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Speakeasy Comics was a Canadian publishing company of comic books and graphic novels. It was founded in August 2004 by Adam Fortier, and ceased operations on February 27, 2006.

History

In August 2004, Speakeasy Comics (based in Toronto) was founded by Adam Fortier. Previously, Fortier had worked for comics publishers Dreamwave Productions (where he revived the Transformers licence in comics), Devil's Due Publishing, UDON, and IDW Publishing.

In March 2005, the company published its first titles, the debut issues of Atomika and The Grimoire.

In November 2005, it was announced that Speakeasy had concluded a financing deal with Los Angeles-based Ardustry Entertainment, for a stated two-way purpose: Speakeasy would now also develop comics based on licenses brought by Ardustry, while Ardustry would represent Speakeasy's comics properties in the entertainment industry (movies, videogames, etc.) [1] [2]

However, it was learned later (according to Ardustry's Wayne Williams, who handles Business Affairs for the company) that the deal was only an option to buy Speakeasy, which expired without materialization. Cash flow problems led to Speakeasy's demise before they could materialize various lucrative licensing deals, such as with HBO (The Sopranos or Deadwood).

At 3:30pm EST February 27, 2006 Vito Delsante (who had been handling public relations for Speakeasy Comics) announced by email[3] the immediate closure of Speakeasy, with all March-solicited books still shipping, April and May's being tentative, and June's being cancelled.[4] The company, however, didn't file for bankruptcy, officially in order to try and pay people owed money.

In March 2006, only Beowulf #7 was published. In May 2006, Diamond Comic Distributors's monthly list of cancelled comics listed all the remaining unpublished Speakeasy comics, with the terminal cancel code 10 ("Supplier Out of Business").[5]

Controversies

  • Speakeasy canceled orders on two months of previously ordered comics.[8]
  • Creators allegations of non-payment[9] and mismanagement of projects[10] started circulating.
  • In January 2006:
  • Creator Sal Cipriano announced he cancelled his Bio Boy series at Speakeasy, but was keeping The Hill there.[11]
  • Creator Matt Maxwell announced he had amicably parted with Speakeasy for his Strangeways series.[12] Four issues had been solicited but still not published.
  • Chimaera Studios announced moving their 8 series (Mutation, Of Bitter Souls, Super Crazy TNT Blast renamed Twilight Men, Smoke & Mirror, Lonebow, Wargod, Project Eon, and Silent Ghost) from Speakeasy to Markosia.[13]
  • Jonathan Martin's "Speakeasy Comics Archive" (a blog dedicated to Speakeasy-related news [14][15]) was shut down, presumably under "trademark infringement" litigation[16], however this has not been verified.
  • Creators Jose Torres and Chris Dibari announced moving their series The Hunger to Markosia.[17]
  • No comic was published by Speakeasy this month.

Publications

During its operation, Speakeasy Comics:

  • Published numerous comics series in monthly magazines (such as The Grimoire #1-7, a modernization of Beowulf #1-7, Gatesville Company #1-2, Spellgame #1-3, Hero At Large #1-2, Helios: In With the New #1-2, Athena Voltaire: Flight of the Falcon #1, etc.).
  • Had published comics series which later went to other venues before Speakeasy's demise (such as Atomika #1-4, Rocketo #1-6, Of Bitter Souls #1-3, Mutation #1-3, Smoke & Mirror #1-2, Super Crazy TNT Blast #1, Lonebow #1, Wargod #1, Adventures of Bio Boy #1-2, The Hunger #1-5).
  • Had published the web comic Butternutsquash.net as a quarterly title. Butternutsquash #1 was published in November 2005 but the second issue was never solicited due to the company closure.
  • Had announced or solicited comics series which went to other venues before publication (such as Strangeways, Project Eon, Silent Ghost, O.C.T. - the Occult Crimes Taskforce).
  • Intended to collect some series in trade paperbacks when sufficient material had been created, however all solicited TPBs were eventually cancelled (such as Atomika Volume 1, Grimoire Volume 1, Beowulf Volume 1). Usually didn't reprint sold-out monthly issues, except for Atomika #1.[19]

Also, on a business model not unlike that of Image Comics, they:

Circulation

Speakeasy titles had sales judged disappointing by some.[who?] Based on pre-order sales through Diamond Comic Distributors reported by industry resource site ICv2[21], Speakeasy's top-selling monthly comics during its year of operation were:

  • (2005.03) 7,756 copies (rank 190) for Atomika #1 [22]
  • (2005.04) 6,116 copies (rank 187) for Atomika #2 [23]
  • (2005.05) 3,305 copies (rank 213) for Grimoire #3 [24]
  • (2005.06) 5,726 copies (rank 231) for Atomika #3 [25]
  • (2005.07) 3,717 copies (rank 208) for Beowulf #3 [26]
  • (2005.08) 6,381 copies (rank 203) for Atomika #4 [27]
  • (2005.09) 2,019 copies (rank 251) for Smoke & Mirror #1 [28]
  • (2005.10) 2,946 copies (rank 250) for The Grimoire #6 [29]
  • (2005.11) 3,130 copies (rank 248) for Beowulf #5 [30]
  • (2005.12) 2,463 copies (rank 273) for The Grimoire #7 [31]
  • (2006.01) -- no comics published this month [32]
  • (2006.02) 2,718 copies (rank 246) for Beowulf #6 [33]
  • (2006.03) -- one issue published but not ranked in Top 300 (i.e. less than 2,632 copies) [34]
  • (2006.04) -- no comics published this month [35]
  • (2006.05) -- no comics published this month [36]

References

General references:

Footnotes

Specific references:

  1. speakeasycomics.com
  2. Comic Book Resources - CBR News: Looking inside the Speakeasy/Ardustry Deal with Adam Fortier
  3. http://www.comicsreporter.com/images/uploads/Delsante_E-Mail.doc
  4. Speakeasy Closes Its Doors - Newsarama
  5. http://previews.diamondcomics.com/support/previews_docs/orderforms/archive/2006/MAY06/Cancel.txt
  6. COMICON.com: 12/15 ATOMIKA # 5 IN STORES NOW
  7. Atomika Leaves Speakeasy To Self-Publish - Newsarama
  8. http://www.comicon.com/thebeat/2006/01/speakeasy_cancels_comics_order.html
  9. Speakeasy Update » Comics Worth Reading
  10. http://comiccommentary.blogspot.com/2005/12/link-even-more-on-speakeasy.html
  11. speakeasycomics.com
  12. Highway 62: Strangeways News
  13. Chimera Leaves Speakeasy, Joins With Markosia - Newsarama
  14. http://www.comicon.com/thebeat/2006/01/blogging_speakeasy.html
  15. http://loosepgs.blogspot.com/2006/01/update-update-shoot-small-presses-dont.html
  16. http://speakeasycomics.blogspot.com/
  17. The Hunger Leaves Speakeasy For Markosia - Newsarama
  18. ROSARIO DAWSON'S O.C.T MOVES TO IMAGE/12 GAUGE - NEWSARAMA
  19. speakeasycomics.com
  20. speakeasycomics.com
  21. ICv2 News - ICv2's Top 300 Comics & Top 100 GN's Index
  22. ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-March 2005
  23. ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-April 2005
  24. ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-May 2005
  25. ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-June 2005
  26. ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-July 2005
  27. ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-August 2005
  28. ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-September 2005
  29. ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-October 2005
  30. ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-November 2005
  31. ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-December 2005
  32. ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-January 2006
  33. ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-February 2006
  34. ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-March 2006
  35. ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-April 2006
  36. ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-May 2006

External links

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