Slowly but surely, comic book publishers are starting to acknowledge that people like reading comics on computers: Dark Horse has Dark Horse Presents, Marvel has Marvel Unlimited, and DC Comics has Zuda Comics--a showcase/contest of sorts, in which 10 comics are featured each month. Those 10 stories are voted on by the public, with the winner scoring a year-long contract with DC.

Vic Boone--an eight-page-long comic that Portland writer Shawn Aldridge created with his college friend, artist Jeff Winstead, and Winstead's wife, colorist Rachel Winstead--has been selected for competition in the most recent batch of Zuda contenders. Described by Aldridge as a "a mix of sci-fi B-movies and pulp detective [novels] set in Portland," Vic Boone is now available online. Hit the jump for Aldridge's reaction to getting selected for the competition by one of comics' biggest publishers.

"I'm super excited about it," the 34-year-old Aldridge--who sounded appropriately enthusiastic--told me a few minutes ago. "Trying to break in as a writer in comics is probably the hardest thing in the world," he later added, and he's right: Breaking into comics is incredibly competitive, as anyone who's visited a big comic book convention, or even frequented comic book message boards, knows. But getting a story up on Zuda isn't only an impressive feat--it'll also serve Aldridge and the North Carolina-based Winsteads well when it comes to pitching future projects.

"Regardless of whether you win or lose, those eight pages are on Zuda forever," Aldridge says. And while plenty of aspiring comic creators have calling cards and portfolios, having something up on Zuda is significantly higher-profile: Vic Boone has only been online for two days, but it's already been viewed over 3,000 times.

You can check out Vic Boone here. Or, if you hate Portland and don't give a shit about about supporting talented local artists because you're a total asshat, you can read the other stories in this month's competition here.