David Steinberger, co-founder/former CEO, and Chip Mosher, former head of content of ComiXology, Amazon’s digital comics distribution platform, unveiled DSTLRY, a next-gen comics publisher looking to redefine creator-owned comics and collectibles. Steinberger and Mosher have been working on this venture in stealth mode since leaving Amazon last summer.
The vision of the company includes premium content, hassle-free digital collectibles, and a more equitable comics industry. Customers will be offered limited physical and digital item drops, made available both online as well as in-store at local comic shops. For creators, they will be provided with fairer deals along with company ownership.
“Comic creators have historically received the short end of the stick when they create great characters and storylines for traditional publishers,” said co-founders 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.”
DSTLRY’s investors include international publishers Kodansha USA and Groupe Delcourt, along with video game industry veteran John Schappert (Madden, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Xbox LIVE, Zynga), business executive Mike Vorhaus (Vorhaus Advisors), and film producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura (the G.I. Joe and Transformers film series). Schappert, Vorhaus, and Di Bonaventura make up the company’s Advisor Board committed to the company’s vision.
DSTLRY’s Founding Creators include as well as renowned writers and artists such as:
- Founding Editor Will Dennis (Y: The Last Man, Snow Angels)
- “I’ve based my entire editorial career on bringing together the best talent and helping them to do what they do best, so joining up with Chip and David seemed like the natural culmination of that ethos. They are building an incredibly innovative company where creators can really have fun making the comics they want to make, and I couldn’t be more excited about the amazing projects we have cooking. Watch this space!”
- Scott Snyder (Batman, Wytches)
- “I’m truly thrilled and honored to be a part of the launch of DSTLRY! I’ve been in comics for a decade and a half and I’ve never been more excited about an opportunity than this one. DSTLRY’s commitment to creators is unparalleled, from the creative to the fiscal, which is why they’ve attracted such an inspiring murderer’s row of talent. Bottom line, this is the best new space in comics for creators, and I can’t wait for you all to see the books we’re all making for you.”
- Tula Lotay (Barnstormers)
- “I’m so excited to be part of this new chapter in comics. I can’t believe I’m among such great talents. It feels like the beginning of something very special.”
- James Tynion IV (Something Is Killing the Children, The Joker War)
- “What excited me most about my conversations with Chip and David was their creative ambition. I had a whole line of titles in my head that I knew I couldn’t do alone, and now I can do them bigger and better than I had ever imagined, alongside a truly stellar roster of creators. I’m very excited about what the future holds for DSTLRY, and more than that, I’m excited to bring these new titles to life.”
- Junko Mizuno (Pure Trance, Ravina the Witch?)
- Ram V (Detective Comics, The Many Deaths of Laila Starr)
- “I’m very excited to be creating new stories at DSTLRY alongside some incredible creative talents. Chip and David are bringing a modern, innovative approach to comics publishing in the creator-owned space—one that is supportive of my ambitions as a writer/creator/storyteller while bringing forth exciting ideas in terms of a new digital playground for readers. I’m looking forward to telling these new stories and I cannot wait to see the new ideas DSTLRY fosters among both its creators and its readers!”
- Mirka Andolfo (Sweet Paprika, Mercy)
- “Having produced comics from both Europe and America, DSTLRY excited me with a solution that redefines digital distribution, collecting, and sales in a way that could profoundly disrupt the global comics market. When David and Chip first talked to me about the company (it was just an idea, at that point), I was hooked by their vision, which is now our vision. I can’t say how proud I feel to be among such big names, with my fellow founding creators!”
- Joëlle Jones (Lady Killer, Catwoman)
- “I started my career in creator-owned comics and it was hard to resist returning after discovering DSTLRY. The new strides in digital and creator-owned incentives immediately grabbed my attention. I can’t wait to show you the next-level comics we’re crafting.”
- Jock (Batman: One Dark Knight, Wytches)
- “I’m hugely excited to be working with a publisher as aggressive and progressive as DSTLRY. It’s no surprise that the team that heralded comiXology is approaching digital collectibles ethically and smartly in a way that should grow the comics market, while still embracing our local comic stores. Chip and David have created something special here and I can’t wait to share what we have coming up!”
- Becky Cloonan (Wonder Woman, Batgirls)
- “My heart has always been in creator-owned comics, and this bold new opportunity celebrates the medium while keeping its eye on the future of sequential storytelling. Me and my collaborators are cooking up something ambitious and winding and dark—a story that feels right at home with DSTLRY.”
- Brian Azzarello (100 Bullets, Joker)
- “These are exciting times for our medium, and it’s thrilling to be on the cutting edge. As most comic readers know, it’s where I do my best work.”
- Elsa Charretier (Love Everlasting, November)
- “I’m incredibly excited to join DSTLRY and be a part of what might very well be a revolution in creator-owned comics. David, Chip, and the team have an outstanding track record when it comes to bringing a breath of fresh air to our industry, and I couldn’t be happier to tag along.”
- Stephanie Phillips (Grim, Harley Quinn)
- “I’m very excited to be working with DSTLRY to bring new stories to life alongside a host of incredible creatives. Chip and David are committed to finding new ways to engage readers through print and digital comics, while also supporting creatives and allowing us to tell the best stories we can. I can’t wait for readers to see what’s to come from DSTLRY…”
- Lee Garbett (Spider-Man, Skyward)
- “Having produced comics for both the big two superhero publishers as well as the creator-owned staples, I’m ecstatic to be a part of the next era of comics. DSTLRY is forward-thinking, sustainable, and ambitious in ways the industry has yet to witness. Stay tuned. Exciting times ahead!”
- Marc Bernardin (Adora and the Distance, Star Trek: Picard)
- “Life is too short to make comics with people you don’t like. I had the most wonderful time working with Chip and David on Adora and the Distance and Census, so when they told me they were launching a new publishing company—one that would feel different from every other and incentivize creators to do their best work—I jumped at the chance to hop aboard. I’m excited to see how it all comes together!”
- Jamie McKelvie (The Wicked + The Divine, Captain Carter)
- “I’m really excited to be working with DSTLRY to move comics in an entirely new direction, and honored to be among the founding lineup that features some of the best creators in the industry. Chip and David have created something unique with DSTLRY and I can’t wait to see where we all take it.”
There will be more Founding Creators, creative teams, and a publishing rollout announced later this year. Each Founding Creator holds an equity stake in DSTLRY and the company has set aside an additional 3% of company equity to be distributed among all creators who release projects during the initial three years of the DSTLRY’s publishing slate with allocation based on title performance. It’s a structure that aligns the company with the creators, whose work often goes on to define the pop culture landscape, but unfortunately tends to be under-recognized and under-compensated.
The publisher’s single-issues will be first available in print at local comic shops while digital copies will be available for purchase up to one week later after release on dstlry.co. Eco-friendly digital issues will be fully owned by customers who will be able to resell them on the DSTLRY marketplace, what is being described as “Stub Hub for digital comics.” This marketplace will provide benefits such as discounts, exclusive drops (releases), and meetups with the creators (dependent on the item).
When a digital owner resells their item on the DSTLRY marketplace at a price they set, a percentage of resale goes back to the creators, while each physical issue will include a limited-edition premium collectible. More details to come on these collectibles, stay tuned!
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