ComiXology cofounder and former CEO David Steinberger and former ComiXology head of content Chip Mosher have announced a new comic book publishing company, Dstlry. In an April 13 announcement, Steinberg and Mosher said that they have been working on the venture since leaving the Amazon-owned ComiXology last summer.
“Comic creators have historically received the short end of the stick when they create great characters and storylines for traditional publishers,” said Steinberger and Mosher in a joint statement. “Dstlry is truly a creator-owned endeavor, with creators co-owning the company their creations fuel. It just makes sense that as creators help build the brand, they receive equity.”
Focusing on creator-owned comic books and collectibles, Dstlry will offer customers limited physical and digital item drops, available online or in-store at local comic shops. According to Steinberg and Mosher, the company aims to provide creators with fairer deals, in addition to a stake in company ownership, to fairly compensate popular creations.
As part of the effort, in Dstlry's digital marketplace digital owners can resell items at a price of their choosing, with a percentage of resale going back to the creators, while each physical issue will be a limited-edition premium collectible. More details about these physical and digital collectibles will be announced later.
"Each founding creator holds an equity stake in the company, and Dstlry has set aside an additional 3% of company equity to be distributed among all creators who release projects during the first three years of Dstlry's publishing slate," the company announced. Allocation is based on title performance.
According to the release, the following artists and writers are founding creators: Scott Snyder (Batman, Wytches), Tula Lotay (Barnstormers), James Tynion IV(Something Is Killing the Children, The Joker War), Junko Mizuno (Pure Trance, Ravina the Witch?), Ram V (Detective Comics, The Many Deaths of Laila Starr), Mirka Andolfo (Sweet Paprika, Mercy), Joëlle Jones (Lady Killer, Catwoman), Jock (Batman: One Dark Knight, Wytches), Becky Cloonan (Wonder Woman, Batgirls), Brian Azzarello (100 Bullets, Joker), Elsa Charretier (Love Everlasting, November), Stephanie Phillips (Grim, Harley Quinn), Lee Garbett (Spider-Man, Skyward), Marc Bernardin (Adora and the Distance, Star Trek: Picard), Jamie McKelvie (The Wicked + The Divine, Captain Carter), and founding editor Will Dennis (Y: The Last Man, Snow Angels).
Additional creators and teams are expected to be announced later this year. Dstlry's investors include publishers Kodansha USA and Groupe Delcourt, video game industry veteran John Schappert, tech strategist Mike Vorhaus, and film producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura; Schappert, Vorhaus and di Bonaventura also serve as advisory board members.
“Chip and David have a rare pairing of skills, the ability to recognize true artistry and the technological wherewithal to elevate it,” said di Bonaventura. “Artistic growth is spurred when its creators are nurtured and properly compensated for their achievements. This new system and its shared equity model will provide an invigorating environment which will foster great storytelling.”