Comics are back as NFTs.
Retail brand Funko, creators of the Funkopop collectibles, has teamed up with DC Comics to offer a new comic book in both physical and digital form. The physical bundle includes a comic book cover from DC Comics’ “The Brave and the Bold” — the cover of the comic is also being released as a redeemable NFT.
Fans of DC who buy the collectible can connect their cryptocurrency wallet to the World Asset eXchange (WAX) network, a blockchain supporting over 60 million NFTs, including items created in the past by Funko, Topps, and Atari.
Comic book storytelling is growing as a form of “utility” for NFT and crypto holders, a deliverable attaching value to NFTs and uniting a community. The team behind the Gitcoin platform crafted a comic book that represents the Ethereum community and the fight to beat human miscoordination. The story’s plot follows the Ethereum community (the coordination) as they unite to defeat Moloch (the miscoordination), also known as the God of coordination problems. The comic, offered as a digital download and in print form, is at its third issue now, and is notorious for bringing together community collaboration and lore. To bring the Gitcoin comic to life, the project worked with comic writer Josh Baylock, the founder of Devil’s Due Comics.
Comics: The power of lore and crypto community is on the rise
PixelVault’s PUNKS Comic, another collaboration with Baylock, is an example that has already raised millions and drawn together investors. PUNKS Comic was a unique project that provided immediate storytelling utility to those who collected it. For a cost of 0.2 ETH, team Punks Comic released 10,000 NFTs in May 2021 and went on to create multiple additional drops. When collectors bought the base token, they received both an NFT and a downloadable comic, created alongside writer Blaylock and artists Chris Wahl (Marvel & DC) and odious.
Most recently, PFP project Deadfellaz has dropped a community-vote-driven comic story via Twitter as a part of their collaboration with denim brand Wrangler.
Comic books are a multi-billion-dollar industry with a history going back to the early 20th century and a legacy of collecting and trading that feels aligned with the NFT community. There is an enormous potential for NFT projects with built-in audiences, community-owned lore, and established PFP characters to create proprietary narrative universes, with comic books as their launchpad.
Beyond comics, there are a range of NFT and Web3 storytelling possibilities. Orchard Farm Productions with Mila Kunis created Stoner Cats, the first TV show funded entirely through NFTs. Stoner Cats, an “adult animated series centered on five house cats who mysteriously become sentient,” allowed crowdsourced creative elements, such as storyboards and character designs.
In Web3, storytellers and fans can create new stories as a community. Voting and governance systems allow fans to determine which projects get funded and how the story develops after the funding.
The promise of direct audience collaboration and creative freedom is enticing for storytellers. For a long time, the cultural narrative has been controlled by publishers and centralized media companies that generate revenue for shareholders instead of creators. NFT storytelling and lore can allow creators and fans to focus on the stories rather than being tied to commercial or marketing interests.
As projects search for a way to expand their collector offering and build a strong roadmap, storytelling, and lore, IP can be a strong product that does not rely on complex and costly technological development. The storytelling could become the foundation for a metaverse or game if successful. NFT projects that create narrative IP can build a movement around it and generate licensing and media revenue.