Friday afternoon news dump as Zuda Comics, DC’s webcomic imprint, makes it official that they are leaving their competition format behind. VP of Creative Services, Ron Perazza, who has spearheaded the imprint since its inception three years ago, blogs that the competition system — in which several web strips vie each month for the majority of a popular vote — has “had its ups and downs”, Perazza admits, resulting in some of the best series getting abandoned after 8 screens:
The format absolutely has merits; engaging the community and giving them real decision making power, giving creators a level of exposure that they might not have otherwise had and encouraging an ongoing dialogue about storytelling, quality and what makes good comics. However it’s also had its shortcomings; accusations of cheating, confusion about the process, spamming in the the name of promotion and argumentative, dismissive or even aggressive behavior.
Is there a better way to achieve the former without having to endure or encourage the latter? I think so. The comic industry needs a steady influx of new creators and new ideas. We should consistently explore the medium, looking for new ways to tell great stories. I think that if we, as a company, are committed to those goals we would be foolish not to pursue them.
In our humble opinion, the move to install editorial mandate over popular choice is a sound move. Many of the Zuda winners we saw tended to fall into the “Wild ‘n crazy action humor” genre — if that is even a genre — and had more nerd-appeal than staying power. Instilling a bit more quality control should up the entire’s line’s profile.
Speaking of Zuda, its latest print collection, Celadore, by Canaan Grall, is coming out this fall, according to Amazon. So the web-to-print model is working. After this move, we’d expect to see it working even more.
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.