It's been no secret over the last year that Zenescope, publishing of Grimm's Fairy Tales, Escape From Wonderland and the like (which I've been known to describe as "Fables with tits") has some cash flow issues that have caused a number of comic creators to complain about delayed payments, partial payments or indeed in some cases no payments. And when the owed creators see Zenescope with expensive booths, flying in talent, hosting parties and commissioning expensive variant covers from one off creators who they do pay, I can understand when their frustration turns to rage. And while I can also understand temporary blips, of late this has started to look like the pattern of business at the company.
So, while at San Diego, I noticed the Avatar booth was next to Zenescope's. So I went over and had a word. I walked in there, sword swinging, only to find it sheathed almost immediately.
Zenescope it seems are very aware of the issue. A cash flow problem that got out of control after they switched payment menthods with Diamond Comics Distribution, and one that has become a serious impediment. So they are doing something about it. For the next few months, they are cutting down on convention appearances. San Diego, local cons, and that's it. They are also suspending commissioning their famous variant covers for a few months (although they are currently scheduled up until December) and using that money to pay owed creators directly. And they will even drastically slow the production for six weeks, concentrating on back issue sales over new comics production, to make sure as many people as possible are paid off and receipts catch up with sales.
It's an innovative plan that, while it might cost Zenescope in the very short term, may make for a better future for the publisher, its creators and ultimately the industry as a whole. It's certainly a route to be applauded.