Where Evils Dare To Vote – Tony Lee At Zuda

The Zuda digital line from DC Comics has confounded critics and proved a success of a number of comic titles, in some case making industry names of a few, such as David Gallaher (when I spell his name right.) It’s become the comic equivalent of the X-Factor, of American Idol, bringing people from obscurity to prominence, subject to public vote.

So what the hell is Tony Lee doing there? A strip by him and Stefano Martino, Where Evils Dare, a supernatural World War II comic is in the running for the new round of voting in and voting out.


Author of Doctor Who, Harker, Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, and more comics work than possibly anyone right now, what is he doing participating in a comics talent show? Especially considering the risk – it’s one thing for an unknown to lose, it’s another thing for someone already building a reputation in the industry. What if he, like Cliff Richard in the Eurovision Song Contest, loses? Possibly to a Russian singing Bim Bam Bom? Or to Pluck by John Amor and Gave White, who currently has the number one voted for strip in the Zuda competition ahead of Tony…

I put this terribly insensitive question to Lee. He said;

When I first spoke to David Gallaher about doing a web comic back in early 2008, it really wasn’t the direction I wanted to go back then. In my mind, the first DC work I wanted to get would be Vertigo, or even mainstream DCU – but over the following year Zuda really impressed me, proving that they should be a lot higher in people’s minds than they are. You can mention Vertigo or DC to any comic fan and they have their favourites. Why not Zuda?

When I decided to enter the competition, it wasn’t to win. That said, I’d be happy if I did win, as I loved writing the story and there’s a lot of kudos in a DC contract and all that – but at the same time I wanted to get more out than just that. I wanted Stefano Martino, my excellent artist on Doctor Who: The Forgotten to be seen as the great artist that he is, not as the quick fill-in artist that people have seen.

I talked to people who knew webcomics about Zuda and they explained to me that to many readers, the ‘vote rigging’ shenanigans of the previous months (where people were reported to ballot stuff with fake names, sit in cafes for weeks on end asking every person who entered to register and vote, no matter who they were, the deviant art competitions where the person who got the most amount of voters got a commission – the list goes on…) had taken over from the stories in many peoples eyes. And so I decided that if I did this, it had to be under the rules of ‘Fair Play’.

And that’s how I have played it. I’ve posted in a variety of places, but in every interview and forum post I’ve pointed out that I’m not trawling for the vote, I’m trawling for people to go and read all ten entries before making their mind up. I’ve even gone on record stating that I haven’t voted for myself, and it’s true, I haven’t. I’ve even actively told people to read my closest rivals, Pluck and Doc Monster – if I was pushing the ‘VOTE FOR ME’ button as hard as some people, I’d never do that.

At the end of the day, I wanted to try something new, and Zuda is exactly that for me. It’s exciting and nerve racking and incredibly changeable. If I win? Great. If I don’t? Then that’s still great – because it means that a better comic than mine won, which means the readers win. And that Stefano has something tangible to show big name publishers, so HE wins. And let’s be honest, I’m very aware that my name’s out there because of this. Yesterday I had a moment where I had to correct Digital Spy on something they took from MTV about me. I would never have had that if I didn’t do the competition.

He wants to win I reckon…

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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