Over at Blog Flume, Alvin Buenaventura announced that his much admired Buenaventura Press — publisher of such seminal works as KRAMERS ERGOT #7, FIGHT OR RUN, and THE COMPLETE JACK SURVIVES — was forced to close its doors in January, due to a single devastating financial blow. Buenaventura wrote:
In January of 2010, I closed the doors at Buenaventura Press in Oakland, California. I was forced to let go of the dedicated employees who had worked so tirelessly for so little money in order to create art that we all believed in. This meant that I had to abandon all current and future projects and discontinue sales and distribution.
I deeply regret having to take these actions, but the press experienced a devastating financial blow that made it impossible to continue. (I will release more details about this problem in the future.)
I consider myself lucky to have collaborated with many of the best cartoonists and artists of this generation. I am genuinely proud of the books and prints that the press released, and I am extremely grateful for all of your support.
As one of the most cutting edge publishers of only the finest comics, Buenaventura Press created an indelible legacy of quality and high production values that set the bar for small presses. Such books as Matt Furie’s BOY’S CLUB won dedicated cult followings, and of course the oversized, super deluxe $125 KRAMERS ERGOT #7, (shown in Buenaventura’s hands, above) was the defining statement of a decade of indie comics
As we write this, Buenaventura hadn’t responded to an email asking for further comment, but he told Sean T. Collins that it involved “a legal matter.”
Looking beyond the obvious loss of a great publisher, it’s a bit disturbing that, quite simply, arguably the finest boutique comics publisher in America went out of business five months ago and…no one noticed. Buenaventura had announced something of a hiatus back at the end of 2009 so perhaps people were waiting for the comeback, which never came. An email sent to one of Buenaventura’s email addresses bounced back with an out of office message from January:
We are taking our holiday vacations and will be back to answering emails on January 5th, 2010.
Happy New Year!
Whatever the cause of the shutdown, Buenaventura is one of the most dedicated and passionate comics publishers to emerge from the last decade (as well as a hell of a nice guy) and we hope he finds some way to remain involved — comics needs more Alvin, not less.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.