A Serena NFT Inaugurates Zestworld’s Artist Commission Tool

Serena Williams has ruled women’s tennis for most of her professional career, creating a superhero mystique that’s even been on display in an ad combining her with Wonder Woman.

The next logical step is to make her a true comic book heroine, drawn by one of the best in the business.

Zestworld, a premier digital comics platform for creators, today launched its newest feature: a digital ordering tool that allows regular fans to contact their hero artists to request personal works. Alexis Ohanian, founder of Seven Seven Six and co-founder of Reddit, was one of the first to test it. He worked with award-winning comic book artist Amanda Conner to create an NFT of Williams — his superstar wife — and their daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., as superheroes.

“First of all, when I was asked to do this, I was scared to death,” Conner said. “All I could think of was ‘I’m going to do this…but I really hope she likes it!’ So my first emotion was fear.

Ohanian, also an investor in Zestworld, wanted a classic superhero. He wanted something “very Kryptonian”.

“I think Alexis mentioned she was a Supergirl fan, so he wanted something like that,” Conner said.

The collaboration may have been unusual for Conner and Ohanian, but the new digital ordering tool should make it easier for fans to have a direct relationship with the artists.

“The process today is clunky for fans and artists. Digital commissions are often exhausted by DMs or a creator’s inbox,” says Chris Giliberti, co-founder and CEO of Zestworld. hope to catch an artist in person on a scam, but COVID and rising travel costs are complicating factors.”

Zestworld homepage.

(Handout)

This tool comes as NFTs continue to be a way for artists and collectors to profit from digital art. The rise of NFT also coincides with an increase in digital comic subscriptions, indicating not just a desire but a preference to view art in a digital space.

“I started out as ‘that person’ who was like ‘NFT? What? You can’t hold them back. But when I sat down and thought about it…there are so many people who grew up on ‘The Sims’ and just have a real life and a digital life,” says Conner. “Consuming comics digitally is so convenient…It just makes sense that it would trickle down to NFTs.”

Although digital comics are not as much in the mainstream consciousness as tangible and printed comics, they have grown in popularity more than many realize.

“Webcomic viewership is booming, with titles like ‘Lore Olympus’ generating over 299 million views. The explosive popularity of comic-based storytelling has spilled over into the art market and can be seen in record competition and auction volume,” says Giliberti.

“The other great thing about [selling digital art as an NFT] is that each time it is resold to a new buyer or new art collector, the artist receives a small percentage of it, earning money in perpetuity,” says Conner.

Commissions will be delivered as a print-quality digital file with authenticity verified via minting on the eco-friendly Polygon blockchain. Zestworld also receives a 2.5% commission on sales, but in the end it’s all about the art created. For purists who only want pencil and ink drawings, Conner thinks that if you want to get the artist’s true intent on their work, they’ll have to change their way of thinking.

“It’s more accurate when you do it digitally,” she says. “When you do it the traditional way and it’s for printing, there’s always a risk that the print will be off or the colors will be too dark. Digital is super pure.

A screenshot of an artist's commission request page.

Jim Mahfood’s Zestworld request page.

(Handout)

Artists currently posting on Zestworld include Peter J. Tomasi, Alex Segura, Eric Canete, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Conner. A new wave of designers joining them includes Jim Mahfood, Joëlle Jones, Phil Jimenez, Tania del Rio and Josh Adams.

With the commission tool, who knows what kind of creations and connections can be made. Conner, who calls herself “so bad at tennis”, got to see a side of Williams she may not have known so much before.

“When she’s with Olympia, it’s so adorable,” the artist said. “They’re so cute I’m going to explode!”

Aurora J. William