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DC Comics Closes Down the Zuda Comics Website

After Zuda Comics announced at the end of April that they were closing down competitions after nearly two and a half years, the future looked uncertain for the DC Comics webcomic imprint, and when DC announced digital comics distribution on the iPad, iPhone and PSN last week — including Zuda content like “High Moon” — it raised even more questions about the imprint’s future. Today, DC announced that effective immediately, Zuda’s website has been shut down for good.

The imprint itself will be folded into the larger digital comics initiative at DC, and into a “larger, more comprehensive” submissions system. Issues of “High Moon” and “Bayou” are already available on Comixology, and will be joined by existing content from other Zuda comics like “Black Cherry Bombshells,” “Azure,” “Bottle of Awesome,” “Supertron,” and “Lily of the Valley,” with each installment will be priced at 99 cents each. Heidi MacDonald also reports at The Beat that some individual series will be continuing: “A few of the better known Zuda titles, such as I Rule the Night, Bayou and High Moon will be folded into the newly announced DC Digital program.”

It’s not hard to draw a line from the huge announcement last week about DC’s digital initiatives on the iPad, iPhone, and PSN to the demise of this earlier DC digital project, developed before the executive restructuring that promoted both Dan DiDio and digital enthusiast Jim Lee to Co-Publisher. Indeed, DC Creative Services VP Ron Perezza draws that very line himself on the Zuda blog, where he speaks frankly of the webcomics initiative (and, perhaps, its oft-criticized Flash display) as a “unique and ambitiously creative project, albeit an occasionally clunky one”:

Last week DC Comics took a much anticipated second step into the world of digital publishing with the simultaneous launch of the official DC Comics iPhone/iPad App (powered by comiXology) and participation in Sony’s Playstation Network. I say second step because, as most Zuda fans know, we made our first step back in 2007 when DC Comics tasked us with a project that would evolve into ZUDA COMICS. Part webcomics collective, part community, part competition, all experimental; Zuda was an unique and ambitiously creative project, albeit an occasionally clunky one.

Recently we ended our competition format and put submissions on hold. And now, effective today, www.zudacomics.com will be shut down.

Why?

The submissions question is simple: It is the new DC Co-Publishers’ plan to expand submissions beyond just Zuda Comics and the Online group into a larger, more comprehensive system that covers all of DC Comics’ wide variety of needs, skills and interests. Jim and Dan are very excited about bringing in and developing new talent so look for more information about that from them as plans develop.

As for the site, from here on out, Zuda Comics will be folded into DC Comics’ exciting, new Digital Publishing initiative. Expect more Zuda series to be released through the DC Comics and comiXology Apps, the Sony PSP and on both the comiXology website and, eventually, the main DC Comics website as well. You’ll be able to read all of your digital editions and manage your entire library in one place, whether DCU, Vertigo, WildStorm or Zuda. The goal there is convergence of technology and convergence of editorial.

In these past two and a half years, I’m very proud to say that Zuda series and creators have had some outstanding critical successes. Ilias Kyriazis’ MELODY was nominated for a Friends of Lulu Award for Best Female Character, Andy Belanger got the nod for the Shuster Award for Webcomics, SUPERTRON, HIGH MOON, THE NIGHT OWLS and THE BLACK CHERRY BOMBSHELLS were nominated for a combined total of seven Harvey Awards, including the win for best Online Comic by HIGH MOON, and BAYOU took home a record-breaking number of Glyph Awards, recognition by the American Library Association and is currently up for coveted Eisner Award for Best Webcomic! Clearly the experiment was yielding fantastic creative achievements and now, new fans coming to DC through our apps and through the Sony Playstation Network will get a chance to read what the rest of us have known about since Zuda’s launch.

I think if there’s one thing that the Zuda Comics community shares is the belief that nothing lasts forever – submissions get rejected, competitors don’t win, stories end. We try stuff, hopefully we learn stuff, we change stuff and still the experiment continues. Zudacomics.com may have come to an end today but the award-winning series will live on and without a doubt, the discussion and lessons learned these past two and a half years will continue to inform, shape and fuel the development of DC’s future digital plans and initiatives.

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