by Serhend Sirkecioglu
Is this a potentially workable pay model for web comics?!
OK, personally for me, Zombies officially went passe the moment Robert Kirkman appeared on The View, but that’s not deterring people from overdoing it. This web comic, I’ll let it slide ’cause it did more with the tired formula.
Zombies Eat Republicans uses a scrolling format but where The First Word stops, ZER takes it further by incorporating sound and music (although looping, which can become annoying) and having the panels slide into place instead of being a static layout, making the read much more active. The comic employs a dragging command to move the story along; though the arrow keys are available, I suggest the mouse or touch for more control.
Its a typical campy zombie-pocalpyse read, and a grain of salt is recommended, which begs the question, why is it that these people who are capable of producing these forward looking comics don’t try to get much higher caliber and/or memorable cartoonists?
On top of making a well executed scroll comic—although the art tends towards the stiff—they have a pay-for-update subscription model, which I think is for some is blasphemy, since free is the golden price for comics online. But this is a unique approach and they’re trying to make it as much of an incentive by offering exclusives like wallpapers and a print version of the comic when its completed.
I’m a bit torn. It’s much more up front saying “if you like my work then you would not mind paying to see more of it” and better than a donation button—which, personally as an artist, is digital pan handling—but could also be a plus for book sales as to get people to essentially pre-order the book and read it online and then get the physical copy.
For instance: a good way would be paying for the digital installments of, say, King City for, let’s say, $1 per chapter. Your subscription to the digital copy would count toward a discount for the tangible copy. But it could also lead to the ridiculousness of pre-order bonuses where the publishers charge $99 for “Batman: Year One: Glossy DVD Cover Deluxe Edition” and you get not only the digital copy but other useless nick-nacks to jack up the price and getting the online version is now a high end premium.
This pay model is a hazy one for me, but it’s going to be attempted more down the road until a standard price point is established. I hope this hypothetical price point is established among cartoonists and not a publisher. So what do you think of this subscription approach and what it can lead to for better or worse? [Also note, the first portion of the comic can only be read once until they start pestering you to subscribe…so let’s hope that practice does not pick up.]
[Serhend Sirkecioglu is a cartoonist studying at the School of Visual Arts. The opinos expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of The Beat.]
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.