Speakeasy Comics

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Speakeasy Comics
Status defunct, 2006
Founded 2004
Founder Adam Fortier
Country of origin Canada
Headquarters location Toronto, Ontario
Publication types Comics

Speakeasy Comics was a Canadian publishing company of comic books and graphic novels which operated from 2004–2006. Based in Toronto, Speakeasy published monthly comics, creator-owned independent series, original graphic novels, and collected out-of-print creator-owned comics series that had originated with other companies. Its best-known titles were Atomika, Beowulf, The Grimoire, and Rocketo.

Although Speakeasy made a big public relation splash and announced a large lineup of monthly titles, it had trouble almost from the beginning in following through with its plans. Warren Ellis characterized the short-lived company as "one publisher getting it wrong from start to finish: releasing too many books, without a support structure, releasing comics without a dedicated marketing plan."[1]

History[edit]

Beginnings[edit]

Adam Fortier founded Speakeasy Comics In August 2004. (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 a sign of trouble to come, however, that same month, Yoshitaka Amano's Hero, a highly anticipated graphic novel, was cancelled and postponed one year. It was resolicited in February 2006 for tentative publication in April 2006, but cancelled again in May 2006. (It is now being published by Boom! Studios.) In October 2005, creator Frank Espinosa announced the moving of his Rocketo series to Image Comics.

In November 2005, Speakeasy announced it had concluded a financing deal with Los Angeles-based Ardustry Entertainment: 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.)[2][3]

Troubles[edit]

Also in November 2005, Speakeasy-owned titles Beowulf, The Grimoire and Spellgame went through several creative team changes. In that same period, only a few months after signing with the publisher, Atomika creator Sal Abbinanti split from Speakeasy to self-publish future issues Atomika.[4] under his own Mercury Comics label.[5]

In December 2005, Speakeasy canceled orders on two months' of previously ordered comics.[6] Creator allegations of non-payment[7] and mismanagement of projects[8] started circulating.

Speakeasy published no titles in January 2006. That month, creator Sal Cipriano announced he had cancelled his Bio Boy series, but was keeping The Hill there.[9] Creator Matt Maxwell announced he had amicably parted with Speakeasy for his Strangeways series.[10] Four issues had been solicited but never published.

Also in January, Chimaera Studios announced they were moving their eight series — Mutation, Of Bitter Souls, Super Crazy TNT Blast [renamed Twilight Men], Smoke & Mirror, Lonebow, Wargod, Project Eon, and Silent Ghost — from Speakeasy to the British publisher Markosia.[11] Creators Jose Torres and Chris Dibari announced they were also moving their series The Hunger to Markosia.[12]

In addition, Jonathan Martin's Speakeasy Comics Archive (a blog dedicated to Speakeasy-related news)[13][14] was shut down, presumably under "trademark infringement" litigation.

In February 2006, creators of the series O.C.T. - the Occult Crimes Taskforce announced their move to Image Comics.[15]

Closure[edit]

On February 27, 2006, Vito Delsante, Speakeasy's "unofficial" public relations director, announced via email[16] the immediate closure of Speakeasy, with all March-solicited books still shipping, April and May's being tentative, and June's being cancelled.[17] The company, however, didn't file for bankruptcy, officially in order to try to pay its outstanding bills.[citation needed]

Comics reporter Tom Spurgeon charactered the company's demise this way: "... right now you have to have sustainable capital, publishing skill, marketing ability, something some people want, and enough perspective to let those factors and not personal ambition define the enterprise. I didn't see any of that with Speakeasy...."[1]

It was later revealed (according to Ardustry Entertainment's business affairs manager, Wayne Williams)[citation needed] that the November 2005 deal between Speakeasy and Ardustry had only been 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 and Deadwood).[citation needed]

Speakeasy intended to collect some series in trade paperbacks (such as Atomika, Grimoire, and Beowulf), but all solicited TPBs were eventually cancelled. 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").[18]

Publications[edit]

Monthly titles[edit]

  • Athena Voltaire: Flight of the Falcon #1
  • Beowulf #1–7
  • Butternutsquash #1 (Nov. 2005) — webcomic planned for quarterly publication; only issue published as part of a plan to publish quarterly
  • Elk's Run #4 — creator-owned series
  • Gatesville Company #1-2
  • The Grimoire #1-7
  • Helios: In With the New #1-2
  • Hero At Large #1-2
  • Phantom Jack: The Nowhere Man Agenda #1 — creator-owned series
  • Spellgame #1-3

