A new crop of competitors has arrived for the Zuda Competition, DC's monthly contest to find new and innovative comics talent. This month's frontrunners chronicle the exploration of a mysterious planet, and a sentient pumpkin patch out for revenge.
Each month, Zuda, the online branch of DC Comics, selects 10 eight-page comic pitches to compete. The winner, based on reader votes and ratings, receives a contract for a 52-page run on Zuda, with the possibility of renewal after that.
Unfortunately, there are a number of firm and near misses in this round. Mystery Jungle is a Lost World pastiche so straightforward it's dull, Incarna loses its narrative thread in a sea of ninja zombies, and Wheeljack Union resembles Atomic Robo without the charm. More promising is the rather twee My T-Shirt Fairy Tale, which uses the interesting concept of narrating through novelty t-shirts, but doesn't quite have the art or story to back it up, and The Symptoms, about a superpowered punk band that battles a zombie-like menace, but could use a little more attitude.
There are, however, some real standouts in the pile. One of the clear frontrunners for this month is the dreamily rendered Goldilock, a science fiction drama about the exploration of a newly discovered planet. After the people of Earth have long searched for a new home, the planet Goldilock seems perfect for human habitation, and a team has been dispatched on a two-year mission to explore the planet and determine if it holds any sentient life. Goldilock features an unusual color palette and a beautifully strange array of creatures, and manages to introduce a large cast in its eight pages without feeling overly busy.
And, on the somewhat lighter side of things is Revenge of the Homicidal Pumpkins a B movie-inspired horror comic that doesn't skimp on the blood and guts. Thirteen year-old horror movie buff Robbie Jarvis lives in a small town suddenly plagued by bizarre and gory accidents, accidents suspiciously accompanied by a trail of pumpkin seeds. The comic tempers its sinister squash with an animated look and a wicked sense of humor, ending on a wonderfully gruesome one-liner.
Voting for this month's Zuda contestants will close around noon on Wednesday, September 30.