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Dean Haspiel’s Street Code goes digital

street.code

Back when Zuda, DC’s webcomics contest site, was still kinda fresh and new, Dean Haspiel pitched a couple of comics and the editors picked his semi-autobiographical Street Code as an instant winner. Haspiel, as he himself points out in the Zuda blog, shows his work in a lot of venues, most notably online as a founder of the Act-I-Vate webcomics collective. But when Zuda folded its tent, rather abruptly, a few months ago, the comics hosted there were left homeless.

Now Street Code has joined the migration of Zuda comics to the ComiXology platform. As Haspiel says in his blog post, “my stuff tends to serpentine around what’s popular for general comic book audiences,” but he draws an interesting analogy as to why ComiXology is a good fit:

if Vertigo, my bread and butter publisher the last few years, has been dubbed “the HBO of comics,” then I posit that Zuda is “the IFC of comics,” where, like ACT-I-VATE, alternative concepts are refined online with the distinct intent to expose and develop fresh voices that could otherwise be lost in the gutters.

An interesting theory, although it may be hard for Zuda to keep an independent identity when its comics are simply lumped in with all the others at ComiXology.


Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

"Bayou," from Zuda

"Bayou," from Zuda

Publishing | David Harper gathers reactions from a handful of Zuda creators to the closing of the website and the continuation of select titles through comiXology and the PlayStation Network. Chris Bolton, Sean Kleefeld, Crash Landen and Rich Lovatt have commentary. “From my vantage point,” Kleefeld writes, “the split between DC and Zuda (emotionally and philosophically) was about the same as can be seen between newspaper cartoonists and webcomic creators. There were these old school print guys who, for the life of them, could not wrap their head around free digital comic distribution.” [Zuda Comics]

Publishing | At Anime Expo in Los Angeles, Digital Manga Publishing announced it has acquired 10 new licenses. In addition, Wedding Peach artist Nao Yazawa will create a new series specifically for DMP’s eManga website. [Anime News Network]

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Zudacomics.com: RIP, 2007-2010

End of the Road

End of the Road

DC Comics sent out a press release today saying that they are shutting down the Zuda Comics website and will offer some of the titles from the imprint on the iPad and the PSP through their recently announced digital initiative. The site is still live as I type this, ironically sporting an ad for the Zuda Comic End of the Road, but the release says it won’t last the day.

(Update: it looks like the site is now being redirected to the Zuda blog).

The move comes a couple of months after Zuda announced they’d be ending their monthly competitions and moving to a different submissions model. Zuda chief Ron Perazza adds a bit more detail at the Zuda blog (which will live on):

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Talking Comics with Tim: Kevin Colden

I Rule the Night

I Rule the Night

When this interview first began with Kevin Colden, his Zuda (Mature Content) project, I Rule the Night (ITRN), had been on hiatus for around 10 months. So the initial round of our email discussion focused on his non-IRTN projects, including his two upcoming IDW projects (Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper and Grimm’s Fairy Tales) as well as the recent Seth Kushner-directed music video that he was part of with his band, Heads Up Display (Colden is the band’s drummer). But fortunately (for fans of ITRN and for the sake of this interview) ITRN came out off of hiatus and hit the Internet metaphorical ground running. My thanks to Colden for two rounds of an interview.

Tim O’Shea: Was Zuda waiting for the big transition (dropping the monthly competition) until they brought back I Rule the Night (ITRN)? How agonizing has it been waiting for the news to drop?

Kevin Colden: We had originally planned to bring back I Rule the Night as the first mature readers series, but needed to wait until we got the mature filter in place. It was in the works for a long time, and got caught up in changes at DC that had nothing directly to do with Zuda per se. It just so happened that everything came together at the same time. I wouldn’t say the wait was agonizing for me so much as inconvenient for the readers. Time flies in my world, so I only noticed when I looked at the calendar. The bright side is that now there’s less of a wait to read it.

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Zudist Colony finale: Previous winners discuss the end of Zuda’s monthly contests

zuda-comicsWith Zuda announcing late last week that they were ending their monthly webcomics competitions, I thought I’d reach out to some of the contest’s previous participants to see what they thought of the change. I heard back from several of them — some simply responded, while others agreed to answer a few questions (hence the difference in responses below).

Those who responded include:

And here’s what they had to say ….

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What are you reading?

Greendale

Greendale

Happy day-after-Free Comic Book Day to everyone, and welcome to another edition of What are you reading? Our guest this week is Rick Marshall, editor of MTV’s Splash Page blog. To see what Rick and the rest of the Robot 6 crew have been reading this week, read on …

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Get rid of your shelf porn!

Zito's great giveaway

Zito's great giveaway

Zuda cartoonists Johnny Zito and Tony Trov emailed me yesterday to let me (and presumably, everyone else) know that they recently donated their entire comic book collections to RiF, better known as Reading is Fundamental. “That’s how committed to the digital revolution we are,” Zito wrote.

Zito added that the roughly 10,000 comics they donated to the organization’s after school programs around the country.  “This promotes literacy and hopefully expands the comic book reading audience to a new generation,” he said.

The really good news is that RiF will be accepting donations for the rest of the school year and possibly onward as Zito and Trov look to make this a permanent operation. In the meantime, interested parties can send their comic book donations to:

Beth Pettit
RiF Comic Book Donation Drive
St. Aloysius Education Clinic
219 West 132nd Street
New York, NY 10027

So if you got an underread (and age-appropriate) graphic novel gathering dust on your shelves, now you know where to send it to.


Zudist Colony for January 2010

zudaWelcome once again to our monthly Zudist Colony column, where we interview all of the competitors in the Zuda Comics monthly contest. Or at least those who choose to respond, anyway.

