not even come close to getting any votes with my submission. So it'll be moot. Which is fine with me. Superchum.com will be launching sometime later this year. And then my business model really kicks in …

Step 1: Underpants
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Profit!

On a side note, Marine said:

I meant Mark Miller. It seems every “event” is written by him or Bendis. They're both always on the top things in Wizard, granted I don't read it often, but every few months I pick it up and they're there. I dunno, just calling it like I see it.

Ah, ok. I figured you meant Millar. Because you're right, Marvel's pretty much handed the reigns of their entire universe over to Mr. Bendis and Mr. Millar of late. But when you said “super serious” story arcs that are artificially drawn out (decompressed storytelling) I thought the same could apply to Frank Miller as well with his All-Star Batman schtick. So I just wanted to make sure.

:)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:58PM
mlai at 5:35AM, July 21, 2007
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two fifty? Wow. Talk about time travel! I feel like I'm in 2002 again!
Has it been that long since I glanced at a comic book?
I was gonna say $2.00, and I even added $0.50 on top… :nervous:

Someone
oh yeah, SOMEONE had to mention Diamond, let it be me
What's Diamond and what's it about?

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:05PM
SteveMyers22 at 11:21AM, July 21, 2007
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mlai
Someone
two fifty? Wow. Talk about time travel! I feel like I'm in 2002 again!
Has it been that long since I glanced at a comic book?
I was gonna say $2.00, and I even added $0.50 on top… :nervous:

I gotta doublecheck, as I think some comics might still be in the $2.50 range. But most of the mainstream titles are $2.99 these days. Or MORE (like World War Hulk and/or Sinestro Corps … those were all more expensive).

Someone
oh yeah, SOMEONE had to mention Diamond, let it be me
What's Diamond and what's it about?

Diamond Distributors

The real reason why mainstream super hero comics are a dying industry. There's only one distributor. They're only direct market. Local Comic Shops pretty much have to play by Diamond's rules. And Diamond's the reason why so many comics are no longer on spinner racks at local supermarkets, drugstores, whatevers.

There's so much more evil I wish to discuss regarding Diamond. But … I'm a comics artist myself and somehow feel afraid to invoke their name too often. Like in that Candyman horror film series.

:nervous:
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:58PM
marine at 12:33PM, July 21, 2007
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Like anyone but the most hardcore dorks reading this would even buy a single issue. Even then, they're more inclined to read a “graphic novel” or a “trade paperback.” Remember when Wizard used to review new issues of comics? Well in the last few I've read, its all about the TPBs and Graphic Novel collections. No reviews of single issues.

Theres a lot of stuff thats killing comic books as a medium, but its going to continue to be viable because the guys who support it, are going to more or less spend everything they have on comics. Its a fanaticism that can't be described loving comic books. Even my hatred of DC's not really a hatred, as I'm sure if a Batman story I wanted to read (like the aforementioned and horribly late all star batman) I'd pick it up. Its hard to hate Frank Miller, but because of his latest success with film, as a guy on the internet you have to hate him.

Whats really making these things Juggernaughts is the movies, video games, action figures, and tie in stuff that transcends dorks. I'd be willing to bet a lot of people buy a Marvel Legends two pack of Bullseye and Daredevil, and wonder “Why does Bullseye have on this blue costume?” I think they include issues in the two packs, but what're the chances they're going to include a full run of Born Again or one of the many other Bullseye being great stories. It doesn't work to just include the single issue where he stabs Elektra, or the one where Daredevil gets his revenge, you gotta have the full story to get the full effect, and even then, you're missing out on something.

