Its good to see another Zuda competitor making their way digitally – thanks to Robot6 @ CBR for this one!
A little more than a year ago, Matthew Petz saw his webcomicÂ War of the Woods win Zudaâ€™s monthly contest. A few months later, ZudaÂ ended their monthly contests, thenÂ shut down the website and by the fall the imprintÂ was shuttered by DC â€” all before Petzâ€™s strip ever began its run on the site.
â€œA year ago this month I was trying to win the Zuda competition. I finally DID pull off the winâ€¦only to watch Zuda fold a few months later,â€ Petz told me last week. â€œThat was kinda brutal.â€
But the end of Zuda wouldnâ€™t mean the end of the strip, asÂ War of the Woods, like several other former Zuda strips, has found a new home onÂ comiXology. But while some of the strips offered on Zuda are still being sold and branded under the Zuda imprint â€” and through the DC-branded application for the iPhone and iPad â€” Petzâ€™s strip is now completely creator-owned.
Petz told me that when Zuda closed down, he was offered a percentage of what he would have earned on the contract he won last January, despite the fact that he hadnâ€™t produced any work for them yet. â€œThe people at DC I was dealing with and who Iâ€™ve since become friends with were (and still are) very supportive,â€ he said. â€œSo in the end I got some money and more importantly, I was given my rights back. That was the biggest deal. I ownÂ War of the Woods 100 percent.â€
Some of the contacts he made would help him make the jump from Zuda to comiXology. â€œThe day I found out what was happening with Zuda, I got calls from everyone offering support and advice,â€ he said. â€œFriends like Bobby Timony, Kevin Colden and David Gallaher. It was David that did an email introduction with David Steinberger at ComiXology. Pretty soon after that I signed up to releaseÂ WOTW through them. So far itâ€™s been great. The comiXology team are easy to work with and are really supportive.â€
And while he no longer has the backing of a large company like DC Comics behind his comic, he does have the lessons he learned from the initial contest.
â€œObviously having someone like DC promoting you would be great, but at the same time no matter who you are you need to promote all you can.â€ Petz said. â€œThatâ€™s the biggest lesson I think I took from the competition. Promote , promote, promote. Interviews like this, podcasts, conventions and of course social media. Social media has the potential to really democratize things. You canâ€™t afford not to embrace it.â€
Described atÂ War of the Worlds meetsÂ Wind and the Willows, the comic details how two otters, a father and his son, survive and fight back against an alien invasion. â€œWe always see what itâ€™s like for humans to survive in movies likeÂ Independence Day orÂ War of the Worlds,â€Â he told me last year when I interviewed him. â€œMy thought when thinking wasâ€¦I wonder how the animals are gonna deal with this?â€
The first three chaptersÂ are available via comiXologyâ€™s website, as well as the apps theyâ€™ve developed for various platforms. Petz said he expects to have the fourth chapter up soon. He expects the first season to run about 60-75 pages, or about six issues, not including bonus material.
â€œWhen thatâ€™s done my plan is to try and find a print home for the book as well,â€ he said. â€œI heard that a lot at conventions last year, so fingers crossed. Beyond all that I have a pretty big outline that tells a big global story. I wrote the ending when I wrote the first eight pages, so I know how everything works out in the end.â€