Platinum $20 million in the red

200904211335Hm, whatever happened to Platinum and their 5000 comic book properties? It’s been a while since we checked in, but luckily, Van Jensen has just taken a look at Platinum Studios’ year end report — available free right here — and the picture is…not good. Right off the bat, the company is $20 million in debt, but the problems go on and on. For instance, the company has had a hard time paying their rent:

Our offices … consist of approximately 12,400 square feet. We entered into a five year lease for our offices which requires payments of $31,857 per month or minimum annual payments of $127,429 in 2006, $387,383 in 2007, $402,878 in 2008, $418,993 in 2009, $435,753 in 2010 and $298,147 in 2011. Our lease expires on August 31, 2011. We are currently in arrears in our rent but the landlord has been willing in the past to work with the Company to enter into a payment plan that allows the Company to bring payments up to date while remaining in our space; however there can be no guarantee that the landlord will continue to allow the Company to work out a payment plan.

But there is good news!

On Feb. 26, 2009 the Company and Hyde Park Entertainment commenced production on “DEAD OF NIGHT”. This film is based on the best-selling Italian comic book series, ‘Dylan Dog’, created by Tiziano Sclavi and published by Italy’s Sergio Bonelli Editore. The comic book series has sold more than 56 million units worldwide and has been translated into 17 languages since its debut in 1986. Principal photography is taking place in New Orleans, Louisiana.

DYLAN DOG — a long-running European comics hit and just published in a sweet omnibus edition here by Dark Horse – that sounds good. But in a long list of lawsuits, one also finds this:

Harrison Kordestani v. Platinum. Harrison Kordestani was a principal of Arclight Films, with whom the Company had entered into a film slate agreement. One of the properties that had been subject to the slate agreement was “Dead of Night.” Arclight fired Mr. Kordestani and subsequently released Dead of Night from the slate agreement. In late January 2009, Mr. Krodestani had an attorney contact the Company as well as its new partners who were on the verge of closing the financing for the “Dead of Night.” Mr. Kordestani, through his counsel, claimed he was entitled to reimbursement for certain monies invested in the film while it had been subject to the Arclight slate agreement. Mr. Krodestani’s cliam was wholly without merit and an attempt to force an unwarranted settlement because he knew we were about to close a deal. We responded immediately through outside counsel and asserted that he was engaging in extortion and the company would pursue him vigorously if he continued to try and interfere with our deal. The company has not heard anything further from Mr. Kordestani but will vigorously defend any suit that Mr. Kordestani attempts to bring.

There are also lawsuits with their printer, Transcontinental, online ad service DoubleClick, and and several former employees.

Seriously, if you have some free time this afternoon, and a hot or cold beverage, depending on where you live, you will enjoy this trip down Platinum Lane.

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Super Links

§ Before we get going, we know you always read “Lying in the Gutters,” but this week’s is even better than usual, with a look at the LOEG lawsuit, an analysis of Neil Gaiman’s royalty structure, and some new shenanigans from the usual suspects.


§ Former Marvel editor Laurie Sutton is blogging and reminiscing at Colleen Doran’s blog.

§ Chris Mautner names Six ‘retired’ artists we’d like to see return to comics like Brian Biggs and Mary Fleener.

§ You will be shocked and perhaps repelled by this real-life Anime Makeover.

§ Tim O’ Shea talks with Esther Pearl Watson about UNLOVABLE, partially based on a real teenage girl’s diary:

O’Shea: The diary that inspired Unlovable was found in 1995, but you set the fictional version in 1987–was that an effort to distance the work even further from the inspirational source?

Watson: The diary was old (from the 80’s) when I found it.

O’Shea: Have you ever heard from women who think your work is based on a diary that they lost?

Watson: So many people come up to me and tell me they are Tammy…even guys.

[Read more…]

HUNTRESS soars up the charts…huh??!?

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Okay, here’s today’s mystery achievement, and perhaps SOMEONE somewhere can give us a clue. As of 10 pm last evening, HUNTRESS: YEAR ONE by Ivory Madison and Cliff Richards was the #10 bestseller on Amazon. Not comics bestseller. BEST-SELLING BOOK. If you don’t believe us, here’s the screen grab! (Click for larger version.)

Don’t get us wrong, this is a fine book that has been relatively well-reviewed and all but…what? Did Ashton Kutcher tweet about it? Did Oprah? Does the New York Times have something to do with it? As we write this, the book has plummeted to #14 on the overall list…WHAT GIVES?

(Thanks to Todd for emailing us the link.)

