DC's Perazza Answers Questions on ZUDA's Changes

Thursday’s news of Zudacomics.com — the flash-based home for DC's webcomics imprint — closing and the shift of existing Zuda titles to the new DC Comics digital platforms (their iPhone/iPad app, comiXology’s app, PlayStation Network) raised a good deal of questions. Bayou and High Moon are already on the DC Comics app, but which other titles will make the jump? Which will disappear? Will the Zuda name live on? Newsarama explored the Zuda developments with David Gallaher — writer of High Moon, one of Zuda’s most high-profile series — Thursday afternoon, and Friday talked to Ron Perazza, DC’s VP of Creative Services who oversees online initiatives including Zuda, over e-mail.

Newsarama: Your blog post (and the fact that the Zuda blog is still up) suggested that the Zuda name will continue as a brand for the titles that were once published by the imprint— is this correct? Is the name Zuda staying alive?

Ron Perazza: Yup. The comics we're releasing through our App, comiXology's App, the PSP, etc are all still going to be branded "Zuda." We're just leaving the our solo presence on the Zuda Website behind and joining the other imprints for one, coordinated effort.

Nrama: So will new titles continue to be introduced under the Zuda umbrella?

Perazza: We're not approaching this as just a content dump from one system to another so our first step is to roll out our existing comics. It's likely that there's an audience here completely unfamiliar with Zuda so we don't want to just drown them with content. Pow! Here comes everything! We want to use this as an opportunity to introduce them to what we've been doing for the last three years.

After that I think the idea of new titles is a larger question and one that the company needs to address as a whole, across all of the lines.

Nrama: If you're able to at this point, can you clarify exactly which Zuda titles are making the jump to the new digital platforms?

Perazza: We're still working out the release schedule along with ways to effectively communicate that schedule to everyone. It's a huge challenge and it's not limited to just Zuda. The print side of the business obviously has a solicitation system built into it that lets readers anticipate what's coming up and know when it's available. There really isn't a parallel on the digital side at this point. Next up for Zuda is The Night Owls and then right after that is Azure. Our plan is to use the Zuda Blog, Twitter and Facebook Page to keep everyone up to date with what titles are coming out and when.

Nrama: Will the comics not making the leap to the new platforms eventually be archived in any form?

Perazza: No. Our intention is to settle up any existing contracts and completely revert the rights and all assets back to the original creators. That way they can move on with whatever they think is best for their series unencumbered. I don't think it makes sense to prevent someone from progressing if we're not going to continue the original partnership.

Nrama: Was the impending closing of Zudacomics.com known when the competition aspect of Zuda was dropped in late April of this year?

Perazza: Not at all. [DC Comics Online Editor] Kwanza [Johnson], [DC Comics Online Technology Manager] Dave [McCullough] and I had been thinking about the competition for a long time. It was a costly, inefficient way to get 8 screens of a comic, both financially and in terms of manpower, and it seemed to be increasingly problematic month after month. When we talked about it with Jim and Dan ending the competition made sense as a logical first step toward whatever would come next. The idea that ZUDA would migrate to become original digital editions in the overall Digital Publishing plan came about completely independently.

Nrama: Even though Zuda is continuing on the new platforms, it is still an end to the Zuda as we know it. As someone who obviously worked very closely with the line, what kind of legacy do you think it leaves behind in the comic book industry?

Perazza: Good question! I think that there's room for a lot more diversity in genre, format and style and that we need to find effective ways of delivering it to the fans that are passionate about it. We shouldn't be afraid to explore. I also think that we as an industry need to keep in mind is that the community of creators and readers is a lot more insightful than we might expect. We shouldn't be afraid to listen. 

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