CCI: Devil's Due Pulls the Webcomics Trigger

In a sign of the changing times for the comic book business, a Hollywood and comics crossover hit the stage Thursday at Comic-Con International in San Diego that had little to do with film options, casting announcements or sneak previews as Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey appeared on the Devil's Due panel to promote a new initiative in web comics between the publisher and his TriggerStreet.com talent scout website.

"TriggerStreet is one of the best places on the web for up-and-coming talent to get critiques and exposure for their short films, screenplays, and plays," said Devil's Due's Manager of Development Stephen Christy, who helped set up the new web comics initiative in conjunction with the site. "They do a lot of user-decided competitions where people in the TriggerStreet community will post short films for the TriggerStreet film festival, they'll post plays, they'll post full screenplays, and then the TriggerStreet community itself will whittle it down to the best ones. Finally, a panel of celebrity judges will pick the best of the best."

This format will be adapted to a web comics model starting this August on TriggerStreet.com where up and coming creators will be encouraged to upload 6 to 10 page chapters of comic proposals for approval by the TriggerStreet community, with the eventual winner being awarded the Triggerstreet.com/DDP Comic Book Discovery Award. The winner of the initiative's first cycle will likely be crowned this Fall.

"It's a marriage of all the cool stuff going on in web comics and all the experience TriggerStreet has, but the end goal is hopefully bringing it back to print, which is something we haven't seen from a lot of these web comics contests or web sites," Christy explained while noting that another difference between the Devil's Due/TriggerStreet partnership and initiatives like DC's Zuda Comics is that their deal will allow for greater creative freedom and financial reward for winners. "The best thing about it is that even though it's a talent search, the terms for the talent search are different than DC Comics' Zuda terms. It's quite a bit more creator-friendly. When the site goes live, creators will be able to go and see for themselves the rules of the talent search and how it works.

"It's everyone's goal to really allow creators to have a hand in this - to still be able to have a say in where their creation goes. As for DDP, and Triggerstreet, our collective goal is to hopefully be able to publish a few of these webcomics in print form, either as miniseries or anthologies."

And as for the selection process, Christy explained that much like other areas of the TriggerStreet site, the short comic stories submitted would be vetted by the site's members before being judged by a panel of professional talent. "We're counting on members of the TriggerStreet community to vet the best ones for us. Before we get to the final ten, it will be primarily decided by the TriggerStreet community itself.

"There's going to be a lot of celebrity judges judging these as well. You'll have people from Devil's Due, a number top-ten comic book creators and Kevin himself. Kevin says he's going to bring in some of his friends from Hollywood who are excited about the comic book space. I wouldn't be surprised if you saw some famous directors of comic book movies or some other top name directors and writers potentially judging this."

While there is no explicit connection between the Devil's Due/TriggerStreet competition and the movie business, the companies are hoping that the bonds between the two entertainment industries will provide incentive for new talent to bring their comic ideas to TriggerStreet. "We're looking to get a really good discussion going between people. TriggerStreet is deeply entrenched in the film community and Devil's Due is deeply entrenched in the comic book community, and we're looking for a place to have those two communities mingle.

"We're hoping this will bring in some people that have never done comics before or have done web comics but haven't had an opportunity to publish them. And TriggerStreet is one of the largest user-based content creation sites. If you're a young, aspiring web comics creator or illustrator, this is going to be the place for you to get your comics seen not only by a lot of people in the comics industry but by a lot of Hollywood talent as well."

Photos by Staff Photographer Pinguino Kolb

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