DC's recent announcement about its fledgling imprint, Zudacomics, galvanized geek opinions about the world of Web comics. Last Friday's joint announcement from MySpace and Virgin Comics to launch a Web imprint of their own -- Coalition Comix -- sounds a bit more intriguing and ambitious to this casual observer.

In this business model, fans will collaborate with comics professionals (called "Story Masters") to guide the development of new characters and stories from scratch. The first master to work with comics geeks is a familiar (and talented) one to many of you: Mike Carey, a collaborator with Nicolas and Weston Cage on Virgin's new Voodoo Child and the current scribe of Marvel's X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four.

No doubt, Carey's skills as a former teacher will serve him well in the role of Story Master, as he builds an online dialogue with fans to guide the development of stories in real time, an often misleading concept in some sectors of the comics business. Just ask fans of All Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder...

And, like Zudacomics, who owns what in this sector of the digital universe called Coalition Comix and how folks are paid for it, has yet to be discussed. For some gut-level reason, though, I feel a bit more hopeful about Virgin's efforts.

Perhaps, it's largely based on my 19-year-old nephew's assertion to me that everyone under age 25 has a MySpace page. OK, he probably said it just to remind me how old I am, but there's a little bit of logic at work here too.

Besides, I'm all for more eyeballs reading comics... even if they start on MySpace.

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