Industry veteran Robert V. Conte, has long been a behind-the-scenes comics player as owner of Chikara Entertainment, a print broker and book packager who helped with the shift to cheaper Chinese printing, which has allowed many of the lavish but affordable comics reprint series currently available. Conte has announced he’s shutting down his business to spend more time with his family. However, he’ll stay in the comics world as part owner (with Gary Esposito) of several retail concerns, Brooklyn Comics & More and Manhattan Comics & More, Inc. The latter took over the Cosmic Comics spot on 23rd St.
Steven Goff of Global Printing Sourcing and Development LTD will take over Chikara’s print brokering business.
Chikara Entertainment, Inc.’s founder and president, Robert V. Conte, has announced the April 4, 2011 closing of the 17 year-old company. This includes its international print-brokerage division, book packaging services and publishing consulting program.
Conte realizes this sudden decision may come as a shock to his clients and has issued the following statement: “Over the past ten years, I’ve worked to effectively service the comic-book and graphic-novel industry. I gained my professional success at a high cost to my health and, more importantly, my three children. This has to change immediately and closing Chikara Entertainment, Inc. is, unfortunately, the first, necessary step.”
Conte passes all print-brokering reigns onto Global Printing Sourcing and Development LTD’s managing director, Steven Goff. Known worldwide as Global PSD, Goff’s company is ready to service Conte’s clients with unmatched quality and customer service.
“Robert V. Conte has been a force in the industry for over a decade, producing some of the most prolific editions in the comic-book industry, servicing a wide range of clientele and artists with print production, and interfacing with his Asian vendors,” says Goff. “Global PSD is well suited to service Robert’s accounts worldwide with its stateside and offshore production teams and customer service staff.”
Conte started working as a sales director for an international print brokerage in 2001, when the majority of comic-book publishers relied on North American printing presses to service their needs. Conte challenged the traditional belief that only local presses could allow for the necessary proofing on graphics-laden projects, and helped develop an advantageous system enabling publishers to reduce costs by utilizing international presses. Conte has been recognized by his colleagues as a pioneer for realizing the potential of international printing in the graphic-novel industry.
“When I first entered this business, fellow print brokers would jest that I was wasting my time on ‘rinky-dink comic-book people.’ Those very same brokers now, to stay in business, attend virtually every trade and consumer show dedicated to the industry,” remarks Conte.
Over 2,000 titles were printed through Conte during his tenure in the print industry, including the immensely successful LOST GIRLS by Top Shelf Productions, MOUSE GUARD FALL 1152 by Villard/Random House and THE BOYS DEFINITIVE EDITIONS by Dynamite Entertainment.
Confident that Goff will successfully carry the torch in which he has lit, Conte will rededicate himself as a family man and an advocate for fathers’ rights. Yet, he will not remain a stranger to comic books; Conte recently opened Brooklyn Comics & More and Manhattan Comics & More, Inc. in New York City (with his business partner Gary Esposito) and will strive to reenergize this specialty industry as he did the print manufacturing field one decade ago.
“I will sincerely miss working with the 40-plus publishers I’ve come to know and respect over the years. It was a great pleasure working with all of you; we made history together. I have no doubts that Global PSD will do an excellent job on your books and products. I encourage all of my customers to contact Steven and his staff immediately.”
“We at Global PSD wish Robert all of the success in his new ventures and look forward to working with his clients to ensure they get the best quality products, at the best price, delivered as scheduled with outstanding customer service,” says Goff.
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.