Steve Breen wins 2009 Pulitzer

Steve Breen of the San Diego Union-Tribune won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for cartooning. As others have pointed out, the Pulitzer Prize winners this year seem particularly … absurd, given the media woes everywhere. For instance, the Union-Tribune is on the endangered list for daily metropolitan newspapers. Another Pulitzer winner was laid off back in January. Let’s hope the prizes perk things up.

2009 Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize winners

The 13th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize winners have been announced, and for the first time…there was a tie! Fumi Yoshinaga’s Ōoku: The Inner Chamber, and Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s A Drifting Life. Yoshinaga’s science fiction examination of gender roles comes out from Viz in August; Tatsumi’s epic autobiography is out from D&Q any minute now.

Two other prizes were awarded. Hikaru Nakamura won the Short Work Prize for Saint Young Men and Suehiro Maruo won the New Artist Prize for Panorama Tōkitan. (One guesses that this is NOT the Suehiro Maruo who is already a well known horror/fetish artist?)

Tezuka/Urasawa comparison

Xavier Guilbert makes the chart you all wanted , showing the original Tezuka characters from ASTRO BOY side-by-side with the Urasawa remakes from PLUTO. It’s mind-boggling the degree to which Urasawa has imbued Tezuka’s chipper, cartoony characters with a sense of sinister doom and unease, but you know, that’s why they call them great.

[Link via Johanna]

C for Coloring

Over at his blog, David Lloyd talks about the coloring on V FOR VENDETTA:

In my view, what had prompted Dick to offer me that choice between colour and b/w from the high position he occupied in a company which was built on colour comics, was the remarkable success of some of the b/w indie books of the time, such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which sold massively despite being in monotone. I thought then that this development in comic-reader habits was a detour, not a new highway, and I was convinced that Vendetta could be coloured appropriately and effectively in its new incarnation. Printing didn’t always do it’s best in representing the skill that Steve Whitaker and Siobhan Dodds – V’s major colourists – applied to the work, but that’s another long story. For those interested, I can tell you that the definitive colour balances in V were applied to the hardback version of the collection in 2006 and are now also seen in the latest softcovers. And, of course, they will appear in the Absolute edition.

Paul Pope draws young Spock

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This could easily become typecasting. io9 excerpts a STAR TREK comic written by JJ Abrams and drawn by Pope from this month’s Wired.

Climb every mountain

Sigh. Every once in a while, the image uploader on The Beat just takes a holiday. It’s like a play by Alberto Casella. It was a long time until we had the uninterrupted time to sit down and figure it out, but we did, and now things are working just fine and dandy again. But first we have to post all the things that got stuck in the hopper YESTERDAY. This catch-up thing is getting old, we know.

Today’s comment-fodder post

Ryan at Comicsfodder rounds up all the things that Marvel and DC have done lately to show that they don’t take female readers very seriously, and points out something we’ve noted ourselves:

I’ve never really been certain why Marvel gets such a free ride on the misogyny front when watching DC’s every panel has become a particularly engrossing game of “Gotcha”. Perhaps its selective perception (although the “Heroes for Hire” henati-ish cover incident still lingers in recent memory).

They’ve never shied away from using their female characters for cheesecake on covers or elsewhere, design costumes just as questionable as any DC female hero or villain, and haven’t had sustained runs on as many female-centric books as DC. Of course, I also don’t follow Marvel the way I follow DC, so a lot of my opinion is formed from the casual dipping in and out I do of much of the Marvel Universe.

It really is true though — maybe Marvel commenters are a lot less eagle-eyed than DC ones…or DC readers are just more addicted to jumping on every single little thing that DC does and reading larger meaning into it. Not that it’s hard to find lunkheaded decisions from both companies that seem hellbent on dismissing a large chunk of potential new readers, but, that’s how it goes.

Unrelated, but earlier yesterday CB Cebulski was Twittering the following:

# Yes, I have found that more female artists are submitting artwork to Marvel these days, especially from Europe.

# Sara Pichelli came out of ChesterQuest and is kicking all kinds of ass at Marvel now. And also keep an eye out for CQ finalist Serena Ficca.

# One name I can also name is Rebekah Issacs, who we met & hired at NYCC. She makes her debut on Ms. Marvel 38:

# Female writers? Marjorie Liu and Kathryn Immonen both made their Marvel debuts this past year and are moving on to bigger books.

Despite the title of this post, we actually TURNED OFF THE COMMENTS because we just aren’t in the mood for bingo today.