Zuda – It’s not just DC Comics’ new webcomic portal, it’s also The Word That’s Sweeping The Nation! Why, here’s Richard Bruning right now to talk about why it took DC so long to make a move into the webcomic arena:
A lot of times, in all honesty, DC has never been the kind of company to jump on a bandwagon just because we saw one pulling out of the gate. Sometimes we’re frustrated that we didn’t, and other times we realize that we were pretty smart by holding back.
And here’s Paul Levitz also thinking about timing:
Should we have done this a year earlier? Three years earlier? Maybe. I think there is certainly not a well-developed stage or platform for the typical creator to perform on, and I don’t think there should be one platform. I don’t think we’ll supply the only one out there. The fact that there are guys that have succeeded with this is terrific, because it demonstrates that the model can work.
I certainly think that DC’s not always the first to move in the industry. We like to move when there’s a clear opportunity, and when we’re convinced we’re bringing something to the table.
Or, perhaps, take something from the table… The uncertain nature of who’d hold the rights to work published on Zuda was a common theme in a lot of discussion about the subject online this week, something that Scott McCloud managed to put succinctly in the mothership’s round-up of webcomic creators’ commentary:
What might spring to mind to some people, including me, is ‘Venus Flytrap’. It’s really all just speculation at this point, not knowing what the exact deal is. It all depends on the deal they offer creators. I’m wary of how much control and/or ownership over each comic DC might expect in return for “publishing” them.
So, what we’ve learned from this exercise so far is that DC is slow to move on certain things because of caution, shouldn’t be expected to be innovative, and is the subject of a lot of suspicion concerning the rights of its creations and creators. I think that seems about right, don’t you?
If you wondered what the more traditional, print and superhero, arm of DC was up to this week, then the answer was “pretty much keeping up with the Countdown Express” – Well, somebody has to, I guess – with interviews with Sean McKeever on The Search For Ray Palmer, McKeever again on taking over the Teen Titans book, his Countdown bunkmate Tony Bedard on resurrecting Batman and The Outsiders and in some strange cosmic balance thing, Jim Starlin on the killing off the New Gods.
You know, maybe it’s that kind of storytelling that leads to DC falling even further behind Marvel in June’s sales chart, released on Friday. But if that falls under the heading of “News You Probably Saw Coming,” then it’s doubtful that this did: Rob Liefeld is back at Image doing Youngblood all over again. No, really:
I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I am that Youngblood is back home where it all started…This is all extremely exciting working with Eric, Erik, Joe, and the gang at Image Comics. It was a long and winding road getting back here but there is no place that me and these characters would rather be!
Somehow, I’m not sure that I believe him about that last point.
(Meanwhile, Marvel celebrated their lead over DC in the sales chart – or was it celebrating seeing Image saddled with Liefeld again? I lose track – by presenting Axel Alonso explaining the point of Marvel MAX – “The MAX imprint is our ‘mature readers’ imprint, simple as that. Stories for adults, not children. It’s about to expand, meaning we’ve been given the green-light to do lots more titles. We’re looking at it as an actual line now, with room for virtually all types of genres — crime, horror, war, western, science fiction and fantasy — and hybrids of any of the above. Oh, and kung fu.” – and then giving new-to-Marvel writer Gregg Hurwitz a chance to talk about his new MAX title Foolkiller. As if to suggest that Marvel is becoming a company with more variety, the other main Marvel story on the main site this week was an interview with Roy Thomas about the Marvel Illustrated line of classic book adaptations. It’s not just Skrull invasions over at the House of Ideas these days, apparently.)
Elsewhere, San Diego loomed large in our thoughts. The four-day Comic-Con pass sold out for the first time in history, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund announced that they were holding a gala benefit at SDCC, with special guest Laurell Hamilton. Personally, I think that Hamilton’s involvement was what prompted Jim Lee to ask the industry to help CBLDF, but that may just be me leaping to conclusions.
One of the good things about San Diego being so close is that the lack of big news from the Big Two – well, aside from major webcomics imprints and sites being set up and all – means that the indies get more sunshine on the mothership. This week, for example, sawa roundtable from creators involved in the fourth Flight collection, Dwight McPherson talk about The Surreal Adventures of Edgar Allen Poo (which was once a webcomic! Topical!), Michael Cavallero on Parade (With Fireworks) (also once a webcomic! Also topical!), Danielle Corsetto on being a successful webcartoonist (Her Girls With Slingshots having survived a run-in with Bill Jemas, therefore making it not only topical but arguably invincible), Jeremy Haun making his writing debut on Narcoleptic Sunday, and a three part preview of Scott Sava’s Pet Robots. And, even though I’m not sure if Dynamite really counts as an indie or not, I’m still happy enough to congratulate Jimmy Palmiotti on his TV-writing debut with last Friday’s episode of Painkiller Jane (based, of course, on his own comic character) and Christos Gage on landing the writing gig on new MGM franchise The Man With No Name.
Who knows. Maybe if they get lucky, they could end up with something seeing print on zudacomics.com.