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.]


  1. @ Anon

    The content reminds me of DC’s misguided attempt a couple of years ago to alienate readers by adding politics to its characters.

    But really, I suppose, who could understand high level political, economic, and social issues better than the cartoonists who are the real backbone of our society?

  2. Your not F__ing them off, your saying to them “by paying for access to my comic you are paying for the production of a printed version of that comic and will pay less when it comes out for your support.” Paying for an incomplete product is not far-fetched, have you ever heard of Minecraft?

  3. Yeah, why do I get the suspicion that if this were “Zombies eat [any other group]” than half of every article about the project would be about how hateful and prejudiced the concept is.

    If it was “Zombies eat Democrats”, then there’d be a lot of speculation that the creators must be Tea Party people and/or racists.

    But in comics like in most other entertainment it seems fine to take as many shots at Republicans as possible. Christians are another safe target. We can have as many cracked pseudo-Christian white villains as possible, but if there’s one black or Latino gang member, or one extremist Muslim terrorist, then the creators must be racist. That’s how online discussions seem to go.

    It’s not that I’m a Republican, or a Christian. I’m neither, and I have a lot of problems and disagreements with them. And it’s not that I’ve got a problem with the artistic license to have a comic like this. It’s all free speech. But what’s dismaying is the matter-of-factness in which Republicans/Christians are targeted in so many different entertainment media. And few “impartial” observers seem to care or even notice.

  4. Why don’t more online comics try and use a kickstarter-like pay method? The comic could be viewed for free during production, and those that chip in at varying levels receive discounts on the print version, free print versions, and other extras.

  5. Yes, white, Republican, Christians are the real downtrodden in our society.

    Sheesh. Look, Chrisrian white guys rule the world, for that they take some Internet ribbing. I know it’s a new sensation, but get used to it, because the alternative is torches and pitchforks.

  6. I see people are more interested in talking about the premise then the pay model they r using. any thoughts on that? rethinking it i feel there’s more good than bad to it now, im no longer on the fence about so long as it does not get out of hand like i mentioned with whats going on the game industry and special edition Pre-orders and such. im going to put my money where my mouth is and try this out myself…after I graduate and have something to post periodically.

  7. “There’s a lot of white Christians and/or Republicans and, even though we have free elections, they somehow ‘rule’ the world so it’s okay to be bigoted against them even though we preach how we need diverse ideas and beliefs.”

    Do people like Cheese who basically say this even listen to themselves? Do they even have enough self-awareness to?

    Either you’re against ignorance based intolerance in all forms or just come out and admit you don’t believe in that anymore and admit you hate certain groups of people. You can’t have it both ways.

  8. Well… this does sound like some kinda bullcrap trickle down Reaganomics… so I guess the pricing is rather fitting.

  9. oh and @ Johnny Memeonic and Cheese

    It’s not like these Republican idiots are even decent Christians anyway. If you apply Christ’s teachings to government, you’d get a nanny state taking care of the poor more left than the Democrats. Not that I think Christians need to advocate such, but most Reps say they want Christian values in government. They are hypocrites saying they want to instill Christ’s teachings, never mind the hypocrisy when they say they want government out of people’s lives while encouraging wars and big brother government like Homeland Security and the DEA.

  10. “Either you’re against ignorance based intolerance in all forms or just come out and admit you don’t believe in that anymore and admit you hate certain groups of people. You can’t have it both ways.”

    Is it ignorant to say the game is fixed for rich, white, christian men or is it ignorant to deny it is?

  11. Well it’s clearly the people who get uppity against the rich white conservative christian men who are the -true- racists! Duh!

  12. Johnny Memeonic: Thanks for saying it so well. Obviously these guys DO lack an evolved sense of social awareness. Doesn’t surprise me at all, as the word “tolerance” has been co-opted to promotes a rather specific (and yes, liberal/progressive) agenda. This has hit the extreme so much so that the word is now (among enlightened — and by that I mean smarter — people) achieving a remarkable level of irony.

    I cannot imagine that one of you “tolerant people” would defend this if it were called “Zombies Eat Faggots” or “Zombies Eat Muslims.”

    Now, here’s an exercise: Read those phrases, then pause… find your level of outrage and now consider WHY you think it’s wrong to target homosexuals or members of one of the largest religions on the planet. Is it because you view these people as misunderstood, downtrodden, oppressed, or they are minorities? Or is it because you think it’s wrong to single out ANY group for ridicule?

    If it’s the former, then you’re a type of bigot. If it’s the latter, you’re an enlightened, truly caring person.

  13. Moving on to the actual story at hand: Hmmmm. This looks kind of interesting…

    “An up-an-coming idealistic, conservative Republican press secretary from San Diego gets a crash course in survival when the presidental campaign trail takes a sudden expected turn as he discovers everything he thought he knew about party loyalty and social ties comes into question as he tries to save the country from a zombie attack and potential nuclear annihilation.” (from their Website)

    So, the politics are part of the storyline, which actually makes it seem topical now, but could make it feel dated after November. Then you’ve got the “scrolling mechanic,” which is apparently set up for smart phones. I typically prefer page layouts because they offer more flexibility than you get with a screen layout, but I think they might be on to something. After all, if they are planning to sell this mostly online and to smart phones,then formatting the material to that screen size is pure genius.

    Pricing: Hmmmm. I do wonder if this will work. I can imagine that it might sell better if it were some sort of iTunes subscription (do they have those? I don’t actually use iTunes). Another “app” just fragments the pricing model and content channels. But offering a printed book with the full subscription for only $20 is interesting.

    I definitely think this is something I’m going to keep my eye on to see how it plays out.

  14. Isn’t “memorable cartoonist” relative? I would like to see your work Serhand so I can gauge your expertise in the matter. If your work is sound and the theory behind it works then fine. But, if your aesthetic is flawed or incoherent then you’re full of it, or yourself.

  15. @Ilongo I would gladly show my work(follow the link on my name which is spelled Serhend not Serhand), but your evaluation is as opinionated as my mine. Criticism has nothing to do with technical/aesthetic ability aside from discerning “good” and/or “bad” technical and aesthetic ability. Tell me why is it that your expertise instantly has more weight than mine cause you disagree with me?

    To why I said the work was not memorable, recalling that comic to people required me to literally go back not out adoration of the art or writing(though the writing kept me interested) but because my brain had no reason to retain it. I’ve seen art like this in other comics, over-photo referenced and photoshopped to where its not worth remembering. I’m going to come across again and i will not feel either way about it. sry if offended you , but I was more interested in its pay model than its content, which I hope gets off the ground.

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