Rumors about Virgin Comics are flying fast and furious this weekend. Sources are telling me that the comics publishing is getting drastically reduced or eliminated and most of the New York staff has been let go…however, official announcements or confirmation have not yet come.
Virgin Comics launched in 2006, funded by billionaire mogul Richard Branson, with input from author Deepak Chopra and filmmaker Shekhar Kapur. However, the principal movers and shakers at the company are comics-loving entrepreneurs Sharad Devarajan, Suresh Seetharaman, and Gotham Chopra. From the start, Virgin has produced several lines of comics — the “Shakti” line, based on Hindu mythology and culture, and the “Director’s Cut” line which features concepts by directors such as Kapur, Guy Ritchie, and John Woo. The “Voices” line includes comics based on concepts by a variety of Hollywood/entertainment types, from Nicolas Cage (Nowhere Man) and Dave Stewart to Hugh Jackman and, most notoriously, Jenna Jameson.
Virgin Comics had also recently arranged with the Sci-Fi Channel to both produce comics based on TV shows and develop comics as shows. The first was The Stranded, by Mike Carey, which is being developed as a pilot.
Virgin’s print comics line never seemed to catch fire, either in the US or India, so cutbacks would come as no surprise. It would be equally surprising to see a lot of their development deals and web-based material disappear, however.