ComiXpress shuts down

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Print on demand supplier ComiXpress has shut down after nine years. In a statement on their site, they wrote:

When we started ComiXpress back in 2004 it was just a handful of comic book creators with a dream to use new technologies to help their fellow creators get their books into print. We were lucky enough not only to have the know-how to make this dream a reality, but also the passion necessary to see where the road took us. Over the course of these nine years we have served hundreds of creators and printed thousands of books. And from the smallest single-copy order for an aspiring cartoonist not even in their teens to huge convention orders for industry legends, we have sincerely loved every minute of it.

As our nine year anniversary approached we took a step back and looked at how we’ve grown in that time and what the next nine years might mean for us – both as a company, and as the creative individuals who make up the pieces of that company. Ultimately, after much soul-searching we realized that although it’s been an amazing nine years, sometimes things just run their course and we’ve made the decision to close our doors. This decision wasn’t made lightly but we feel it’s time to close this chapter.

On the technical side, we wanted to let you know that all paid for orders will be shipping promptly, but no other orders will be moving forward. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.


While there was a smattering of outcry on social media, this doesn’t seem to have broken too many hearts–Ka-Blam has become a go to dedicated comics printing site, there’s Lulu, and others on this surely outdated list. ComiXpress was the printer for Cerebus Archive, the collection of various Cerebus-related ephemera, which were the best selling titles on the site, although all the internal pages seem to have been taken down.

We don’t know enough about the POD industry to comment any more on this, but from outside it seems to be another business plan that just wasn’t working any more. If you know any more, please post in the comments.

Comments

  1. Clydene says:

    This is sad.

  2. No great loss, from what people have said in the past about their service. And, as noted in the article, Ka-Blam have stepped in to take their place increasingly in the last few years (as well as services like RA Comics Direct) and do a better job of it.

    One thing that is sad, however, is that POD services have been vanishing with increasing regularity these last few months… is this the end for that model? Has digital eaten into this pie, rather than the traditional comic distribution model?

  3. If you do a Google search for Comixpress, you will note that a large number of the results indicate that working with Comixpress is not a good idea. They had major issues with non-communication and had extremely long waits for printing. When RA Comics Direct came along with comparable pricing, one-week turnarounds and actual real-time email communication, the switch was a no-brainer.

  4. There is a pod in Mesa, AZ that a lot of local comic creators are using. Don’t let the promotional art scare you off. I haven’t used them but I have heard good things. http://www.readycomics.com/

  5. I had good experiences with ComiXpress. Marc was a fine liaison, and I wish them all the best in their future endeavors.

  6. I find it a shame just because my very first comic came out through Comixpress way back in 2004, but yeah, I (like many others) switched to Ka-Blam for comparable/slightly better print quality and much, much shorter lead times, and never looked back. Those worried that POD is going away, though, note that on his Twitter over the weekend, Ka-Blam’s Barry Gregory noted that they just financed the purchase of two new printing presses, so they aren’t planning on going anywhere.

  7. I made the switch from Comixpress to Ka-Blam in 2008; I agree with the sentiments already expressed. I’m hoping Dave Sim makes Cerebus Archive available on Ka-Blam, as I’m missing the last few issues.

  8. I am sad to hear that they are shutting down their business. I thought they did a great job. I printed large scale printer and had delays and other issues. I know others had voice concerns. But my dealing with them was always positive. I wish everyone ay ComixPress the best of luck in thier next adventures.

  9. I heard so many rumors about how terrible they were- but they did an amazing job with my anthology. On time, courteous and professional. Hope they go on to bigger and better things.

  10. I generally had positive experiences with Comixpress as well. They even helped me print a comics anthology for my wedding! They will be missed.

    I am glad there are other companies to fill their shoes. Print on demand really has been a great thing for us self publishers who did’t want to have boxes of unsold books taking up space in their apartment for years to come. :)

  11. Is it sure that they shut down because the business model wasn’t working or because they weren’t making money? From their statement, it sounds like the passion just wasn’t there anymore — I’m sure it can be an endless grind if your heart is not in it. On the other hand, I guess if it was thriving, they could have at least offered it for sale.

  12. My experiences with ComiXpress have been positive since I started using them since 2009 for “The Monster Movie Fan’s Guide To Japan.” Jodi has always promptly responded to any questions.

  13. I can’t speak to the specific model Comixpress used, but this notion about some purported problem in general with the print-on-demand model for comics is certainly not supported by the evidence I have at my disposal.

    Here at Ka-Blam (http://ka-blam.com) we’re in our 8th year of operation. At last check we had just shy of 15,000 registered users (and we may have surpassed that by now). We seen growth every year of operation. Presently our volumes are running at an all time high and we were implementing expansion plans even BEFORE this news about Comixpress.

    The work is labor-intensive, the profit margins are relatively low, and we’re ever at the mercy of temperamental equipment , but seven plus years in and business is very good and growing.

    And c’mon … aren’t low wages , hard work, and bad temperament what comics are all about anyway?

