Speakeasy Shutdown Shocker!

I just received this in email from Vito Delsante:

As unofficial public relations for Speakeasy Comics, I feel it is my duty to inform everyone that as of 3:30 PM today, Speakeasy Comics has shut its doors and will not be publishing comics for, at the very least, the rest of the year. Most, if not all, creators have been contacted and informed. If I’m not mistaken, all books scheduled to ship in March will ship. April and May books are up in the air, while June books are cancelled.

The news isn’t surprising, given the mistakes made by the company and the resulting bad reputation they gained, but how can March’s books ship if the company shut down today? If the company isn’t publishing for the rest of the year, then why are some books “up in the air”? It would seem that their fate would be known and they wouldn’t come out. This raises more questions than it answers.

Update: Newsarama has comments from company head Adam Fortier.

“Money that was supposed to come through never materialized for a number of months. Right now, I’m working on getting money so I can pay back the printers and the creators. All in all though, the creators aren’t really owed a great deal of money — not even a Dreamwave amount, and much less than a CrossGen amount. I’ve called all my creators, I’ve called all my artists, and basically everybody knows that we’re going to take as good of care of them as we can. We’re not leaving anybody out in the lurch, we’re not declaring bankruptcy, we’re not running away from debt, so that’s something, at least.”

True enough. Fortier also says that Speakeasy isn’t likely to return, and “there are no Speakeasy books in any distribution pipeline”, contradicting the message above.

Update 2: Comic Book Resources has posted a history of the company, and Alan David Doane has a lengthy post-mortem analysis in which he discusses the problems of personality-based companies and the need for quality and retailer support.

Update 3: Some Engine speculation (links no longer available): Saul Colt wonders if Speakeasy not declaring bankruptcy is such a good thing, since it means contracts aren’t cancelled and debts are still in force.

Andrew Foley, whose Parting Ways was published by Speakeasy early on is an example of that. They get the rights back, but they still owe the company $3000.

12 Responses to “Speakeasy Shutdown Shocker!”

  1. Rich Johnston Says:

    Probably because stuff’s already at the printer.

  2. Vito Delsante Says:

    Exactly…there’s stuff already delivered to Diamond that will still ship. I should amend that and say that late books that are scheduled for March release (not necessarily March shipping books/January solicits) will be out…the late books made a mess of everything, so I’m sure you’re as confused as I am, Johanna

  3. Paul O'Brien Says:

    “Money that was supposed to come through never materialized for a number of months.”

    Well, duh. How many businesses actually get their invoices paid on time? Sounds to me like it’s probably just another case of a woefully undercapitalised business that didn’t have enough resources to cover its cashflow.

  4. Ed Sizemore Says:

    Does anyone know what books are actually at Diamond and will ship? In particular, the long awaited Amano’s Hero?

  5. Johanna Says:

    I wouldn’t get my hopes up, Ed. Based on Fortier’s comments, I’m not sure that there is anything left at Diamond.

  6. Ed Sizemore Says:

    I know Johanna, but a boy can have his dreams, can’t he? I hope Dark Horse or someone picks up the Amano project, his artwork is too good to sit gathering dust.

  7. Vito Delsante Says:

    My contract is nullified.

  8. Andrew Foley Says:

    For clarity’s sake: I’m assuming we’re going to end up owing the company $3k–that’s roughly how much in the hole SE is for printing and the PREVIEWS ad, and the contract does have a clause whereby creators are expected to pay out for a shortfall.

    When I first heard PARTING WAYS’ initial orders, I panicked, and was assured by Adam that having to pay out of pocket to the company “would never happen.”

    It’d be nice to think that still holds true, but I can’t bear the thought of another disappointment, so I’m assuming the worst and not even daring to hope for the best.

    I’d still like to hear your thoughts on WAYS, incidentally, if you can find any point in reading it, now.


  9. Rich Johnston Says:

    I thought Parting Ways tripped along the gap between genre and non-genre exceedingly well. The mudanity of the extraordinary is one of my faves, and this pushed all the buttons for me – a little like BBC Radio 4’s “Old Harry’s Game”, or CS Lewis’ “Screwtape Letters”. That’s where it sits on my shelf.

    As for Adam’s assurance, that would do for me. Hope you got/are getting plenty of comps…

  10. mike penny Says:

    I read Alan’s assessment on quailty & although I am biased feel that there were some quailty titles at Speakeasy.

    Here’s some review links from Comic Book Galaxy on HELIOS.


    For those that are wondering:
    Helios: “In With the New” # 3 will be in April PREVIEWS to ship in June under DAKUWAKA Productions. It will feature a double-sized issue for $ 4.95 & feature a cover by “Witchblade’s” Mike Choi.
    Check out the newly updated DAKUWAKA web site at:

    Thanks to all our fans for their support through this period.
    Mike Penny President / Dakuwaka
    Co-creator/ Editor HELIOS

  11. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Butcher returns to dissect How To Get Published The Open Book Press Way. I was snarky about one of Open Book’s early press releases back in March, when they tried to capitalize on Speakeasy’s demise. […]

  12. Strangeways: Murder Moon Preview » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] comic has an unfortunate history. It was originally supposed to be a series from Speakeasy; when that company folded, Maxwell decided to self-publish the work as a graphic novel. (The better […]




Most Recent Posts: