So DC Comics have decided to dive into the world of webcomics with Zuda Comics. I won't go into the details of the contracts, the contests, and all that other fun stuff because to be honest, I haven't really looked into it enough to discuss it at any great length. I do rather like the idea of web comic creators being able to make a bit of money via their creations but I'm not sure if this is the way to go. Either way, I figured I'd take a look at the first flock of potential comics as well as the first ongoing one. I'll start with the ongoing:
Bayou -- Visually, this is an impressive book. The backgrounds are often minimal (if existant at all) but it conveys the story and the physical setting well. And it matches the timing of the story well. And speaking of the timing of the story, it seems a pretty bold move to start off the first book on Zuda in such a racially charged time in our history. The first 17 seems a good start to the story and the reader gets everything they need to know from it. I may actually keep an eye on this one. I can see why it got chosen to be an ongoing book.
Now for the competition books...
Alpha Monkey -- The art on this one is cartoon in style and very solid. In fact, I felt the art was the best thing about it. The story seemed rather weak. The quick little blurb in the beginning didn't really get my interest boiling over and it just jumped right in to a rather uninteresting battle against a giant chunk of cheese. It's not terrible but there's nothing really there to have me come back.
Battlefield Babysitter -- First up, I was happy to hear the main character chastise female characters for wearing skimpy and provocative clothing that makes no sense but then immediately having that character do a gratuitous butt shot (even if she does make mention of it being the last time for such a shot) seemed a little hypocritical. There was a few times where I felt things were rushed or not really as well written as they could have been and the 8 page limit may have been a factor in that. But it's not until the very last page that the title starts to make any sense. There just didn't seem to be all that much in those first 8 pages to really establish the story and hook me in. I might give it another shot should it continue but it would be on the fence until it proves itself.
Black Swan -- Meh. The art to start was somewhat interesting but the dialogue ("Bring it, B***h!") seemed to not match at all. Then the book suddenly changes and I thought there was an error on their site that redirected me to another book. Then it kinda jumps around and I just lost total interest. And the art (other than the old flashback stuff) just didn't seem all that great. Definitely not something I would keep reading. I just don't think they handled the 8 pages properly.
Dead in the Now -- More zombie madness huh? A very different style with dialogue and such merging with the art which took me a second to get used to. But really, there wasn't anything that made me want to read this. It's definitely not my cup of tea but it also didn't really establish enough in the 8 pages to make me think it's going to be worth reading.
High Moon -- If it wasn't for the weirdly placed splash page showing a werewolf I'd have no idea where they were going with this. I wish they would have handled that differently. It just seemed so out of place given the rest of the book. Though I like the art a lot and in just 8 pages it did catch my interest to a degree. This is another one I'd be on the fence on. I'd like to see slightly more before deciding for sure if it was worth reading.
Leprenomicon -- I must have missed something with this one. It seemed really out of nowhere and I just didn't feel there was anything that really caught my attention. I had no clue who the characters were or what they were talking about, and worse than that I found myself just not caring. The art isn't bad but not as good as some of the other competitors. But overall, there just wasn't anything in the 8 pages that made me want to read more.
Raining Cats and Dogs -- This one may actually edge the others out for my pick of the bunch. The opening dialogue, the really wonderful artwork (including great colouring), and the overall premise seem intriguing to me. Out of all the competitors I think this is the one that I want to see more of. The characters and story just seem unique and interesting. I may sign up just to vote for it. I have my doubts that it will win though, my tastes often don't match the comic book reading masses.
The Dead Seas -- Honestly, the dialogue that the author uses to try and establish the story here just went in one ear and out the other. It just seemed right from the start to be a typical amateur book with nothing unique or different. There just didn't seem to be enough meat to this story for me to grab onto anything. The woman wearing the chaps with her underwear showing, that just made me shake my head. And her backstory just seemed your standard stuff. The art was pretty good but nothing as different or enjoyable as some of the other competitors. I wouldn't be looking to keep reading this one.
The Enders -- This one could have used an editor. The narration just hits with too much, too quickly. And it tends to seem repetitive as it has to go over some things a couple times. It made it seem like things just didn't flow as well as they could have. The art is okay but some panels seem a little cluttered and not as well laid out as they could have been. This is another one I wouldn't keep reading should it win the contest.
This American Strife -- The most "out there" of the first set of entries (you almost think they had to include at least one of these kinds of books). Sometimes there's a story that goes on for a couple pages and sometimes not. For me, it just didn't work. Nothing really seemed to click even the art seemed off. Some panels looked really nice and others I just thought were a mess. Perhaps it'll gather a cult following with people who "get it" but I won't be one of them. I would pass on this book.
So there you have my initial take on the books.
And on another note, it has been pointed out that Wizard Magazine will be changing their tagline to “The #1 Men’s Pop-Culture Magazine!” Hmm... so the supposed #1 magazine in comics isn't for women anymore? Honestly, I don't even know why I pick it up anymore. There was a time they had some fairly decent articles including stuff on independant books but that seems to have been a long time ago. Now an interview may have one or two interesting bits to it where they aren't simply kissing up to Joe Quesada and some articles give a small tidbit of behind the scenes info of interest. But other than that, my complaint list just keeps growing. Some of them include:
- Refusing to say something is bad even when they know otherwise. One example would be saying how great the Hulk was when Bruce Jones was writing only to admit later they thought it was bad but continued to push it so Marvel would be happy with them. And they've admitted that saying something bad about a comic goes against their goal of just having people buy comics.
- Taking their "movie news" stories straight from Ain't It Cool News or SuperHeroHype and not confirming any of it. It's pretty sad when their "movie scoops" are almost straight from rumours posted online that were debunked 3 weeks before the magazine hit the stands.
- Promoting the whole "comic book women have to be babes and are all about being sexy" thing. It just seems that now they have at least one article in each issue focussing on how great some artist is at drawing women's butts. Or who is the "hottest comic book movie babe". Hmm... I guess with this one their new tagline is appropriate.
So yeah, I suppose the real question is why I was still picking this up. I guess I just liked getting a bit of comic book news but really, spending the $8 and digging through all the crap for a nugget of interest just isn't worth it anymore.