Reaction has been subdued to Friday's announcement that Zuda has ended its monthly competition format.
The news comes two and a half years after the launch of DC Comics' online imprint, and follows scattered incidents in which competitors were accused of cheating or being overly aggressive in their promotion. The process also has been criticized for seemingly favoring the superhero, action/adventure and horror genres. In his blog post announcing the end of the competition approach, Ron Perazza, vice president of creative services, acknowledged some of those shortcomings while praising the merits of the format. However, he didn't say yet what might replace it.
Response to the announcement has been largely positive, even on the Zuda Comics message board (even if, as you might expect, it's accompanied by a little hand-wringing). From elsewhere in the blogosphere:
Larry Cruz: "On one hand, this is somewhat of a blow to independent webcomic creators who wouldn’t have had quite the exposure otherwise. On the other hand, online voters tended to gravitate toward some of the most predictable categories, which means that horror or hero-style comics were almost always going to get the upper hand. (Which, frankly, was a blow to the relatively unconventional Sam & Lilah — reviewed here — a comic that the editors liked but the voters didn’t.) So count me as a supported of this brave new era of Zuda 2.0."
Lauren Davis: "Good on you, Zuda. It's your time, money, and reputation that goes into these things and you should promote the comics you want to promote. On the other hand, it will be interesting to see whether Zuda continues to engage its community without the monthly competitions."
Mike Perridge: "What does the future hold now for Zuda if the competition is no more? I’ll take a wild guess and say they’ll try to use their resources more carefully in future. It’s all very well offering a cash prize to the winner, but then contracting them to complete a strip over the course of what might be a year seems, in a recession, to be recklessly wasteful. If the strips chosen in the contest had all been of the same quality and promise as the best strips then there wouldn’t have been much of a problem, but stretching out hopeless, yet inexplicably popular strips over a long period of time just makes the whole catalogue look a little stupid. Instead of increasing the kudos attached to such a high-profile publisher the poorer quality strips just made everyone think that they all had an equal shot at making it as a comic professional – which clearly they did not."
Johanna Draper Carlson: "I think this move makes sense for them — at the time Zuda started, they shook up the digital comic world, spawning lots of discussion, but 2 1/2 years of having to crown a winner every month… that’s a lot of competitions to manage, and the material was becoming a bit same-y."
Heidi MacDonald: "In our humble opinion, the move to install editorial mandate over popular choice is a sound move. Many of the Zuda winners we saw tended to fall into the “Wild ‘n crazy action humor” genre — if that is even a genre — and had more nerd-appeal than staying power. Instilling a bit more quality control should up the entire line’s profile."