As we reported last week, Kickstarter was looking to layoff as much as 40-45% of its staff in the wake of COVID-19 uncertainties. Sadly, comics outreach lead Camilla Zhang was among those laid off, as she posted on Facebook and Twitter.
Zhang previously worked at DC, Mad Cave and many other places and while she may (if we’re lucky) get rehired at Kickstarter, I’m sure she’ll end up somewhere else in comics if that doesn’t happen. A tireless presence promoting comics, Zhang just launch the Kickstarter comics anthology a few days ago, and hasn’t stopped tweeting about notable comics campaigns, because she’s just that positive!
OMFG! STEVE RUDE HAS A KICKSTARTER!!! I worked with him back in my days on Before Watchmen for the Dollar Bill one-shot!! LOVE LOVE LOVE that guy. He's such a master. Creates gorgeous work. Support his campaign y'all!! https://t.co/6LO7xiqA1a
— Candor Cam (@illathekilla) May 12, 2020
Unfortunately, Zhang’s departure led to a new and tedious phase of Twitter culture wars with the Indiegogo faction claiming victory over KS. This has been a constant little drumbeat of late, and, in truth, it would be useful to compare the two platforms. However, while Kickstarter is extremely transparent about their numbers – comics campaigns have raised $111.6 million on the platform – Indiegogo is extremely NON transparent.
Zhang – and her boss Margot Atwell – were/are highly visible resources for creators and campaigns, attending many conventions and festivals and frequently quoted and interviewed. By contrast, there is no comparable figure inside Indiegogo to put their comics fundraising in perspective. There is no denying that IGG has become a more and more important source of funding for comics projects of many kinds, but it hasn’t lent itself to independent analysis yet — and thus far that seems to be a feature not a bug.
It’s also notable that while many people (sadly) were laid off at Kickstarter, Zhang is the only one whose departure was news, a testament to the community she helped build.
Anyway, even in these uncertain times, I’m sure Zhang will land on her feet and we wish her all the best.