MAMMON MACHINE:ZEAL was founded in November 2013 and has grown into an online magazine of alternative and experimental comics and pop culture criticism.
Hi ya'll. I am ZEAL editor-in-chief and founder Aevee Bee. ZEAL was started as a very modest project to fund my own critical writing and make it sustainable, while providing a new venue for emerging artists and writers. Since then, ZEAL has grown tremendously beyond my expectations! It's a place where I get to regularly read the sort of writing I loved and missed from sites like GameSetWatch, Insert Credit, and Nightmare Mode. It's a place for original comics and illustration from my favorite artists. Crowdfunding lets us pay real wages to our contributors in a world where that's getting harder and harder to find, and (we hope) will sustain this project, like the similar sites that got me my own start in games criticism, while remaining completely free to readers so everyone can enjoy our work.
We're interested in finding the value in the unvalued. We want the stuff that couldn't fit anywhere else.
ZEAL is re-opening submissions! Currently, we're looking for:
Pitches for original writing on comics and games.
Pitches for original comics.
Hybrid multimedia work.
ALL SUBMISSIONS GO TO: firstname.lastname@example.org (AND NOWHERE ELSE)
NOTE: Due to the number of submissions we recieve, can't always reply to or accept every submission we get. Our apologies! We often will work with writers on pitches, especially if we like your work, but responses are not a guarantee of publication. Please check these guidelines thoroughly, as we're much more likely to respond if we can tell you read them and are on board for what ZEAL is all about.
What does a good pitch look like?
All pitches should describe the full scope of what you’d like to do (especially if it’s beyond what we usually do—but we absolutely love stuff like that so we encourage you to pitch it!) and why it would be interesting to readers and a good fit for ZEAL. If you've done some writing before, we'd love to see a link to it, too! Around a paragraph in length is best, and we'd like it even if you're submitting completed but unpublished work. Let us know what is new and original about your topic, what your angle is, and what's interesting and exciting about it! We'd like you to have a substantial idea of where you want to go with your idea before you submit. We like to hear about comics and games that are rarely discussed, but we'd also like to hear you discuss them in ways that are fresh and new too. ZEAL's had features on Sonic Adventure's broken geometry and level design, lyric essay on Moomins combining biography, personal reminiscence, and the author's own drawings. We're really open to working with people who are new to writing or don't consider themselves writers, but we do want you have an idea of substance you can execute on. Familiarity with our magazine is a must for knowing what would make a good fit, so please at least skim through to get a sense of it.
What makes a good fit for criticism on ZEAL?
ZEAL does what other games criticism don’t. We’re interested in writing on games that are not generally the target of serious criticism; games that are too weird, too bad, too forgotten, and too anime. We’re also into writing that doesn’t fit in the bounds of what’s normal for games criticism—we like revisionist fanfiction and close readings of art and design by people who know what they’re talking about. We’re less stoked, but potentially still interested, in literary analysis of games or personal narratives involving games, because those forms of writing are well represented in many other places. We love to have personal angles, but we love those best when they're informed by understanding of artistic work too. We’re interested in new angles, and we’re interested in personal writing that’s building on or pushing against or completely disregarding new games journalism.
What makes a good fit for comics on ZEAL?
We’re looking for comics about anything, but we’re especially interested in short work, zines, stuff that’s indie but not getting published elsewhere. Comics, like games, have their own strong indie press scenes now, so we’re looking for artists that mostly make small, self published works. And we’re especially interested in themes and artwork that also runs counter to what is increasingly crystalizing as the Indie Comics Aesthetic. We love the art of ZEAL so much we want to make a small little place for comics and artists and talk about comics and art that’s like the little place that ZEAL is; sustainable, cute, diverse, smart, and extremely powerful.
What stipulations do you have for work that is published on ZEAL? Do I retain copyright?
We publish original, not previously published work only. We retain no rights to it unless specified; we just ask we get to host it exclusively for a month, and to continue to host it on ZEAL's website.
We try to publish around 2-3 times a month. Schedule is subject to change but I will try to warn people when it does. ZEAL is produced entirely in my free time from a full time job and freelance career, so I apologize in advance if it takes me forever to edit or publish your work—we have a lot of submissions and I tend to work with what’s right in front of me! That said, I’ll try to work out a rough schedule with you as you submit your work and I have time to edit it.
We publish all of our work on Medium, so you’ll need a Medium account to submit, which is free and easily obtainable. After your submission is accepted, we’ll ask you to submit a draft that we will edit on there (while jumping through a few of Medium’s annoying hoops).
What do you pay?
We pay $100 for 2-3k words of writing (negotiable).
We pay $100-150 (negotiable) for original illustrations for promotion or article illustrations depending on your rates and our budget (we don't currently have open submissions for original art).
We pay $150-$200 (negotiable) for comics depending on your rates and our budget.
If you're doing something high ambitious and original (or would like to illustrate your own article) we can discuss applicable rates. If you're making something REALLY big, we'd prefer to scale down work or put that work in installments so that we can work within our monthly patreon budget (and give you a fair cut!).
We also start all posts with the following text!
[This comic was funded through Patreon under the ZEAL project. ZEAL aims to provide high quality criticism of rarely discussed games and comics, and showcase the talents of exciting new writers and artists. For details and information on how to donate, please check out our Patreon!]