New York Comic Con started a bit backwards for Zuda Comics, DC Comics‘ contest-based web comics publisher. With its presentation running a few minutes behind schedule, attendees were invited to ask questions before the imprint’s lineup of creators introduced themselves. Among them were the creators of “Azure,” “Black Cherry Bombshells,” “Celadore,” “High Moon,” “I Rule the Night,” “The Night Owls” and “Street Code.”
With introductions complete, Ron Perazza, Zuda’s Director of Creative Services, finally arrived, laptop in tow, ready to present the companies plans for 2009.
As the presentation loaded, Brothers Bobby and Peter Timony, creators of “The Night Owls,” introduced Sheldon Vella, creator of “Supertron,” to the audience via laptop from his home in Australia. Vella greeted the panel to warm laughter and smiled as he proceeded to draw, flex his biceps and eat a bowl of cereal throughout the panel.
The panel announcements came quickly. This was emphasized by the slideshow’s deliberate use of “flaming text” animations.
“High Moon,” David Gallaher and Steve Ellis’ werewolf western, “Celadore,” Caanan Grall’s vampire tale, “Supertron,” Vella’s robot strip and “Street Code,” Dean Haspiel’s quasi bio strip are all set to return this year, with staggered releases throughout 2009.
Zuda also announced “Azure,” Daniel Govar’s post-apocalyptic undersea series, will launch on Feb. 24.
The news didn’t stop at digital comics. Zuda mainstays “Bayou” and “High Moon,” will both be collected in print this year, marking the publisher’s first foray outside the digital realm. This is just the first of many Zuda transitions to come according to Perazza, who explained the crossover is all part of the plan. “It is our intention to ultimately collect [all of] the series and put them out in print,” said Perazza.
With the official announcements concluded, the panel turned to fans for questions.
The Q&A session saw the “Night Owls” team disclose their research strategies, Govar describe his creative process for illustrating an underwater world and Haspiel credit his former collaborators Harvey Pekar and Jonathan Ames for lessons in “what not to do,” when writing an autobiographical comic.
When asked about Zuda’s continued online success, Perazza affirmed that while he couldn’t release numbers, the site has experienced a traffic increase each month since its inception in July of 2007. He also confirmed that the site’s functionality is in the process of being modified for improved navigation and readability. “By [this] summer, we’ll be out of Beta,” said Perazza.
One fan asked about potentially releasing Zuda submissions that were hilariously bad for the sake of humor.
Perazza declined to insult any actual submissions, but admitted Zuda received its share of easily rejected comics. “We get those a lot, we laugh our asses off, actually,” joked Perazza.
Referring to the imprint’s diverse catalog, one attendee closed the panel with a question that tied the assembly together.
“How many of you guys use Photoshop?” asked a fan.
The speakers’ hands raised almost in unison, with the exception of one panel writer.
“I use Microsoft Word,” said Gallaher to laughter.