Kogoshii Enters The Zuda Battlefield

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When Frederik asked me to do a guest column for Broken Frontier talking about my Zuda Comics entry, KOGOSHII, I was all for it! Part of the job is getting the word out and getting votes for the project, so let’s start with the creation of the project and how we got there from here.

Zuda Comics has been in full force for well nearly two years.  It’d long been on the periphery of my radar since it launched, but I never had the opportunity to check it out until this year.

I have been bouncing around this industry in various forms for around 10 years, and as what usually happens, you build up a back-log of ideas, pitches, proposals, and outlines that for one reason or another you never get around to developing because of a case of “not the right place, not the right time.”

In a constantly moving marketplace like the comics industry (and sadly for the past  few years or so, to be kind it’s contracted more than it’s expanded) you have to be mindful of the trends. If you try to jump into an arena that’s overly crowded like the superhero genre, you better hope your high concept helps you stand out in a crowd.

So why Zuda, why now? For one, it’s DC COMICS, one of the industry’s largest publishers. They’ve long been at the forefront of progress. 16 years ago, as the readership was getting older, DC brought us VERTIGO to try to tap into the changing market. When we saw more people following the trend to the detriment of our younger readers who would be the future of our industry, DC stepped up with their Johnny DC line for younger readers, yet not sacrificing quality just because they were just ‘kid books’. And now we’re in a digital era where we’re seeing comics on iPhones, and other means of digital distribution, DC innovates again with ZUDA.

For another, as I said over in my red room author page blog, “New Media” is more like the “Old West.” People packing up, and heading out to new frontiers for fame and fortune, some will strike it big and their gamble will pay off, others will be caught unawares by the new challenges posed by the new landscape. While some will rise to the occasion, others may find themselves heading back east to their old lives. That is what’s so exciting, there’s so many different ways to do things!

Despite it being labeled “new media” web comics as a business model have been around for 10 years. You look at guys like Penny-Arcade, PVP, Mega Tokyo (who got picked up by DC’s manga imprint CMX a few years back) and Real Life Comics. They were the early settlers that gave us the notion that there might be “gold in them, thar hills.”

So, I am currently in development with an amazing manga artist by the name of Gigi, who has bona fides in the web comic industry herself: her critically acclaimed Frightmoore University soon became a staple of the newly Platinum Studios-ized Drunk Duck sitting alongside her “Bridgette’s Magical Unicorn”. And then there’s “Sheppard’s Lament”, which she and I did years ago for a print outlet that fell through. I approached her about trying out for the Zuda competition and she agreed, so then it was up to me to give her something to draw.

I dug through my pile of half-scribbled ideas, trying to find the perfect one. I looked all over the Zuda site seeing what won, what they had a lot of, what they could use more of, and finally developed KOGOSHII. It sprung forth from two proposals that ran along similar themes. In short, it’s the story of an age-old clan war, where a young love  blossoms between the rival factions, only to have their love discovered and forced into an early union for political reasons. All of it results in a poor choice that will set up for  deadly consequences.

The title (which translated from Japanese means “Glorious“) was suggested by Gigi’s lovely middle child Venessa, who I lovingly refer to as “our little demographic” because 19 year-old manga-loving girls are my base for this – the opinions of Venessa and her sisters are always held in high regard in all the projects I do with their mother.

Gigi and I sent the submission off at midnight on March 31st 2009, at the end of that month’s competition and we heard back on May 22nd, 2009 around 11:00am that we were in. It was single-handedly the most exciting and terrifying moment I’ve ever experienced. To be chosen out of the literally thousands of submissions and to be chosen in such a quick time, it was exhilarating. But then the fear set in. We were in, which means that there are 9 unknown “enemies” we’d have to best to keep this wonderful opportunity alive.

Now I say that with tongue firmly in cheek, as everyone who has made it in are amazingly talented creators, especially my buddy (and former Broken Frontier contributor) Dwight Macpherson. But this IS a competition, and as they say in the film Highlander “There can be only one.”

I certainly will be throwing everything I have in my bag of tricks from my Public Relations and Marketing background to get to that #1 spot, but in truth, we cannot do it without YOU so we count on your vote, and appreciate any support more than words can say.

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  • NinjaGeorgie

    NinjaGeorgie Jun 19, 2009 at 9:56am

    I like that ZUDA. Free comics!

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