Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

September 23, 2007

Go, Look: Zuda Comics Info Up

imageDC Comics' webcomics initiative Zuda Comics has information up on its various comics and submission processes, as well as a forum where people can ask questions. You can begin to see reactions from various webcomics and webcomics interested folk in places like here and here.

It looks like DC's forum link will be an important place for practical questions. As for the philosophical underpinnings and analysis, well... that's going to be more difficult. The major thing that jumps out at me is that if you are in any way interested in submitting, you need to get a lawyer before you do so, because simply submitting opens you up to legal considerations that you need to understand backwards and forwards.

The second thing that jumps out at me is that if you're still up in the air about whether this company's offers matches your own standards in terms of basic rights and obligations, you may be better off thinking about things in greater detail -- and discussing it with that lawyer -- than reading about it. There's not likely to be easy consensus anywhere you look. Further, creators rights issues in comics are a close second to retail issues in comics when it comes to inspiring demented rhetoric. Discussion gets strident and defensive really, really quickly. You're going to run into everything from angry jeremiads about big companies being unable to not screw anyone with whom they come into contact to exhortations that it's okay to subject yourself to a crappy deal because you can always think up new stuff (after all, Jerry Siegel co-created Superman and Doris Evans), or, as it's usually put, if you can't think of more than one idea, you have no business being a creator. Stuff like that. So be careful.

As a lifetime underachiever without a law degree and little experience in working with such contracts, my first impression is that this seems to be reasonably fair in terms of the rights and profit sharing, and good old-fashioned big company hammer behind the back wrapped in a velvet blanket just in case look at the bunnies Lennie in terms of editorial control and rights reversion. I also think that beyond the minimums discussed you have to look at this as a promise of money potentially being made rather than a guarantee or even a strong likelihood of success -- this is a new company, no one knows if its strategy is going to be successful and fruitful one for a product beyond the bare bones part of the contract, no one yet knows if this group of people with this corporate backing are going to be effective at their collective job. The reassuring clap on the shoulder from Corporate America can mean a lot of things, not all of them good. Let's be careful out there.
posted 10:30 pm PST | Permalink

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