DSTLRY is here.
Since Comixology was folded into Amazon last year, and founder David Steinberger left the company, many have seen him and former Comixology executive Chip Mosher hanging out together quite a bit. Many surmised they were working on a new thing and today we learned what that new thing is: DSTLRY, a new comics publisher that brings together an innovative relationship with creators, and a “StubHub-Style Resellable Digital Marketplace.”
What now? We’ll have an interview with co-founder Steinberger and Mosher later today that reveals much more but here’s the basics:
DSTLRY will offer Founding Creators an equity stake in the company, and customers limited physical and digital item drops, all resellable on dstlry.co. It’s what Steinberger and Mosher hope is a vision for a more modern and ethical industry, embracing drop-culture with digital releases while giving creators fair compensation and participation in the company.
Mosher and Steinberger feel that “Comic creators have historically received the short end of the stick when they create great characters and storylines for traditional publishers. DSTLRY is truly a creator-owned endeavor, with creators co-owning the company their creations fuel. It just makes sense that as creators help build the brand, they receive equity.”
The line-up of Founding Creators is loaded: Scott Snyder (Batman, Wytches), Tula Lotay (Barnstormers), James Tynion IV (Something Is Killing the Children, The Joker War), Junko Mizuno (Pure Trance, Ravina the Witch?), Ram V (Detective Comics, The Many Deaths of Laila Starr), Mirka Andolfo (Sweet Paprika, Mercy), Joëlle Jones (Lady Killer, Catwoman), Jock (Batman: One Dark Knight, Wytches), Becky Cloonan (Wonder Woman, Batgirls), Brian Azzarello (100 Bullets, Joker), Elsa Charretier (Love Everlasting, November), Stephanie Phillips (Grim, Harley Quinn), Lee Garbett (Spider-Man, Skyward), Marc Bernardin (Adora and the Distance, Star Trek: Picard), Jamie McKelvie (The Wicked + The Divine, Captain Carter), and Founding Editor Will Dennis (Y: The Last Man, Snow Angels).
Each “Founding Creator” will hold an equity stake in the company, and an additional 3% of DSTLRY’s company equity will be distributed among all creators who release projects during the first three years of DSTLRY’s publishing slate, with money allocated based on title performance.
The company also launches with an international line-up of investors including Kodansha USA and Groupe Delcourt, as well as video game exec John Schappert, tech strategist Mike Vorhaus, and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers). Schappert, Vorhaus and di Bonaventura will serve as DSTLRY’s Advisory Board.
“Chip and David have a rare pairing of skills, the ability to recognize true artistry and the technological wherewithal to elevate it,” said di Bonaventura. “Artistic growth is spurred when its creators are nurtured and properly compensated for their achievements. This new system and its shared equity model will provide an invigorating environment which will foster great storytelling.”
Unlike Comixology, DSTLRY will launch with oversized 48-page issues in both print and digital, distributed to comics shops in the usual way. Collected editions will be widely available in print and digital.
That much is like a traditional publisher. But DSTLRY is adding what they bill as “a Stub Hub for digital comics.” Digital drops of individual issues will come with various benefits – special discounts, exclusive drops, and meetups with the creators – and while they are NOT NFTs they will be fully ownable and resellable. Owners will be able to resell their items on the DSTLRY marketplace. Although they can set their own price, a percentage of resale goes back to the creators. Physical issues will be limited-edition collectibles in the traditional sense.
The actual line-up of titles and more information will be revealed later this year. And we’ll have a more in-depth interview with Mosher and Steinberger later today, because we’re sure you have lots of questions.
Meanwhile, founding creators had a lot to say – and their comments reflect the idea that the time has come for a new way to set up a comics company, one that treats creators more fairly and builds on modern technology.
Mirka Andolfo: Having produced comics from both Europe and America, DSTLRY excited me with a solution that redefines digital distribution, collecting, and sales in a way that could profoundly disrupt the global comics market. When David and Chip first talked to me about the company (it was just an idea, at that point), I was hooked by their vision, which is now our vision. I can’t say how proud I feel to be among such big names, with my fellow founding creators!
Brian Azzarello: These are exciting times for our medium, and it’s thrilling to be on the cutting edge. As most comic readers know, it’s where I do my best work.
