As anyone who's seen enough crappy '70s horror movies can tell you, it's apparently very hard to kill a Virgin. How else to explain that fact that, less than a month after Virgin Comics closed their doors, the company is reopening after a buy-out from its own management? And, given that the only difference in the people in charge seems to be Richard Branson's lack of involement, what does that mean for the newly-renamed Liquid Comics?Liquid Comics — whose URL leads to Virgin Comics' old site — is made up of the Virgin Comics management team of Gotham Chopra, Sharad Devarajan and Suresh Seetharaman, and the company's press release about the buyout makes it remarkably clear that Virgin Comics' "closure" came about as much due to the disinterest of Virgin Group as anything else: Devarajan is quoted as saying the Liquid "remain[s] fully committed to continuing our mission to provide a home for innovative creators and storytellers across the world," while Virgin senior VP of corporate development Dan Porter talks about Virgin choosing to "[focus] on its core activities in North America," instead. Judging from what little has been publicly announced by Liquid about their intentions, there is still a question mark over their future. The comic industry's reaction to Virgin's closure was less surprise than a metaphorical shrugging of shoulders and discussion of the low sales of their comics - Can the new/old publisher survive without the deep pockets of Virgin? The answer may come in Variety's take on the situation:
Liquid didn't comment on plans to actually continue publishing comic books, instead opting to focus on digital versions of its various characters. The new owners are the publisher's founding management team: Gotham Chopra, Sharad Devarajan and Suresh Seetharaman. "We're looking at different syndication systems and so forth,'' Devarajan said. "We're trying a lot of different approaches to packaging and pricing.''
Will Liquid Comics be focusing entirely on online serialization, with potential for print publication upon completion? They wouldn't be the first publishers to do it - that would be Carla Speed McNeil's Lightspeed Press, I believe - nor the most high-profile (Warren Ellis' Freakangels was recently trumped by Marvel's announcement of their online sequels to the Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk movies, both of which will see print in December this year). It's hard to see whether this model would be financially profitable for the company, but that may not necessarily be their goal — with the amount of attention that Virgin had put on getting movie and television development deals for their characters, it's very possible that all they're looking for is a cheap and easy way of keeping the characters alive enough to keep Hollywood interested. We'll see whether Liquid Comics stays liquid enough to actually produce any comics in the months to come. Virgin Comics now Liquid Comics [Variety]