As a comedian, I do whats called a “call back” quite often. Recurring jokes and running gags or just a reference to something that happened previously. Comic books do the same. It used to not be like that, if a villain or a bad guy came back after his first apperance, it was a big deal. Now with everything having to have toyality and mass market appeal, guys like The Enforcers will never show up again. Thats why comic book death syndrome happens so often. We just can't let go for some reason. And its a great dramatic tool to have guys who were dead for two or three years suddenly show back up again. Now with post-modernism and the sarcasticly indifferent emo generation, everything has to be self deprciating, so you'll see Wolverine say things like “caps been dead before, who cares” and some of the worst character redesigns ever like Penance. And to think, I used to love the New Warriors in the early 90s. Like anyone whose not reading Civil War would get that, but if you're reading any marvel comic you'll have had Civil War (or planet hulk, annhilation, or any of the fallouts of those serieses) shoved up your ass. Its like heroes can't just exist without being part of a major crossoever “serious” even thats going to change the status quo. If the status quo is to constantly be changing the status quo every year, what the fuck is the point in even attempting for normalcy. Why can't bad guys show up, have spider-man beat them, and be done with it. Its because they know we're more mature audiances than those that watch villain-of-the-week tv shows like Power Rangers or so many awful animes. At least, I'd like to hope we're not, I know I ain't. I'd rather have longer stories where Wolverine tracks down a bad guy and messes him up, then have fallout throughout the next few issues of him questioning if what he did was right or wrong. Or stories where the Punisher does the same, but then doesn't question himself, only slips farther into the homicidal delusion he's built for himself. That sort of stuffs cool to me, more so than Batman having his memories erased or continuity being literally punched. Just a few more thoughts from the creator of penis.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:52PM
Neilak20 at 2:34PM, July 22, 2007
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I am very frustraited with the Zuda site. So, I dont think I like it at all.
They have a post card thing, which at first I thought “wow, thats a great promotional deal there! wonderful idea”.
However, they have:
1) No way to get the postcards from the site.
2) No where listed to mail postcards to.
3) Only postcard posted was drawn by one of their employees.

I think its not a good idea to run that kinda contest and not have it be readily available to enter via the internet, ESPECIALLY since they're trying to catch the eye of webcomic artists.

I dont like the restrictions of a 4:3 image ratio only.

Their site also reads strange. They keep declareing how awsome they are, which immediately makes them seem conceited to me.

I think they shoulda looked around to some webcomic sites, read some comics, gotten to know the communities and then fashioned their site or what-not. It just seems to me that they're currently fish out of water who've never really been on the internet before.

Sorry I ramble, just frustraited right now. T_T I wasnt able to sign up on their forum to suggest anything like “what's your mailing address?” or “is it ok if I make a bootleg postcard since you dont have any available from your site?”

*Grumbles*
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:10PM
marine at 9:44PM, July 22, 2007
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I've changed my mind. Its not right to be so full of hate. Theres room for competition with Modern Tales and other pay-to-read comic services that host paid web comics.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:52PM
SteveMyers22 at 12:34AM, July 23, 2007
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Neilak20
Sorry I ramble, just frustraited right now. T_T I wasnt able to sign up on their forum to suggest anything like “what's your mailing address?” or “is it ok if I make a bootleg postcard since you dont have any available from your site?”

*Grumbles*

Don't apologize. Most of your gripes are legitimate.

:)

The postcard thing … I too have no idea how to acquire one to send in, since I'm not going to be at San Diego.

But I can help you with the forum issue. Their FORUMS are part of DC's official message boards. They have their own little category there. So to sign up and ask them questions, all you have to do is go to the DC main site and click on the MESSAGE BOARDS link and then register with those boards and then post in the Zuda category. Ron Perazza is the person that's made all of their official posts in that forum thus far. He's answered a few questions. It's kind of hit or miss.

The Zuda site itself only lets you sign up for their mailing list. So I can see how that's not all that clear. They need to maybe be a bit more overt in making that distinction on their site.

The attitude they display, I just figured was their marketing ploy. They're trying to get peoples' attention I guess. I try to ignore it and just cut down to the actual information.

last edited on July 14, 2011 3:58PM
Neilak20 at 8:18AM, July 23, 2007
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I tried signing up on their main DC WB forum thing and after I filled out the first page, it asked me to create a password and pick a security hint and then I got an error page.
I'm just not gonna bother with their site, it made me feel like rawr.

I do hope they get it running a bit smoother, it is a neat concept and all. I figure they just need more experiance on the web before they can know what a true webcomics Community really is.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:10PM
kingofsnake at 8:22AM, July 23, 2007
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Neilak20
I am very frustraited with the Zuda site. So, I dont think I like it at all…
I think they shoulda looked around to some webcomic sites, read some comics, gotten to know the communities and then fashioned their site or what-not. It just seems to me that they're currently fish out of water who've never really been on the internet before.

To be fair, they're not really “up and running” yet. The current page is just like a “coming soon” page.

Their site also reads strange. They keep declareing how awsome they are, which immediately makes them seem conceited to me.

To me they seem more like that kid that follows you around and wants to be you're friend, but he's just so freaking annoying. Like “come on guys, I'm awesome. Really!”
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
Neilak20 at 2:45PM, July 23, 2007
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KingofSnake, those are both good points.
Perhaps eventually they'll have a good community built, and DD can be their good natured Rivals ^_^ There could be some really nifty marketing things with a rivalry like that.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:10PM

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