22 July 2011

The Xeric Foundation’s Change of Focus

This month the Xeric Foundation announced that after one more grants season it will stop giving money to independent comics creators seeking to self-publish.

Founded with the overflowing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles money in 1992, Xeric has been supplying selected comics work with funds and attention for two decades. Among this year’s grant recipients was Seamus Heffernan for Freedom (sample pages here).

But technology and market conditions have changed, and it’s no longer necessary (and, to some respect, feasible) to seek a readership by offering a paper product through comics retailers. Storytellers are turning to the web, where the reproduction cost is small and the potential reach is broad.

But where’s the money? The web offers some possibilities. This same month, Publishers Weekly posited that Kickstarter had become the third-largest independent (non-DC, non-Marvel) publisher of graphic novels. The source of funds has spread out among readers. In a way, we’re all the Xeric Foundation now.

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