Gemstone ends Disney license?

Numerous reports today that Gemstone, the publishing arm of Diamond don%20rosa Gemstone ends Disney license?Distributors, is ending its Disney license, meaning that the core Disney characters once again have no American publisher. According to a post on

The Disney Comics Blog:

Gary Leach, who has been doing art and editorial work for US Disney comics for over two decades, reported on the DCML yesterday that “Gemstone is not renewing the Disney comics license, and won’t be putting out any more issues”. This sad news means the end of Disney comics in the United States, at least those with classic Disney characters like Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse. Gary added that “Disney is looking for someone else to take the license” and he believes that they do have some candidates, although nothing is nailed down at this point.

A mailing from Diamond indicated the following cancellations:

Donald Duck Adventures: Lost In The Andes/Return To Plain Awful The The Daan Jippes Collection Volume 2: Donald Duck Family
The Don Rosa Library Volume 1: 1987-1988
The EC Archives: Tales From The Crypt Volume 4
The EC Archives: Vault Of Horror Volume 2
Uncle Scrooge Adventures: The Mysterious Stone Ray/Cash Flow Walt Disney Treasures – Donald Duck: 75 Unlucky Years
Walt Disney’s Spring Fever Volume 3
Walt Disney’s Vacation Parade Volume 6
Walt Disney’s Christmas Parade #5
Walt Disney’s Comics And Stories #699-on
Uncle Scrooge #384-on

The loss of the Rosa volume is especially saddening to long time fans.

In February, it was announced that Gemstone was closing its Missouri office, but publisher Russ Cochran was moving to Erie, Pennsylvania to continue work on Disney and EC archival editions.

 Gemstone ends Disney license?

Comments

  1. I wonder if the EC books are profitable enough for Gemstone to continue doing them. Ugh.

  2. It really seems like IDW or Boom! would jump on something like this.

  3. Jroug says:

    Would think Boom! has the inside track (if they want it/asking price is reasonable) – but what is driving the EC cancellations? EC isn’t a Disney license, is it? Is Gemstone a lost cause without the Disney income?

  4. Amazing, that Donald Duck is without a distributor -in a lot of countries he outsells superhero books by a wide margin.

  5. There was no Disney income. Outgo was exceeding income, and Gemstone owed money to many vendors. The core publishing staff including Editor John Clark was was laid off on March 20th.

  6. “publishing arm of Diamond”

    I always wondered how this was even possible. I can’t think of a market where the distributor competes with the companies it’s distributing.

  7. Oliver, in this country, Disney comics sales are horrible… I think the last postal filing was around 7,000 copies for the deluxe WDC&S. (If memory serves, that was towards the end of Gladstone’s run.) Those numbers probably include overseas fans who either are completists, fans of the original English, or dedicated Disneyphiles.

    The titles and stories are great, it’s just difficult to get them into the hands of kids. Gemstone tried color digests, but that was unsuccessful. I think a showcase/essential format would work best, either in color or black-and-white, printed on cheap paper. Offer hardcover editions to the fans, both domestic and foreign.

    My preference would be to have IDW obtain the license, as they do a better job with both archival material and licensed books. BOOM! is producing Pixar and Muppet titles. Checker is reprinting the CrossGen properties. Slave Labor Graphics has a few movie licenses. Unfortunately, while the classic Disney characters are well known in the United States, the comics and cartoons are not marketed well.

    Since Gladstone revived the license, there have been various attempts to market the license. Marvel partnered with Gladstone for newsstand distribution (as well as producing movie tie-ins). Gladstone lowered cover prices by printing the cover on the same paper as the interior pages. Disney themselves tried an upscale, modern line. Gemstone tried various trade paperbacks.

    My best to John Clark and the staff of Gemstone. They produced some quality stories and have much of which to be proud.

  8. Tom Galloway says:

    Damn. If only the Rosa volume hadn’t been delayed, we at least would’ve gotten that much. That’s the publication I really hope someone else picks up.

  9. Jroug says:

    “I can’t think of a market where the distributor competes with the companies it’s distributing. ”

    That would be your friend the music business.

  10. Cory Strode says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that having Archie publish the Disney titles would be a great idea both for a distribution aspect and a pricing aspect? I love the Disney Duck titles, but the price point from Gemstone was just too high.

  11. comicsatemybrain says:

    This week’s LITG says that Gemstone is actually closing and that this year’s Overstreet Price Guide will be their last product.

