Is Paper a Part of Comics’ Future

With newspapers increasingly NOT publishing on a daily schedule and subscribers being referred to websites to read their favorite comic strips (and the box scores, and stock listings, and the …) and comic book print runs these days not breaking 50,000 copies for almost all titles.

It seems the future is digital. 


From TechCrunch:

The comics world has seemingly been waiting for a digital revolution since the birth of the internet. Launched in 2007, ComiXology has come the closest to delivering such a play to the medium, so naturally, Amazon went and purchased the service and messed it up. Its most recent offering left subscribers in the lurch, finally leading the brand to admit that the integration “process has been far from seamless,” and promising to respond to user feedback.

It is, indeed, not dissimilar from the blowback Kickstarter received following its big blockchain announcement late last year. That service has long been popular with creators, who felt alienated by its recent announcements. More recently, Substack has gotten into the comics, enlisting some big names, including Grant Morrison and Chip Zdarsky, though that service has not been without its share of controversy.

Now comes  

From Publishers Weekly:

Zestworld, a new subscription-based digital comics venture, announced it has raised $9.37 million in new funding to create a publishing and distribution platform for a newly assembled stable of veteran popular comics creators. Zestworld’s new platform offers creators substantial compensation and the opportunity to publish original comics via newsletter subscriptions on their own schedules, adapt the works into new media and formats, and retain complete ownership rights to their properties.

Zestworld is among a number of new ventures aimed at disrupting the North American comics publishing model typified by Marvel and DC: well-known company-owned characters (such as Superman and Spider-Man) in serialized works created via work-for-hire agreements with artists and writers. Zestworld joins Substack, another recent digital publishing venture targeting the comics marketplace, that is also designed as a subscription-newsletter platform for comics readers.

Monday saw the announcement that Zestworld – the upcoming digital comics platform originally unveiled late November last year – has raised an impressive $9.37 million in capital via series A funding* ahead of its official launch later this year. 

One of the frustrating things about that first New York Times story, though, was that it was astonishingly light on details – to the point where it wasn’t even entirely clear what the “subscriber-based platform,” as it was described, actually was, even after multiple re-reads.

So I did the obvious thing, and emailed co-founder and CEO of the company, Chris Giliberti, for some clarification. Here’s what he sent in response…

Comics, FYI goes to the source for some answers.

Webtoon, Zestworld, dying newspapers, digital books…

Soon the smell of decaying newsprint will be a thing only found
in a room where your grandfather keeps his collection.