Chip Zdarsky will write + draw ‘Public Doman’ for his Substack newsletter

His collaboration with Kagan McLeod, ‘Kaptara,’ will also return as a digital comic.

Chip Zdarsky is the latest creator to sign on as a premium content provider for Substack. In what has been an eventful week for the email newsletter platform, Zdarsky joins Skottie Young, James Tynion IV, Saladin Ahmed and others in posting comics through their newsletters for those willing to pay.

“So, last year I finished illustrating Sex Criminals. It was bittersweet. The bitter was that I loved creating it and was sad to see it go,” Zdarsky wrote. “The sweet was that my hand was a mashed mess of mincemeat from drawing and colouring 31 issues of a book and it was nice to kick back and relax and instead write 13 books for Marvel and DC. But then I had an idea. And now, like an absolute moron, I’m destroying my hand again.”

Zdarsky’s first comic for his Substack newsletter audience may or may not sound familiar if you’ve followed Zdarsky’s ongoing, probably-not-serious-but-what-do-I-really-know rivalry with artist Ryan Stegman (with heavy shades of the Superman legal drama thrown in).

Public Domain is about a family of comic creators wrestling with their greatest creation and the people who lay claim to it,” Zdarsky said. “It’s a look at the industry through a fractured family and will feature a comic book artist nemesis named Brian Stegman.”

He also plans to share behind-the-scenes details on the comic’s creation.

“I’ll be posting everything here along the way: the process, the scenes, the final books,” Zdarsky said. “It’s a chance to breathe life into the monthly comics grind by showing you all what goes into a comic. It’s mostly tracing photos of hands, but still!”

Public Domain isn’t the only comic Zdarsky is working on for Substack. Like Young, he’s also bringing back an older Image title, in his case Kaptara with artist Kagan McLeod.

“Kagan has been producing gorgeous pages and I’ve been writing ‘interesting’ words, and we’ll be posting the results here for you, along with a handy catch-up guide for the uninitiated,” Zdarsky said. You can find the first Kaptara series on comiXology.

Zdarsky said he will no longer attend comic conventions, but plans to bring that sort of feel to his content, including mail-in signings, Zoom panels, sketches and exclusive variants. $7/month will get a basic subscription, which includes all the comics, while $250/year will also get you “Chipnut Image variants,” which are variant covers of upcoming comics.

Finally, Zdarsky said that since Substack is funding the first year, he plans to donate his subscription money for the first year to charity to Rainbow Railroad.

“One of the times I donated to them was after I co-wrote a Hulking book for Marvel with Anthony Oliveira. I donated my writing fee because, really, Anthony wrote the damned thing, while I just cheer-led and gave bad notes,” Zdarsky said. “I donated in his name since he refused to take the money and the fine folks at Rainbow Railroad thought he died. I’M SO SORRY ANTHONY.”

If you’ve subscribed to Zdasrky’s newsletter in the past, you know it also includes a healthy dose of his brand of humor. That doesn’t appear to be going away, at any tier. You can find out more about signing up here.

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