Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Ducks are Cooked

No, I'm not talking about holiday dinner. There's something going on at Gemstone, and it hasn't been talked about nearly as much as I think it should be. So, I'm going to talk about it.

Gemstone, owned by Diamond Distribution's owner, Steve Geppi, is aparently having some financial difficulties. These money troubles are forcing the publisher to discontinue publishing Micky Mouse and Friends, Donald Duck and Friends Mickey Mouse Adventures and Donald Duck Adventures until further notice, citing the rising cost of paper as the primary reason. For now it appears that they will still publish Walt Disney Comics, Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck, but I guess we shall see what happens to these.

Rich Johnston's Lying in the Gutters from Comicbookresources.com has a lot of detail about what's going on behind the scenes in this whole unfortunate incident. Click here to read his column. The Disney mention is about 1/2 way through. One of the colorists on one of the canceled titles said this:
"My understanding is that accounts payable is not releasing payment. There has been no explanation as to why this is happening, or even when to expect payment.

"Once again, I'm imploring readers to not think poorly of the editorial staff at Gemstone in light of this situation. They honesty have done everything they possibly can do, but it's no longer in their hands."

This morning there was a link in the Lying in the Gutters column showing Geppi's mansion house out in Maryland, but when I went there now to reference it for this blog post, the link was gone. Instead the following comments were added:

UPDATE: Jon Clark of Gemstone emailed the column to say "Please reassure everyone that all companies owned by Mr. Geppi are healthyand that freelancers will be paid shortly."

Hmm, did it also say, "you'd better take down the photo of Geppi's house before his attorney calls you?" I kinda think it did.

Geppi has quite a story, of rising from local mail man to the owner of several corporations. Click here to read more about him. He owns the monopolistic Diamond Distribution, the publisher Gemstone, former Hake's Americana auction house now called Heritage Auctions, Diamond Galleries and the new Geppi's Entertainment Museum. Google him - there are LITERALLY over a dozen pages on him!

Clearly the man shouldn't be hurting for money. Aparently poor little Gemstone is. I don't get the paper cost argument either. The cover price on their comics is average to high, plus the comics aren't original stories, so they're saving money on not having to pay people to create new stories. I'd love to know what's really going on here, but I doubt we ever will. If the cost of paper continues to go up we'll all be in trouble because then the cost of all comics will have to go up or they'll have to stop making them.


Randall H. said...

thats a shame. i liked their books.
this is probably where all the money went:

Lisa said...

Yeah, I kinda thought that too Randall. Between that and his HUGE house and his ownership in the Baltimore Orioles you'd think he could keep Gemstone in the black. Guess that paper's pretty expensive. They are good books and I've got a few really loyal fans that shop here, so it is unfortunate that they're having troubles and cancelling those comics.

Randall H. said...

i found this too>
"It's kind of an odd cancellation, and reminds me very much of people who automatically lie rather than tell the truth, even for the most innocuous things.
Diamond/Gemstone quotes paper cost increases. Now, most people could handle a 50¢ increase. $3.50 isn't all that unusual in today's comic market, and considering that they feel a half-buck is adequate for the thicker "prestige" books, it certainly should be enough for the comics."

looks like we're not the only people who think this paper increase thing is hogwash.

heres the link:

Randall H. said...

heres that link to Steve Geppi's house:

Jimmy's Pal, Mia T. said...

I wonder if it's connected with this:

"I was at the Baltimore comic con, and I already knew about the Geppi Museum. I could not find a SINGLE piece of information about it at the con. I'm not saying it wasn't there, just that I couldn't find it. And I looked. It was spitting distance from the con, and I couldn't find it."

Lisa said...

Or it might be that Gemstone spent all kinds of money on this: http://scoop.diamondgalleries.com/scoop_article.asp?ai=14049&si=121
and it didn't work out.