  12. Scott Rowland says:

    Very, very sorry to read this. My condolences to all the good people at Gemstone, and my thanks to them for bringing us such wonderful books over the years.

  13. Alan Coil says:

    Cory said:

    “I love the Disney Duck titles, but the price point from Gemstone was just too high. ”

    Cory, the price per page of the Gemstone titles (Uncle Scrooge and Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories) was the same as any Marvel or DC book, about 13 cents per page. Most issues of both titles had 60-61 pages of story. 60 times 13 cents is $7.80, and the books cost $7.95. (22 pages times 13 cents is $2.86, with most Marvel and DC comics costing $2.99…at least until recently.)

  14. I won’t miss the monthly comics, but I loved the book collections. The 2 Barks Ducktale books were a great affordable package and I gave several pairs for my local library’s collection. My greatest personal regret is the unrealized second Daan Jippes book, a top artist drawing the Jr. Woodchucks stories which Carl Barks wrote. Even Barks’ rough drawn scripts show more inspiration than the lackluster efforts of the original artists.

  15. Y.L.A. says:

    Alan, Gemstone titles should not have the same per page cost as a comic book. Each 22 page comic has to have a color cover on glossy paper. More pages and less packaging should equal less cost.

  16. majorjoe23 says:

    But there’s also the Disney licensing fee to figure in.

  17. “I can’t think of a market where the distributor competes with the companies it’s distributing. ”

    Think about the various positions of Time-Warner in television….

  18. comicsatemybrain says:

    To Ray Cornwall and Jroug:

    “but what is driving the EC cancellations? EC isn’t a Disney license, is it? Is Gemstone a lost cause without the Disney income?”

    Correct, EC is not owned by Disney. The problems that Gemstone is experiencing go beyond just whether the Disney license was profitable.

    The EC Archives sold well, but Gemstone is behind in paying its printing bills. They are in fact under the gun for $373,000. http://www.wolfstad.com/dcw/blog/2009/02/future-of-us-disney-comics-in-jeopardy/

    Mike Kronenberg has reported over at the Marvel Masterworks boards that a number of solicited EC volumes are completed, but the printer will not print them until Gemstone gets their account up to date. (…and without printing more books, Gemstone’s ability to generate revenue is hampered. I’m sure you can see how this can lead to a cashflow problem!)

    Work on future EC volumes has been suspended for at least the time being.

  19. Alan Coil says:

    Also figuring into the price of the Gemstone comics was that they were printed on high quality paper and had cardstock covers.

    And quality wise, almost all the stories in the Gemstone Disney books was high quality, something that cannot be said for the common Marvel and DC books.

    Ya gets what ya pays for with Gemstone. Or, at least ya used to.

  20. R. Maheras says:

    The saddest part about all of this, to me, in not that Gemstone opted to let their Disney license lapse. It’s the way Don Rosa — a stand-up guy who once said drawing Donald and the gang was his “Manifest Destiny” — was driven from doing what he loved by the policies and shenanigans of some of his U.S. and overseas publishers, and, of course, Disney.

  21. Brian says:

    Many thanks to the good people of Gemstone who made the Uncle Scrooge line possible.

  22. In this market, I would assume that an American distributor would step up to the plate here…

Trackbacks

  1. […] That picked up steam Monday with a post from Heidi MacDonald and an item from Rich Johnston, who included word of Gemstone’s closing and the supposed end of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. Gemstone Associate Publisher Jeff Vaughn later denied those assertions, adding: “I can’t comment on the other material in the article at this point, but I am certain that both the EC line and the Disney line will continue in one form or another.” […]

  2. […] Heidi MacDonald, The Beat, picked up a story on the Gemstone troubles from the Disney Comics Worldwide Blog. Looks like no EC Archives for a while. […]

  3. […] Kollege Schlüter von der Frankfurter Rundschau hat die Nachricht sogar als Aufhänger seines Jubiläums-Artikels verwendet. Die Aussage “Die Veröffentlichung einer Gesamtausgabe des legendären Enten-Zeichners Don Rosa wird ebenso wie die Heftreihe ‘Donald Duck Adventures’ eingestellt” im Text ist freilich etwas fragwürdig – von der angekündigten Don Rosa Library ist in den Staaten nicht einmal der erste Band erschienen, ehe die Reihe eingestampft wurde. Eine Liste aller gecancelten Disney-Comics in den USA findet sich hier. […]

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