Today, we celebrate the 1st year anniversary of Comicology. Even though the blog, was technically in existence as early as 2005, with some stop-start comic posts, this was the day a year ago, when I decided to streamline the blog as a whole, by cluttering off old posts, and starting afresh. It was a fruit for my long desire to start a blog where we will discuss comics past, present, and possibly future.
Over the lengthy journey, if this humble initiative had achieved even 5 to 6 regular readers, then I believe the original concept for starting an exclusive comics blog would have achieved its goal.
Hopefully, we will continue to go from strength to strength through our future posts. For now, let’s look at few comics news around the globe, to mark our occasion.
#1: Tintin’s Abandoned Cousins Make World Debut in India
COMIC book series created by world-famous Belgian cartoonist Herge is being revived and will soon make a world debut in India.
While Tintin, the intrepid cub reporter created by Herge, acquired iconic status, the antics of the Brussels' street urchins Quick and Flupke remained mostly unknown. But in November, 100 years after Herge's birth, Quick and Flupke will be rolled out in a 12-volume series of comics for the first time from India, the Indian Express newspaper has reported.
"India will be our testing ground before taking it to other countries," Uday Madhur, managing director of Euro Books told the paper. Euro Books has been distributing the popular Adventures of Tintin series for the past decade and has now procured the rights of Quick and Flupke. The cartoon series is about two goofy boys who unintentionally cause trouble, much to the annoyance of their parents and the police. Quick and Flupke made their debut in 1930 in the short-story format in the Le Petit Vingtieme newspaper, one year after Tintin appeared in the same newspaper.
But with the success of Tintin and publishing some 310 gags of Quick and Flupke, Herge decided to devote his time to the adventures of Tintin and his clever white terrier, Snowy. Source: indianexpress.com & theage.com.au
Comicology’s Call: We have reviewed Euro Books previous comics releases over here at Comicology. But this release is a big letdown for the company. Even though, I agree that Quick & Flupke have a classic touch to them, by the mere fact of being the brainchild of TinTin’s creator, they lack the punch to garner the interest of an enthusiastic comic collector. The artwork is a big let-down, and the 2 page comic stories dont add credits to the series. No wonder, why Herge decided to concentrate on TinTin alone.
#2: Virgin Comics is Closed
After rumours began swirling late last week, Publisher’s Weekly now confirms that Virgin Comics has closed. The SoHo offices have been shut down, the staff let go and principals Sharad Devarajan, Gotham Chopra and Lance Leiberman have not returned attempts by the media to get details.
Virgin Comics has issued the following statement:
"Virgin Comics announced today that it will be reorganizing its operations and closing its New York office to consolidate in an LA base. The Company is currently working with management to restructure the business and will release its future plans in the next few weeks.”
Sharad Devarajan, CEO, said, 'We remain excited about the business and partnerships we have built through Virgin Comics and are working towards a restructuring that properly takes the business forward. The decision to scale down the New York operations and concentrate on core activities is due to the current macro-economic downturn and is in no way a reflection on the dedicated and valuable employees we have had the privilege to work with.' "
Gotham Entertainment, based in Bangalore, is expected to remain in operation.
Virgin Comics is another in a long line of start-ups that have failed to succeed in either the direct sales comic book market or crossover to mass market readers. Their Shakti line was not dissimilar to CrossGen’s own universe while their Director’s Cut imprint seemed modeled on Tekno Comics’ model of using Big Name people to bring in curious readers. The lack of a successful marketing campaign and inability to get readers excited about the material contributed to the line’s failure. Source: comicmix.com
Comicology’s Call: It’s sad that we have to cover a news about a comic company’s closing doors, during our 1st year anniversary post, and that too about one which had its roots in India. Virgin had all the ingredients to be a successful comics venture, with their initial focus on creating comics based on Indian mythology, and taking it to global audience with a mix of next-gen artwork and plot. But like many other good start-ups, they drifted from their original concept, and what we see is that it has lead them to their ultimate fate.
We are yet to hear the re-launch of Gotham Comics Indian editions, and this news doesn’t put all the good signs on that effort. Even though the final statement saying that Gotham Comics at Bangalore will continue to function, adds some hope to otherwise shoddy saga. Let’s stay hopeful.
UPDATE (11/08): It seems the management of the company was bought over by the Indians who started the business in association with Virgin Comics. The new company is now called Liquid Comics, and it seems their current focus is only on holding with the movie rights which were discussed during Virgin’s association. So, them into Comics now looks a distant future, which means its officially a closure of Gotham Comics.
I guess its more than what we hoped to cover in our 1st year Anniversary post, as we saw an equal share of good and bad news altogether.
Let’s hope our dream project Comicology grows better and stronger, with more ardent comics fans (Comikers, as we term them over here) will start becoming more and more interactive with their comment contribution in future posts. I am staying confident, let’s see what the future holds, while we move on with this amazing journey.