Open Book Vultures
Over the weekend, a company called Open Book Press (link no longer available) sent out a press release trying to capitalize on the misfortune of Speakeasy. Here are excerpts, complete with snarky commentary from yours truly.
Open Book Press Offers a Ray of Hope to Speakeasy Creators
Wow, how magnanimous of them. Sounds a bit like a charity service, like a suicide prevention hotline or something.
North American book and graphic novel publisher, and soon to be comic publisher Open Book Press, is issuing a public statement that it is willing to discuss and review materials from creators who are now left without a publisher due to the closure of Speakeasy Comics on February 27th 2006.
Then again, maybe not. They don’t publish comics, but they’re willing to talk to people with prepared projects, only they don’t promise anything. What are they really providing?
Open Book Press had only just recently changed its guidelines to state that submissions would only be accepted or solicited at public appearance events where an editor was in attendance. Now the company is making an exception for anyone who had a comic series being published or slated to be published by Speakeasy.
“Let me make this clear so there are no misunderstandings. We are not saying that we will open the flood gates and passively envelope the entire Speakeasy stable. What we are saying is that we are willing to make an exception in our submission guidelines in order to help out the creators who are now stuck in the lurch. I can guarantee that we will not be accepting any and all Speakeasy Comics submitted to us. We’re not looking to spread ourselves thin with too many titles, what we do want to do is help out those creators and add to our new comics stable by picking a select handful of books that we feel have the most potential.” added Gagnon.
Ah, they’re offering only the ability to mail submissions, making it clear that they want to cherry-pick cancelled Speakeasy titles. Wouldn’t the professional, business-like thing to do be to contact the creators they’re interested in directly instead of throwing open some weird kind of email cattle call?
And since when does an announcement of this level of disinterest justify a press release? It looks to me like Open Book wants to dance on another company corpse just to get their name out there.
(Note that I’m ignoring the various typos and punctuation errors found throughout this document. They’re another indicator of the level of professionalism on display, but I figure the people that know that have already noted the errors.)
In fall 2004 Open Book Press acquired SMASH! Comics, another comic book publisher based out of Toronto, that was experiencing difficulty. Now the line has been revamped and set to re-launch in May 2006, with buzz saying this new SMASH! Comics line will revolutionize the industry. Open Book Press has also approached the owners of Speakeasy Comics to express interest in a similar deal where Open Book would buy the left over assets of Speakeasy. So far Open Book Press has only expressed interest to the owners of Speakeasy who have not made any public response or scheduled any discussions.
Ah, now I recognize the name. I tried to review a SMASH! comic once. Amateur work, shoddy printing… That doesn’t give me confidence in the new company, especially given their love of meaningless hype like “will revolutionize the industry”. I also don’t trust any company that tries to conduct negotiations in public, as with this supposed “offer”. I wouldn’t blame Speakeasy for ignoring these clowns.
More details can be found at: www.openbookpress.com
Actually, no, they can’t. This press release, at the time of writing, wasn’t posted there. The last update at their site appears to have been two months ago.