New publishing platform helps comic book artists

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Articles - January 2010
Thursday, December 17, 2009

Shishkaboom-WebsiteWouldn’t it be valuable for publishers to know exactly what titles will sell before they commit capital to a project? Two entrepreneurs in Portland say their comic book publishing platform will predict and deliver content fans want to buy and read. The magic principle behind the platform: democracy.

Co-founders Scott Davis and Chris King say there is a barrier between comic creators and readers/fans. But they think the solution is their new publishing platform called ShishKaboom, which uses crowd-sourcing to identify titles, artists and eventually franchises with the most potential.

Davis, ShishKaboom’s CEO, says ideas for comics and graphic novels are “growing exponentially,” but publishers won’t touch them unless they are guaranteed to be overnight successes.

“Locally I met artists with phenomenal talent having trouble breaking into the industry,” he says. ShishKaboom will be a stage for unknown or lesser-known artists to show their talent and compete for publishing deals, he says.

Here’s how it works: Creators submit their work with no fee, Shishkaboom displays eight pages, and the community votes on them, free of charge. Winners receive a cash prize, and a percentage of sales of the complete winning comic sold on the website.

The model has been tried before with DC Comics’ Zuda Comics, but Davis says the understood purpose of those contests is to audition potential new employees for established superhero franchises. Promotional material for ShishKaboom describes itself as similar to Zuda, but “without the superhero baggage.” Their site will instead develop, showcase and publish the artists’ own creations.

“The brilliance of the process is you publish on community feedback,” says Davis, who set his idea in motion last April.

Targeting “rabid fans” who spend more than $1,200 a year on comics, ShishKaboom will generate profits from printed comics, subscriptions, mobile downloads, merchandise and eventually movies.

“We will do traditional publishing but it will be small press print runs of 500 to 2,500,” says Davis. “But the real scale comes with the digital platforms.”

Davis says the company will self-finance for the next six months while looking for angel funding. Eventually, Davis plans to hire an editor and production manager in their North Portland headquarters. “We want the model to be empowering to creators,” he says. “We need to assure them that an independent like us can deliver an audience.”

WILLIAM E. CRAWFORD
 

Comments   

 
michael
0 #1 Need More Comic Artits?michael 2010-01-14 17:07:24
Hi,

I've got my own web comic here:

http://komodo-comic.blogspot.com/

and in that blog, you can see my artwork
samples, such as pin ups and one page
comic panel.

contact me if you need more comic artist (^_^)


thanks
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Martina
0 #2 Giving up your creator rights for so little gain? Give it some thought first.Martina 2010-01-15 12:08:57
This could just as easily been written as an article exposing how this is a scam to steal creator rights.
Will emerging or inexperienced artists understand the fine print?

2. GRANT OF RIGHTS
In consideration of all promises made herein, and subject to the reversion rights set forth in Paragraph 9,You hereby grant to ShishKaboom, its successors, licensees and assigns, solely and exclusively, the right to use, post, publish, display, distribute, sell, reproduce, create derivative works and otherwise exploit (in all forms and formats) the Material as permitted under this Rights Agreement (collectively, the “Rights”). As used herein, “Material” means the Submission and the literary work created or to be created by You, including without limitation the title of the work, the art and script comprising the work and the concepts, plots, themes, storylines, characters (including names and images), environmental settings, devices, characterizatio ns, logos, trademarks and designs and other elements to the extent included in the work. The Rights include (a) All print and electronic publication rights, audio and/or visual recording and reproduction rights (including motion picture, television and radio rights), merchandising rights, computer software and multi-media rights, Internet and mobile device rights, live stage rights and commercial tie-in rights to the Material in connection with products and/or services based upon or relating to the Material; and (b) the right to advertise, publicize and promote the Material, and the right to use Your name, likeness and biography and the title of the Material in connection with marketing and promoting the Material and/or ShishKaboom’s products and/or service offerings.

Put up your little comic for free, give up your rights to this company, get 5% on the back end, maybe. And if you "win," you get $500. Wow.

This is the opposite of what creator-friendl y companies like Dark Horse are based on!
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