HIGH MOON Writer David Gallaher on ZUDA Changes
David Gallaher is one of Zuda’s biggest success stories. The writer of werewolf western High Moon, one of the DC webcomic imprint’s initial titles in 2007, has won a Harvey Award, seen the book collected in print and gained wider exposure leading to further work, such as the currently unfolding Darkstar and the Winter Guard series from Marvel Comics. So naturally, he had a reaction to today’s news that Zuda will cease to exist in its current form, with some surviving titles folded into the DC Comics digital offerings through comiXology and the PlayStation Network.“This change, it’s unfortunate, really, but it’s also the nature of comics and the nature of technology,” Gallaher said to Newsarama via a phone interview. “There’s an obsolescence that you have to prepare for.” Though disappointed by the news, Gallaher is proud of the work Zuda has done, and the legacy it leaves behind.
“They discovered a whole bunch of new talent, a whole lot of great new series,” he said. “I think they were like 40 titles, not including the hundreds of competitors who, month in and month out, were putting together really kind of new, innovative and unconventional comics.” Zuda launched in fall 2007 as a competition-based imprint, with ten comics a month selected by an editorial staff competing for reader votes in order to continue publishing. The comics were viewable for free on a Flash-based site, the now-inactive zudacomics.com. The competition aspect ended in late April of this year. Exactly which series will make the jump to the new platform is unclear at this point, but Gallaher says the list includes his and Steve Ellis’s High Moon, Bayou, The Night Owls, I Rule The Night, Bottle of Awesome, Puppet Makers, Black Cherry Bombshells, Azure and “a few others.” The comics will be viewable through the DC’s iPhone and iPad apps, comiXology’s Web site and the PlayStation Portable. “I’m saddened by the circumstances,” Gallaher said of the creators whose Zuda works will not be continuing, “but I think that they have such tremendous opportunities available to them, that they are really going to prosper in the long run.” Based on the current organization on the app, it appears that DC will continue to use the “Zuda” name for the imprint. First issues for each series will be free, with subsequent releases 99 cents each, a change from the totally free model of Zuda. “I think it might, I don’t know,” Gallaher said of if this shift will affect the readership of the books. “I think that something will change, but we’ll see how it does.” No matter what the future of the Zuda titles holds, it’s clear that Gallaher will look back positively at his time working with the start-up imprint. “I’ve been in comics for 10 years, in various roles. The creators, and talent, and editors, and everybody in the Zuda community, they have all been so incredibly generous with their time, so incredibly open, approachable,” he said. “I’ve learned so much about being a better creator, I’ve learned about the business of comics far greater than I had. It’s the best experience I’ve ever had working in comics.”