New Creator-Owned Comics Platform Zestworld Announces Big Funding Haul – Forbes

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THE AWAKENED by Alex Segura, Michael Moreci, Dean Kotz, Jason Wordie – A dark, noir-ish superhero … [+] murder mystery, will debut on Zestworld, a new digital comics platform
Siezing the “creator economy” moment, Zestworld, a digital comics publishing platform, is bounding into the $1.27 billion comics market with a new slate of titles from top creators, fueled by a $9.37 million Series-A raise. This follows a similar move by content subscription service Substack, which got into comics in a big way over the summer and just announced its move to an app-based format, and announcements from the longtime digital comics leader ComiXology around its “ComiXology Originals” lineup.
Zestworld made a splash around the holidays with its kickoff announcement, highlighting co-founder/CEO Chris Giliberti’s focus on securing greater creator equity and participation in IP that has formed the foundation of the top entertainment franchises of the 21st century.
“In recent years, the comic book industry has boomed, producing global hits on a scale unprecedented in the history of entertainment,” said Giliberti. “Contrast this enormous popularity and franchise value with the livelihood of the creators who invented the beloved characters that dominate our culture. It’s time we equip this community with its own dedicated platform specifically tailored to the comics medium and its fans.”
After a months’-long effort to put money behind this vision, Zestworld announced it has closed a Series-A funding round of nearly $10 million led by General Catalyst, with participation from Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six, Polygon Technology, former TaskRabbit CEO Stacy Brown Philpot, Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital and Twitch founder Kevin Lin.
Zestworld says it will use the money to build “the ultimate platform for creators to build their business and manage their community.” Built on a monthly subscription plan similar to Substack or Patreon, Zestworld promises “comic-optimized digital newsletters” on “creators’ own schedules, without having to work against everchanging algorithms or potential shadowbanning that creators often face on other platforms.” “Shadowbanning” is a term some use to allege discrimination against conservative-leaning content by making it less visible and depress engagement on platforms like Twitter.
Zestworld has announced the participation of many fan-favorite comics creators including Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Peter J. Tomasi, Eric Canete, Phil Jimenez and Alex Segura. According to the company, upcoming titles include:

One of the more intriguing aspects of the platform is the mechanism for enhanced social engagement between fans and creators, including private livestreams, exclusive discord communities, access to behind-the-scenes opportunities and the ability to commission art from their favorite artist directly. Harnessing the best aspects of social engagement and content publishing appears to be a popular business strategy as the landscape evolves in the 2020s.
FOUND by Jimmy Palmiotti, Juan Santacruz, Alex Sinclair, a thriller/action series, is set to debut … [+] on digital comics platform Zestworld

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