Marc Bernardin: Life is too short to make comics with people you don’t like. I had the most wonderful time working with Chip and David on Adora and the Distance and Census, so when they told me they were launching a new publishing company—one that would feel different from every other and incentivize creators to do their best work—I jumped at the chance to hop aboard. I’m excited to see how it all comes together!
Elsa Charretier: I’m incredibly excited to join DSTLRY and be a part of what might very well be a revolution in creator-owned comics. David, Chip, and the team have an outstanding track record when it comes to bringing a breath of fresh air to our industry, and I couldn’t be happier to tag along.
Becky Cloonan: My heart has always been in creator-owned comics, and this bold new opportunity celebrates the medium while keeping its eye on the future of sequential storytelling. Me and my collaborators are cooking up something ambitious and winding and dark—a story that feels right at home with DSTLRY.
Lee Garbett: Having produced comics for both the big two superhero publishers as well as the creator-owned staples, I’m ecstatic to be a part of the next era of comics. DSTLRY is forward-thinking, sustainable, and ambitious in ways the industry has yet to witness. Stay tuned. Exciting times ahead!
Jock: I’m hugely excited to be working with a publisher as aggressive and progressive as DSTLRY. It’s no surprise that the team that heralded comiXology is approaching digital collectibles ethically and smartly in a way that should grow the comics market, while still embracing our local comic stores. Chip and David have created something special here and I can’t wait to share what we have coming up!
Joëlle Jones: I started my career in creator-owned comics and it was hard to resist returning after discovering DSTLRY. The new strides in digital and creator-owned incentives immediately grabbed my attention. I can’t wait to show you the next-level comics we’re crafting.
Tula Lotay: I’m so excited to be part of this new chapter in comics. I can’t believe I’m among such great talents. It feels like the beginning of something very special.
Jamie McKelvie: I’m really excited to be working with DSTLRY to move comics in an entirely new direction, and honored to be among the founding lineup that features some of the best creators in the industry. Chip and David have created something unique with DSTLRY and I can’t wait to see where we all take it.
Stephanie Phillips: I’m very excited to be working with DSTLRY to bring new stories to life alongside a host of incredible creatives. Chip and David are committed to finding new ways to engage readers through print and digital comics, while also supporting creatives and allowing us to tell the best stories we can. I can’t wait for readers to see what’s to come from DSTLRY…
Scott Snyder: I’m truly thrilled and honored to be a part of the launch of DSTLRY! I’ve been in comics for a decade and a half and I’ve never been more excited about an opportunity than this one. DSTLRY’s commitment to creators is unparalleled, from the creative to the fiscal, which is why they’ve attracted such an inspiring murderer’s row of talent. Bottom line, this is the best new space in comics for creators, and I can’t wait for you all to see the books we’re all making for you.
James Tynion IV: What excited me most about my conversations with Chip and David was their creative ambition. I had a whole line of titles in my head that I knew I couldn’t do alone, and now I can do them bigger and better than I had ever imagined, alongside a truly stellar roster of creators. I’m very excited about what the future holds for DSTLRY, and more than that, I’m excited to bring these new titles to life.
Ram V: I’m very excited to be creating new stories at DSTLRY alongside some incredible creative talents. Chip and David are bringing a modern, innovative approach to comics publishing in the creator-owned space—one that is supportive of my ambitions as a writer/creator/storyteller while bringing forth exciting ideas in terms of a new digital playground for readers. I’m looking forward to telling these new stories and I cannot wait to see the new ideas DSTLRY fosters among both its creators and its readers!
Founding Editor Will Dennis: I’ve based my entire editorial career on bringing together the best talent and helping them to do what they do best, so joining up with Chip and David seemed like the natural culmination of that ethos. They are building an incredibly innovative company where creators can really have fun making the comics they want to make, and I couldn’t be more excited about the amazing projects we have cooking. Watch this space!
How are they not NFTs? “Digital item drops?” So, are they going to use a hackable centralized database instead of a decentralized blockchain? Why? This is EXACTLY what NFTs are made for.
and distribution via regular channels as well. So folks like me (overseas) can get all excited as well. YAY!!!
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