Looking to use a webcomic to build support for a forthcoming print edition, Dark Horse is launching The Misfits of Avalon, a new fantasy series by Kel McDonald that will debut online today. McDonald will publish a new page of Misfits of Avalon online everyday until the trade paperback of volume one is released on October 7.
McDonald is a veteran web comics and print cartoonist as well as creator of Sorcery 101, a popular urban fantasy web comic hosted on her site for nearly 10 years. McDonald launched Sorcery 101 as a web comic in 2005 and says the web series has been “has been my primary income for the past 6 years.” McDonald said launching the new book as a web series makes sense, “because [the web] is where I’ve had the most success in the past.”
Web Comics, she told PW in an email interview, “generate a solid amount of interest in a project and reach more than the average comic fans,” and explained that “the fan base I already have knows to look online for what I’m working on. So that already will give Misfits of Avalon a bit of a leg up when it comes to spreading the word.”
The trade paperback of Misfits of Avalon will be released in October, the first of three print volumes collecting the web comic. McDonald described Misfits of Avalon as fantasy mixed with a “a tiny bit of Irish Mythology,” and said plot focuses on “a team of magical girls—think Sailor Moon—who are all jerks. They are given magic rings from Avalon and charged with retrieving Excalibur from a reincarnation of King Arthur.”
She also described MOA as “it’s own thing” and not a spinoff of Sorcery 101, a popular web comic about a character who teaches at a prep school in an otherwise normal seeming world populated with vampires and werewolves, while learning sorcery on the side. She’s winding down Sorcery 101 after a 10 year run. “I wanted to build up and branch out with something brand new and totally unrelated,” she said. “So whereas Sorcery 101 is pretty much straight up Urban Fantasy and draws from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Dresden Files, Misfits of Avalon is pulling from more magical girl anime and teen drama, routing through King Arthur.”
McDonald negotiated the publishing deal without an agent, noting that Dark Horse president and publisher Mike Richardson saw her work during the Stumptown Comics Festival. “He came over to our tables and told us to pitch Dark Horse Presents [a DH anthology series]. After doing a few short stories for DH Presents, I put together the pitch for Misfits of Avalon. So it’s a little bit of them approaching me for the short stories and then me approaching them with something bigger than they asked for.”