The webcomics blog about webcomics


Got tipped off by the always clued-in Rich Stevens about a piece by David Byrne in the latest issue of Wired; he’s talking about the management of musical careers (vis-a-vis, how much do you want to give away to other people in exchange for their help). It’s designed as a comment on the music industry, but it’s really applicable to any kind of creative endeavor, such as webcomics.

Particularly interesting is his breakdown of six different models (with examples) of how to get your music (webcomic) out to the listening (reading) audience:

  1. The 360° or equity deal; the creator is a brand that’s owned entirely by the publisher lock, stock, barrel, and they manage the entire thing for you (or without you)
  2. The standard deal; ownership of the creation goes to a publisher, and the creator gets paid by them (after costs)
  3. The license deal; the creator retains ownership, and a publisher has the rights to market/exploit the material for a period of time, after which they revert to the creator who can then exploit or shop them around
  4. The profit-sharing deal; minimal upfront cash to the creator (who retains ownership), publisher performs marketing and distribution, and they split the proceeds
  5. The manufacturing and distribution deal; the creator does everything except make and ship the final product, and the publisher is pretty much reduced to fee-for-service
  6. Not a deal, but self-distribution — the creator does it all, but just as importantly, keeps all the money; with digital distribution costs of music approaching zero, look for this to be much more popular in the future

Right now, the traditional syndication of comic strips exists somewhere between 1 and 2;, comic book work-for-hire and Zuda-type deals straddle 2 and 3; I’d like to see the new ComicSpace do something like 4 or 5 (which would be the Aduz model of publishing); and most self-supporting webcomics artists live in zone 5 or 6 (depends on whether they ship themselves, or farm out fulfillment to someone like Topatoco).

It’s a fascinating read, and if we envision the models on a y-axis (arbitrarily, we can put 1 at the bottom and 6 at the top), I fully expect to see musicians and non-independent [web]comickers climb up to the webcomics end of the scale. As the worlds of music, comics and movies all start to merge into a general art from digital tools, I hope that we’ll make newcomers to the world of self-managed creation feel welcome.

[…] skillsets, and to honestly evaluate where they fall on the I can do this myself to I need help spectrum. Aduz can’t come soon […]

[…] Let’s play ‘what if’ for a moment. This page has called for the creation of ‘Aduz’ or an ‘anti-Zuda’, a business-services provider that […]

RSS feed for comments on this post.