The day after former Virgin Comics CEO Sharad Devarajan announced plans to resurrect the now defunct Virgin Comics under a new name, DC Comics said it was shutting down Minx, a line of graphic novels targeting teen girls, a little more than a year after the first book in the line went on sale. Minx will cease publication in January 2009.
Although calls to Devarajan were not returned, in a release, he said that his original management group has completed a buyout of Virgin Comics and will relaunch itself under the name, Liquid Comics. In the release, Devarajan said that under the Liquid Comics name, the company “will continue to proceed with a number of the projects previously announced at Virgin Comics.” Devarajan said that there will be announcements “shortly” regarding new launch dates. A high-profile 2006 international joint venture between Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and the India-based comics publisher Gotham Entertainment, Virgin Comics ceased operations in August 2008 and laid off eight workers at its New York City offices.
Representatives for DC Comics declined to answer questions about the cancellation of the Minx line. In a release DC said, “Minx was an experimental imprint for DC Comics and we are extremely proud of the books we published and the stories we told during the past two years.”
The line of standalone original graphic novels was launched in 2006 with much promotional fanfare including a reported $250,000 marketing campaign organized by Alloy Media, a firm that specializes in marketing to teen girls. The books were intended to compete with manga, Japanese comics that have proven their popularity with American girls. Creators included Andi Watson (Clubbing), Mike Carey (Re-Gifters) and Derek Kirk Kim (Good as Lily). DC also brought in Cecil Castellucci, a proven YA writer, to work on The Plain Janes with artist Jim Rugg.
DC published about 12 titles in the Minx line with several scheduled for publication in fall 2008, among them Brian Wood’s The New York Four with artist Ryan Kelly. While several New York retailers told PW that they had some success with the books, sales of Minx titles overall were very disappointing. Some observers questioned whether Minx titles should be shelved with comics at all and said the titles should be placed in the YA section, although it is unlikely that most booksellers would do so. Alex Cox, co-owner of Rocketship, a comics bookstore in Brooklyn, said the books needed handselling but that teen girls were showing up and buying the books. “Once someone bought one they would come back for more,” he said. David Webster, buyer at Midtown Comics in Manhattan, said much the same. “We sold a lot of Plain Janes and Re-Gifters. It’s sad DC didn’t give it enough time.”