Vault Comics has gotten some investment money, Rob Salkowitz for Forbes reports. They’ve just finished a round of financing that includes an eclectic mix of investors
“…led by renowned activist investor Jeff Ubben. The roster of backers also includes an intriguing mix of entertainment industry heavyweights: global talent agency UTA; the investment arm of music talent management firm Crush; healthcare entrepreneur Rick Matros; and Black Squirrel Partners, representing the hard rock band Metallica. Vault CEO and publisher Damian Wassel says the investments will help Vault, which is privately held, expand its publishing efforts and build out a media pipeline for its IP. Terms of the round were not disclosed, although Wassel said the original founders will maintain a majority stake in the business.”
The announcement comics as Vault has slowly but steadily built up their IP and goodwill around the industry. It’s a family affair: brothers Damian and Adrian Wassel serve as publisher and editor-in-chief, and cousin Nathan Gooden serves as art director. Over the years they’ve gained a strong reputation among creators and fans alike with titles like Heathen, Barbaric, These Savage Shores and Vagrant Queen, which was turned into a series on SyFy. They’ve made a mark in both periodical comics and graphic novels, and even launched a kids line.
Damian Wassel reports that Vault’s sales have increased by triple digits each eyar winsce launch, and they’ve sold more than a million units in that time. Such metrics doubtless helped attract investors, as did what Salkowitz identifies as “The Keanu Effect”, which Wassel dubbed “a motivating insight.”
One of the biggest-selling periodical comics of the past 25 years was BRZRKR, the ultra-violent techno-thriller by actor Keanu Reeves, with writer Matt Kindt and artist Ron Garney, published by Boom! Studios. The series launched on the back of a $1.45 million crowdfunding campaign and sold over 650,000 copies of its first issue at retail. The first trade collection is also a best-seller, and the property was immediately snapped up for development as both a feature film and an animated series.
It turns out having an A-list celebrity with a good story to tell is an excellent recipe for selling a lot of comics.
Vault has definitely shown slow but steady growth and respect for the community since they debuted in 2016 – hopefully some VC money will be an accelerant for their growth.