Cancelled/debuted with other publishers[edit]

  • O.C.T. — the Occult Crimes Taskforce
  • Project Eon
  • Silent Ghost
  • Strangeways

Moved to other publishers[edit]

Graphic novels/graphic novellas[edit]

Collections[edit]

Circulation[edit]

Based on pre-order sales through Diamond Comic Distributors reported by industry resource site ICv2,[20] Speakeasy's top-selling monthly comics during its period of operation were:

  • (2005.03) 7,756 copies (rank 190) for Atomika #1[21]
  • (2005.04) 6,116 copies (rank 187) for Atomika #2[22]
  • (2005.05) 3,305 copies (rank 213) for Grimoire #3[23]
  • (2005.06) 5,726 copies (rank 231) for Atomika #3[24]
  • (2005.07) 3,717 copies (rank 208) for Beowulf #3[25]
  • (2005.08) 6,381 copies (rank 203) for Atomika #4[26]
  • (2005.09) 2,019 copies (rank 251) for Smoke & Mirror #1[27]
  • (2005.10) 2,946 copies (rank 250) for The Grimoire #6[28]
  • (2005.11) 3,130 copies (rank 248) for Beowulf #5[29]
  • (2005.12) 2,463 copies (rank 273) for The Grimoire #7[30]
  • (2006.01) -- no comics published this month[31]
  • (2006.02) 2,718 copies (rank 246) for Beowulf #6[32]
  • (2006.03) -- one issue published but not ranked in Top 300 (i.e. less than 2,632 copies)[33]
  • (2006.04) -- no comics published this month[34]
  • (2006.05) -- no comics published this month[35]

References[edit]

Sources consulted[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Spurgeon, Tom. "Speakeasy Comics Shuts Its Doors," The Comics Reporter (Feb. 28, 2006).
  2. ^ press release, Speakeasy Comics (Nov. 29, 2005). [dead link]
  3. ^ Weiland, Jonah. "Looking inside the Speakeasy/Ardustry Deal with Adam Fortier," Comic Book Resources (Nov. 28, 2005).
  4. ^ "ATOMIKA # 5 IN STORES NOW," COMICON.com (Dec. 15, 2005).
  5. ^ "Atomika Leaves Speakeasy To Self-Publish," Newsarama [dead link]
  6. ^ "Speakeasy Cancels Comics Order," Comicon.com's The Beat (Jan. 2006). [dead link]
  7. ^ Draper Carlsen, Johanna. "Speakeasy Update," Comics Worth Reading (Dec. 19, 2005).
  8. ^ "Even More on Speakeasy,"l Comic Commentary blog (Dec. 2005). [dead link
  9. ^ speakeasycomics.com [dead link]
  10. ^ Highway 62: "Strangeways News," Highway 62 blog (Jan. 2006). [dead link]
  11. ^ "Chimera Leaves Speakeasy, Joins With Markosia," Newsarama. [dead link]
  12. ^ "The Hunger Leaves Speakeasy For Markosia", Newsarama. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Blogging Speakeasy," The Beat (Jan. 2006). [dead link]
  14. ^ "Update Update Shoot Small Press Don't," Loosepgs blog (Jan. 2006). [dead link]
  15. ^ "ROSARIO DAWSON'S O.C.T MOVES TO IMAGE/12 GAUGE," Newsarama. [dead link]
  16. ^ Delsante, Vito. Delsante email, archived on The Comics Reporter website (Feb. 27, 2006).
  17. ^ "Speakeasy Closes Its Doors," Newsarama. [dead link]
  18. ^ Monthly list of cancelled comics, Previews (May 2006).
  19. ^ speakeasycomics.com
  20. ^ ICv2 News - ICv2's Top 300 Comics & Top 100 GN's Index
  21. ^ ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-March 2005
  22. ^ ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-April 2005
  23. ^ ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-May 2005
  24. ^ ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-June 2005
  25. ^ ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-July 2005
  26. ^ ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-August 2005
  27. ^ ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-September 2005
  28. ^ ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-October 2005
  29. ^ ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-November 2005
  30. ^ ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-December 2005
  31. ^ ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-January 2006
  32. ^ ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-February 2006
  33. ^ ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-March 2006
  34. ^ ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-April 2006
  35. ^ ICv2 News - Top 300 Comics Actual-May 2006

External links[edit]