Monday, February 27, 2006

Hmmm.... Speakeasy Comics R.I.P.

Just a pointer here.

While I take no pleasure in seeing Speakeasy close its doors, this does serve to amplify the concerns I've laid out below.

I've worked with Adam Fortier in his many industry appointments (Dreamwave, IDW, Speakewasy...) he's a truly nice guy but he rose to his level of incompetence, starting a business without the necessary foundation and in the end leaving behind another mess along with disgruntled creators, distributors, retailers and fans, including friends and customers of mine.

From Newsarama:

Vito Delsante, the "unofficial" press liason for Speakeasy Comics (and a creator with two projects that were due to come out through the publisher) has sent out the following statement:

"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. " click here for more + comments...

The more upsetting thing to me and I wish I could just write it off to Adam's frustration and the immediacy of this situation was his comment:
“There’re so many different things, and it’s kind of tough to point to one thing and say, ‘My God, this is the one things that’s destroying all of us!’ It’s very much a self-fulfilling prophecy. In order to be very successful in the comic book industry, I believe that people believe – and so it becomes true – you need to have your series done before you solicit it. You need to be able to show people, you need to be able to give people confidence in the product, and then you need to be able to pay your bills anyway if they don’t have confidence and they don’t really want to support it. Of course what happens there, is that there’s no way to run a company like that. You just can’t do it. Nobody has money like that. Even with millions, like CrossGen, it couldn’t be done. So, if the multi-millionaires don’t have money to be able to run a company like that, what hope does anybody else have?”

The only truth in this declaration is that, in order to be succesful in this industry that you do, "... need to be able to show people, you need to be able to give people confidence in the product, and then you need to be able to pay your bills anyway if they don’t have confidence and they don’t really want to support it." That Adam still shirks that responsibility, blaming other sources for his failure, as well as his comparison to CrossGen are ridiculous and empasizes the up hill battle to legitimacy that this industry faces.

That is the true essence of a commercially viable enterprise. If you have a product that you expect people to pay for, to commit their fiscal interest in, be it a Distributor, Retailer or Fan, you MUST be able to earn their confidence that you're not some fly-by-night-cash-grab-flake, as well as being able to pay your bills when reality fails to meet your expectaions.

If you can't do that, you have no business calling yourself a business, you are just a vanity press. Unfortunately, these final comments from Adam are likely to be the one point that will stick for most people and I'll try to feign suprise when the next few months exposes a few new pretenders who still refuse to do their due diligence before throwing their hat in the ring of comic publishing.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Robert,

    It's funny - one of my concerns with Speakeasy all along was I couldn't see the benefit of going with them. The only advantage seemed to be being listed in Previews with other Speakeasy titles. But aside from that, the margin they offered retailers wasn't great and that pesky re-order penalty was still there. All this and one had to pay a fee to them on top of it.

    I had no idea how things would fall out, but Speakeasy (despite being headquartered in Toronto, just a few hours away from here) was not going to be a company I pursued.

    I'm saddened by the loss of any company - but I think you nailed the situation pretty accurately.

    Eric "Von Allan" Julien