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 (link no longer available) 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.