the nine conner interpop
Variant cover for an issue of The Nine.

InterPop, a Web3 based publisher who put out comics, a trading card game and NFTs based on the Emergents IP, is shutting down after two years. The closure was first reported by PopVerse, but had been circulating on social media all week.

InterPop launched in 2021, founded by longtime comics and gaming executive Brian David Marshall. Executive editor Rachel Gluckstern was hired to oversee the line of comics. The foundation of the line was Emergents, a superhero universe that also spun out into a TCG (trading card game) – cards and comics were purchasable as NFTs, and InterPop was launched as a division of TQ Tezos, a leading “clean technology” blockchain that last year spent £20 million to sponsor the Manchester United EPL team.

The InterPop line launched with some fanfare, as you can see by our past coverage, but as the NFT market cratered, the company went silent. A blog post earlier this week on the Emergents TCG site  announced the shutdown:

To the InterPop community,

We’ve made the difficult decision to end development of InterPop games, and will close the MinterPop marketplace on April 30, 2023. This decision wasn’t easy, and is one that no creator wants to make. Everyone at Interpop is proud of the products we’ve built together. We continue to believe that web3 is the future of fandom, and that it enables true ownership of digital assets such as comics, games and collectibles. 

We’re thankful to our fans who built a vibrant community and joined us in exploring how blockchain technology could enable new gaming experiences. Thank you for helping to redefine fandom; we couldn’t have created InterPop Comics, MinterPop and Emergents TCG without your support. And we’re tremendously grateful to the hard work and creativity of everyone involved in developing and running InterPop over the years. They are an amazing and talented group of people. 

In light of this decision, the last chance to access all InterPop games and the MinterPop marketplace will be on April 30, 2023. After that time, you will be unable to use the MinterPop marketplace and play Emergents TCG.

Supporters will be able to exchange purchased cards, super boosters, and pre-launch promotional NFTs for the initial purchase price until until May 14, 2023 – more details are in the blog post. Questions can be directed to [email protected] which will stay open until May 31, 2023.

Gluckstern posted on LinkedIn that her time at InterPop had ended.

As some of you already know, InterPop Comics has ceased its publishing, and I’m now ready to explore new opportunities. I couldn’t be prouder of the work we did at InterPop nor more grateful toward all the creators who did their best work on our comics. I set out to create and lead the comics division at InterPop to be the kind of company I’ve always wanted to work at, and one that would treat its freelance talent well, too. I think we did a pretty decent job — five ongoing series in two years that hit each and every delivery date, timely payments, everyone credited, and a knockout roster of talent. Everyone gave their all to build the Emergents universe, and that all was incredible.

There was some discussion of the shutdown on the Emergents TCG Discord, but mostly about how the game and support had dwindled away. For a deeper (very deep, tl;dr) account of the game’s rise and fall, player Grum has a longer account on Substack, along with some speculation on the game’s demise. The story is a bit hard to follow for those who weren’t involved, but it seems that the actual game only launched recently….and shut down soon after.

The Emergents universe had its roots in a physical deck-building game several years ago, which Marshall was also involved with. Just who owns the IP at this point is unclear. It’s all a bit murky for those who don’t follow TCGs and NFTs, so it would be easiest to file this under “Web3 is going great” and move on. I will note that, to my knowledge, Marshall, Gluckstern and other involved weren’t fly by nighters, and offering refunds is a responsible move. Still, all those gaudy claims about NFTs a few years back are being proven to be pretty darned impermanent as time goes by, unlike that supposedly immutable blockchain.

{This story has been updated to remove names of creators erroneously cited as working for the company.)