Many thanks to Brigid Alverson, who pitched in on last month’s column. And thanks as well to the folks at Zuda and DC Comics, who help make this column possible each month.

If you’ve been to the Zuda home page today, you might have noticed that there are only nine competitors listed. It turns out that today the first-place Thunderchickens pulled out of the competition. I went ahead and included their answers at the bottom of this month’s column, even though you can no longer vote for them.

So, let’s get to it …

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Zudist Colony: Talking to December’s Zuda Contestants

zudaEvery month, Zuda Comics hosts an online competition in which ten webcomics teams provide eight pages each of their comics, and readers vote on the winner. And every month we here at Robot 6 ask all ten creators the same five questions, in order to get a little more insight into both the comics and the creators.

I’m guest hosting this month, so JK can have a bit of holiday time off. So, on with the questions!

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Slash Print | Scott Kurtz to speak at Macworld (and more!)

PvP by Neal Adams

PvP by Neal Adams

Webcomics | According to the Macworld web site, PvP creator Scott Kurtz will speak at the five-day Macintosh symposium.

“In an interview with Chicago Sun-Times and Macworld columnist Andy Ihnatko, Kurtz talks about what digital self-publishing means to creators and publishers, and how devices like the upcoming Apple Tablet could continue to tip the balance in favor of independent artists,” the description of his panel reads.

Also, if you haven’t been checking out PvP lately, Kurtz’s long-running webcomic has a holiday story running, drawn by comics legend Neal Adams. Check out the CBR interview for more information, and after the jump you’ll find a video of Adams drawing PvP.

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Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

Metro

Metro

Legal | Joseph Mayton and Marwa Rakha have more on an Egyptian court’s official banning over the weekend of Metro — considered that country’s first adult graphic novel — and the $900 fines handed down to author Magdy al Shafee and publisher Mohammed al Sharqawi for infringing public decency. “The novel deals with politically sensitive issues and what may have sparked government interest is the limited sexual content of the book,” Mayton writes. “For many, it comes as no surprise that the government is using this as a scapegoat to keep the politics from reaching a wider audience.” [Bikya Masr, Ground Report]

Comics | The A.V. Club’s panel of reviewers assembles its list of the 25 best comics of the decade, including Achewood, All-Star Superman, Criminal and Tales Designed to Thrizzle. No manga, though. [The A.V. Club]

Comics | Tom Spurgeon, meanwhile, gathers some responses to his preliminary list of the best superhero comics of the decade. [The Comics Reporter]

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Zudist Colony: Talking to November’s Zuda contestants

Zuda

Every month since late 2007, Zuda Comics hosts a competition between webcomics, with the winner becoming a regular strip on the site. In Zudist Colony, I interview the contestants via email, asking each of them the same five questions, which hopefully gives you a little more insight into the strips and the creators themselves.

So here we go …

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Robot 666 | Talking to Zito and Trov about La Morte Sisters

LaMorte Sisters

LaMorte Sisters

This month Johnny Zito and Tony Trov, creators of the Black Cherry Bombshells, added a second Zuda strip to their writing duties — LaMorte Sisters, drawn by Christine Larsen. The story follows Maddie, a new student at the LaMorte Home for Lost Girls. The orphanage is run by a strict order of Catholic nuns who offer sanctuary and salvation to young women afflicted with vampirism.

Zito and Trov stopped by earlier this week and shared a list of vampires they’d like to have drinks with, and with today being the second anniversary of when Zuda officially launched, plus it being the day before Halloween, it kind of made sense to see what they had to say about their new vampire tale.

JK: One of the things that really struck me about the first pages of your new strip is how different it looks than Black Cherry Bombshells. How did you guys meet Christine Larsen?

Johnny: Christine is a fellow Philadelphian. She lives on the other end of the city in Fishtown.

Tony: We have many, many mutual friends in the art and film community. Johnny and I were both fans of her work on Teddy Scares.

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Zudist Colony: Talking to October’s contestants

Zuda

Zuda

Every month since late 2007, Zuda Comics hosts a competition between webcomics, with the winner becoming a regular strip on the site. In Zudist Colony, I interview the contestants via email, asking each of them the same five questions, which hopefully gives you a little more insight into the strips and the creators themselves.

This time around I asked them to share which page was the most challenging to create of the eight pages they submitted to Zuda, which is the artwork you’ll see with their answers. Also, I only received answers back from eight of the 10 contestants this time around.

So here we go …

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Slash Print | Following the digital evolution

Zuda

Zuda

Webcomics | Scott Kurtz, who hosted the Harvey Awards this past weekend, shares his thoughts on what he saw at the Zuda table over the weekend. Kurtz, the creator of the long-running and highly successful PvP webcomic, has been an outspoken critic of Zuda since they launched, but had a different take on DC’s monthly webcomics contest after this weekend.

“If companies like DC can enter the Webcomics world, and find a way to work with creators fairly and bring credibility and positive attention to this medium…that’s good,” Kurtz writes. “If Zuda can light a fire under the asses of talent that normally wouldn’t make progress, that’s awesome. We want that, don’t we? Doesn’t a rising tide lift all ships? I know I’m skeptical. I like being skeptical. But maybe I’ve witnessed so many Platinums in the past that I’m a little gun-shy. Maybe…maybe…Zuda isn’t going to fuck people over.”

Also worth reading on his blog, Kurtz talks about what it was like to host the Harveys.

Webcomics | In anticipation of the release of the ACT-I-VATE Primer from IDW, Graphic NYC has dubbed this ACT-I-VATE week and will run features all week about the webcomics collective and its contributors.

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