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.