AfterShock’s Bankruptcy a Harbinger of Pending Comic Industry Collapse?

 

AfterShock Comics has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, claiming that their assets and liabilities total between $10 million and $50 million. They also indicated that they have over 200 creditors, including many comic creators, at least one printer, along with two law firms on their list of the 20 highest unsecured claims.

 

AS Comics, a fund established up to invest in comics and media, is their largest creditor, owing them almost $500,000. Here’s a breakdown from various sources in the comics medium:

  • Mattia Monaco, artist for Knock ‘Em Dead and Chicken Devil from AfterShock for $18,000
  • Emilio Pilliu, artist on Bram Stoker Monster Hunter from Aftershock for $15,500
  • Alberto Locatelli, writer on Where Starships Go To Die for $15,000
  • Inaki Miranda of We Live for Aftershock for $10,010
  • Damian Couceiro, artist on Beyond The Breach for AfterShock for $8,800
  • Mark Englert, artist, for $8,600

Rive Gauche Television merged with AfterShock Comics to form AfterShock Media back in 2020. They also filed for bankruptcy. In the Rive Gauche Television filing, there are television studios and networks, where the numbers really start to ramp up;

  • Jupiter Entertainment for $1,474,010
  • TBS-CNN for $756,443
  • AMC Networks International Broadcasting for $375,980
  • M2 Pictures for $227,830
  • Tri Vision International of Los Angeles for $118,39
  • Film producer David Sigurani of Sauce Inc for $78,000 

Then there are other comic book-related debtors including;

  • San Diego Comic-Con for $17,000
  • AS Comics of Pewsey, England for $514,326
  • Imprimerie L’Empreinte of Canada for printing services $398,887
  • Imprimerie Solisco of Canada for printing services of $29,263

 

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a reorganization that allows a company to keep doing business under the supervision of the bankruptcy court. In a statement provided to ICV2.com, AfterShock said the following: 

 

After much deliberation, AfterShock Comics LLC has voluntarily filed a petition for protection under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code to enable the Company to restructure its senior secured facility as well as being in a position to secure additional financing to continue to operate its business.   

The intent of this decisive action, among other considerations, is to allow the Company to maintain operations in the ordinary course including, but not limited to, paying employees and continuing existing benefits programs, upholding and following through on commitments to contracted creators, as well as vendors who supply goods and services related to marketing, merchandising and advertising. AfterShock will continue to operate, publish and market comic books and graphic novels to supply to direct market retailers and mass accounts through its distributors in accordance with all federal, state and local guidelines.

We regret the inconvenience this has caused to those we work with and may cause in the near future.  However, we believe that going forward this will allow us to best position the Company for long-term success.   

 

This statement follows a series of social media tweets by creators that had gone public about their non-payments, some expressing concerns that they would be blacklisted if they said anything.

 

AfterShock is officially the first big comic book company to declare bankruptcy in quite a long time, but could it be a harbinger of what 2023 may have in store for the industry overall? As another outlet has just reported, they’re aware of another comic publishing company that is informally reorganizing, however they did not name the company in question.

 

Comic Perch also weighed in on the situation. 

Aftershock files for bankruptcy, more to come

 

 

Is 2023 the year of reckoning in the comic book industry? Will it be able to reorganize?

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Chris Braly

I'm one opinionated, based geek. I try to steer this tiny ship and can often be heard monthly on the Comic Book Page Previews Spotlight podcast with several fellow "comic book nerds." Follow me on Twitter @ChrisBraly. My preferred adjectives are brilliant/beautiful.

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