QUOTE(fae_alba @ Mar 30 2012, 06:25 AM)
merch needs to follow the shorts.
A very good observation here by Paul! Although there is no harm done in having the merch available beforehand.
And everyone else's observations on the different options are very helpful. It's clear that things are definitely in the favor of the vendor!
I'd set up a kickstarter campaign, use the merchandise you have as rewards for those who sign up.
Although not everyone is guaranteed the success largento has had to date, I think you would have a good chance at doing well. Largento has the advantage of a reasonably long and proven track record with the comic, and a lot of other output including a few shorts.
The disadvantage of doing your own merch is that you are doing your own merch, which is not a competency you will want to spend your time on when you could be putting it towards animating. I don't know if this would actually work or not, but ... Maybe you could team up with a company in town to handle production and order fulfillment (including billing), and maybe they would be able to give you a better deal than the online fulfillment vendors.