Europe Comics, which offered consumers digital editions of European comics in English in addition to selling rights to publishers, is shutting down its consumer facing activities, the company announced last week. EC will continue to release a few books each month digitally, which will be available through various digital comics retailers, including Amazon’s Comixology market and Izneo, a European digital comics service.
However, Izneo also announced that it was shutting down its English-language service. Previously purchased comics will still be available, but as of February 1, only the French-language website will be available. Dutch and German storefronts shut down late last year.
Europe Comics launched in 2015 as part of an effort by European comics publishers to gain more attention from the English-language comics-buying audience. Like Izneo, Europe Comics is a joint venture between 13 European comics publishers, coordinated by French publisher Mediatoon. Participating publishers included companies from Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, and more.
Over its run, Europe Comics sponsored author tours and convention appearances throughout North America, including such comics creators as Fabien Nury (The Death of Stalin), Jean-Marc Rochette (Snowpiercer), and Zep (Titouf). Overall, Europe Comics’ efforts greatly expanded U.S. comics readers' knowledge of and access to the Franco-Belgian comics market, which is one of the world’s largest, generating 900 million euros in sales of graphic novels and manga in 2021.
While no reason was given for either the end of Europe Comics or Izneo’s English-language activities, it was noted that both efforts were led by the late Sophie Castille, international rights director and v-p of licensing at Mediatoon, who passed away unexpectedly last year.
According to Amazon, Europe Comics is releasing six titles this month, but there are no listings beyond that. Cinebook, a U.K.-based publisher that licenses Franco-Belgian material in English, will continue to release books digitally on Izneo, but U.S. titles will no longer be carried on the service.