Kalashnicod (heykidzcomix) wrote,

Why I think Zuda Comics is a misstep, even though we know basically nothing about it

I was thinking about it, and having read a few more of the interviews, I have some real misgivings about the venture, which I will share with you now because it's too hot to draw pointy dogs:

1. The rights issue. As a creator I have no interest in busting my ass to give Time Warner something to which to sell the toy rights, and while it's not entirely clear that that's the impetus behind the line, something about the whole thing doesn't seem right. Maybe it's the fact that the guys in charge keep assuring us that everything is on the up and up and totally transparent, all while giving out information that only serves to cloud the issue. When someone swears you can trust them, that's when you check your wallet. I'd actually considered one of my projects for this thing, but since it's looking like this is just a way for them to get cheap movie fuel, I think I'll pass unless I see an acceptable contract. I know I'm just some loser with more ambition than talent, and this isn't my baby, and ideas are a dime a dozen anyway, but you know what? There are many others like it, but this one is mine.

2. Web 2.0? Really?

3. We already have an online IP farm--it's called Platinum Studios. And it strips credits off of people's work. I really don't think we need two, do we?

4. DC Comics is committed to quality, and its webcomics will differ from all others because they will be Good. Leaving aside that catty backhand and the fact that popular in no way equals good, I'd just like to remind everybody that DC Comics saw no problem with this.

5. The rollout schedule sounds pretty ghastly, and I think this might actually be the kiss of death for the site. They're not starting with a lineup of established comics that already have an audience--they're not even starting out with a lineup of comics. They're counting on what, a contest and then a single comic to carry the site for a month? What's going to draw the people who don't like that comic (and let's face it, with 9 losing competitors that's more likely than not going to be way more than half your initial audience) to the site for that month? What if the winner is yet another pallid superteam--are non-superhero fans even going to bother coming back to the site the next month, since the first winner sets the tone?

6. The superhero thing brings me to the final point, and this is the one thing that genuinely puzzles me. Though it's been trying to branch out for years, DC does one thing very well (well, "well"): superheroes. They have a vast library of IP already, spanning every fevered dream of 70 years of collected nerddom. Why wouldn't they want to capitalize on that to some degree to try to drive sales to their current line? I don't mean posting old comics online (though that'd be fine), but using these old concepts and revitalizing them to see what might stick. Superheroes are mired in hateful continuity porn, but they don't have to be, and this would be an easy way to actually build an audience for your principal line that bypasses the expense and general pain-in-the-assedness of finding comics. If ever there was a low-risk home for Tintin Pantoja's Wonder Woman (or even Gingold Mystery Playhouse, tee hee) this would be it. The fact that they're not doing this--that instead of leveraging their assets they're relying on untested and unproven creators and concepts to get this thing on its feet--doesn't make much sense to me. Not that they should rely entirely on reworked superheroes, of course, but they're making it a lot harder for themselves than it has to be. Even though their motives seem to be to develop new IP to then exploit the Hell out of, it's a lot easier to develop that IP if it's right next to something people already like. There's a reason they put new TV shows on after really popular ones, after all.

Also, the name is silly. Zuda! I think I stabbed them in the face last night in Twilight Princess.

Edit: As I was reading this, TMBG's "Hey, Mr. DJ, I Thought You Said We Had A Deal came up on iTunes, and that was just too perfect for me to resist adding on:

NRAMA: A large push towards finding creators is going to be starting at San Diego this year. You’re at the DC booth for a lot of the convention, you’re pretty easy to spot – if a creator would come up to you and say they’re thinking of submitting to Zuda, but they’re unsure about the benefits – what would you tell them?

PL: I think the Zuda model works if the kind of story you want to tell is best told on the web, if it can connect to the audience best in that form, rather than in any of the regular print formats. And if you think it makes more sense to work with a publisher partner than to try and build the thing in your basement.

What's the matter? Don't you WANT to be pretty?
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