Finding a jumping off point from Phil’s recent article about a possible revival of the world of ReBoot, he and I decided the whole Zeros 2 Heroes initiative might be worth another look. So, I decided to create myself an avatar and see what the site has to offer to comic creators and lovers of the form alike. Granted, the experience was limited, as the site is just starting with its live beta, but there’s enough there to pick apart. So grab a leg, hold on tight, and yank with me, won’t you?
Like any social networking site worth its web-spinners, an avatar is your face to the rest of the users, and Z2H provides a functional, though as-yet bare bones, create-a-character program, in which you can choose your sex, skin color and tone, and then scrape at the leftovers for hair styles, shirts, pants, and accessories. If the site wants to grow into a healthy community, these options should be expanded, and quick. From my limited time on these sites (MySpace, Facebook, Digital Webbing, etc.) I’ve found that a convincing and satisfying avatar can be the fine line between extended attention span and a click-it-and-leave-it attitude.
Having birthed my cute little doppelganger, I set to exploring the offering of the beta site thus far. The ReBoot ThinkUp (their word, not mine) makes up most of the site at this time, giving examples of the work the community hopes to do in the future. The current config does offer a search engine for finding other creators and fans that is nothing new but also seems to be simple enough to be readily functional. Whether or not it will actually end up connecting creators to one another remains to be seen.
To assist creators in… well, creating, they have the MyStudio application which, while not yet up-and-running, promises to provide tools to make the creative process easier on just about everyone. If you’ve listened to our Weekly Updates, you know that I’m not a fan of middleware muddling the creative process. Programs like Flash and tools like the Wacom tablet are fine and dandy as they help to enhance the creative process, but I’ll reserve judgment on these promised assistants until I’ve actually seen what they are and what they offer.
The previously mentioned ThinkUps seem to be the biggest, most original draw of the site. ReBoot has been chosen as the first property to ask for help from you, yes you, the adoring fans, and I’m sure that if its even remotely successful, others will follow, though not necessarily of such a well-known name or brand. Currently, the biggest draw for this ReBoot fanboy is to ensure that at least one of these pitches never sees production (The Last Guardian ends the first issue’s script with Bob, the series’ main protagonist, lighting up a cigarette, an act completely out of character for someone born out of a children’s cartoon). If Z2H is able to lock down more obscure, but still much-loved franchises to butcher or bolster as they see fit, then this could become a big, if largely controversial draw for the community. Care about how ReBoot is rebooted? Go check out the pitches for yourself and make your opinion known!
Finally, the last two areas supplement the networking aspect, with ZedWorks (named for the site’s disgustingly cute avatars) being a place to display works and ZedCon acting as a classifieds for comic creators, ala DigitalWebbing.com. Again, this is nothing new, but it could help to work hand-in-hand with the creative supplements the site hopes to offer to bring in those creators seeking to find a foothold in the biz. And at the end of my session, that really seems to be the desired audience; newbies and the less-acclimated, at least in one area or another, hoping to make an impact in comics and not knowing where to start.
I’ll be checking back with Zeros 2 Heroes regularly, if only to try and whip my Zed into shape, but I offer my well wishes to the folks behind the site! It’s not for me, but if they’re able to grab some great, untested talents with their network, then the media world at large will have yet another farm league to pull from at their leisure. Wait, maybe that’s not a good thing…