Zuda. Now that name brings back fond memories. Never heard of them? Zuda Comics was a DC Comics’ webcomics imprint from 2007 until 2010. I discovered Zuda as I was contemplating making my own comic. All of a sudden, there was now an imprint from DC offering unknown comic creators a chance to have their work featured and published (online and eventually in print) and creators would be paid for their stories. That DC imprint was Zuda Comics.

I really enjoyed the small but enthusiastic online community Zuda created. People would leave mini-reviews and feedback for creative teams and it was generally constructive with positive feedback.

The process for submission was as follows: comic creators were invited to submit their own eight-page comics, and each month ten stories were selected by the editorial team to compete. Users could then vote for their favorite entries and the winner received a contract to continue their comic on the Zuda website. When the contract was filled, if the comic was liked enough it could be renewed for an additional “season”. Occasionally an “instant winner” was chosen to receive a contract without having to compete. Winners were given a contract by Zuda where they were paid a page rate. Even though the rate was low, being paid by DC for indie comics was unheard of.

The site created an indie buzz and each week I looked forward to seeing new stories and ideas from indie creators. This was at a time when there weren’t many webcomic platforms and reading comics on mobile phones and tablets wasn’t a thing. Today, technology has not only made comics more accessible but the amount of comic creators has increased exponentially. There are more platforms to find and build an audience (like Instagram, Twitter, Webtoons, etc.) and there is an abundance of guides, videos, art programs, making the creation of comics easier than ever.

Before all of this, there were only enthusiasts self-publishing/printing their comics. Even fewer creators were technologically able to add their comics on a website. So when Zuda appeared it felt like a way for indie creators to compete in friendly competition within a DC imprint and potentially earn money from their comics (something that was a mere dream back then for indie comics).

There were some memorable winners, some of which even made it to print. The format of the comics for the web did not translate well to print as the shape of the book often deviated from the traditional comic American comic book dimensions. I was disappointed when they announced they were closing Zuda but its existence had spurred me on to one day create and publish my own comic.

Well here was my short tribute article to Zuda. The next article I have planned discusses the possible outcomes of prioritizing writing, art, or speed when making comics.

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