  14. The Beat says:

    Barry, thanks for posting. As I said in the piece, I’m not dialed in to the POD business, so I’m glad people have amplified on it in the comments.

  15. Good article. I have dealt with both ComiXpress and Ka-Blam and just from my experience with both services I find it sad on one side that ComiXpress closed because of what they do for indy creators, but I know that Ka-Blam is going strong and will pick up the slack for anyone who is wanting to get their books printed.

  16. M.AnthonyGerardo says:

    Ive been using KABLAM for a few months now…. VERY HAPPY!

    I tried testing out ComiXpress and they screwed up 1 single proof by printing a BLANK page… how does any company screw up a single issue??
    this was after waiting a week for them to accept the paypal…. Very telling of why they went out of buisness.

  17. Well, apparently your mileage may vary.

    I used ComiXpress and was very pleased with their proof service. I ordered ten copies of the fifth issue of our series Remnants to give away with #1-4 for Free Comic Book Day last month.

    I also proofed a trade paperback and was impressed with the speed, price, and quality of service. I’m sad to see them go out of business.

    That said, ka-blam is overall, an incredible company to work with. On the rare occasion there has been a problem (limited to deadlines, never to print quality in my experience) they’ve gone far out of their way to remedy the problem.

    Ka-blam comes highly recommended and represents everything positive about the vital POD enterprise, a chance for independent writers and artists to reach their audience with a PHYSICAL PRODUCT that doesn’t have to have a little diamond on the corner of it.

    This mixed with digital distribution gives Indy guys like me a chance.

    Sorry to see ComiXpress go. But long live Ka-blam.

  18. Hi, this is Marc, 1 of the former owners of ComiXpress. Just to give some clarification, the company was doing fine and we were all making a living. Both Logan and I decided that it was time to move on to bigger opportunities in the printing industry. We had toyed with keeping the company opened as a side-business, but felt that it was not fair to the creators not to give it our full attention.

  19. Oh and Steve, what issues of Cerebus are you missing? If I have any on the shelf I’ll send them to you. You can e-mail me at marc@comixpress.com

  20. I had some posters printed with Comixpress, I was happy with them, still have one hanging up in my art room. I’ve used Ka-Blam for most of my work, having been recommended and have had great luck with them. I hoe the Comixpress guys do great in their endeavors, I thank them for being part of a revolution that has made it possible for the little guy to get their work out there.

  21. Chuck Whelon says:

    Im only surprised it took them this long to go out of business. I used ComiXpress for a while, back in the mid 2000’s. they were generally terrible. Books took months to arrive, there was no customer service and the print quality was very poor, I relation to others I have used. Also they charged quite a hight set up fee for each book. I also tried Ka-Blam, who were ok quality – wise, but not very user- friendly in my opinion.

    I now use DriveThruComics.com exclusively. They have a really great POD device for trade paperbacks. I’m honestly not sure if they do comics or not, but as far as I can see, the margins on POD comics are so thin it’s hard for anyone to make much money without terrific volume. Margins on trade paperbacks are much better, and the quality at DriveThru is superb. You can even do hardbacks for only a few $$ more.

  22. I am busy mulling over whether to have another company (I am checking into Ka-Blam and others) either resume printing of “The Monster Movie Fan’s Guide To Japan” (I have plenty in stock, so I am in no hurry) in the current edition (with some modifications) or to do a second and revised/updated edition. I am leaning towards the second option at present.

    It never “took months to arrive” when I reordered stock. They came in a reasonable amount of time with ComiXpress.

  23. This comes as a shock to me! I was just prepping a new issue for press and then realized that comixpress was no more! I am surprised that people had a bad experience with them. I did two runs of issues with them and couldn’t have been happier. They rushed orders for me, gave me proof tips, and were all around helpful. Sad to see them close their doors.

  24. a.k.a. says:

    So disappointed that Comixpess has shut down. I was getting files ready for them. They did a really great job with the first 4 issues of my Indy Book, Mythography. Sometimes they were late but I always got a good response. I really liked the style of their ad page too – “Revolution in Comics” Anyway I’m sure they’re better off. Ka-Blam is fantastic too. I guess I’ll be using them full-time.

  25. Its a shame, sites like that are great for creators.

  26. Comic Creator says:

    It’s a shame. I found out about it shortly after they closed in May. My last issue was printed just before ComiXpress shut dwn. From my personal experience they were fantastic! Judy was very nice and helpful. Whenever I had a question I received a response within the same day – even minutes after I sent it! They were located close to NY so that was great. I had no complaints about them. I truly miss them. I haven’t found a good POD place in over a year, which really set me back on producing my comic book series. Lulu was a bit pricy and I’ve read some bad reviews about Ka-Blam so I want to avoid them. I recently discovered some place called RA Comics Direct. Haven’t printed anything yet but their prices are good and I heard god reviews about them so I’ll give them a shot. But I still miss ComiXpress, they were still the best in my opinion…

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