Claypool Comics Shuts Down Print Operations and Moves to Internet

After almost fourteen years and more than 300 issues — one of the
longest runs in the history of independent comics — publisher Claypool
Comics is telling the world of print, “Thank you and farewell.” After
ELVIRA, MISTRESS OF THE DARK #166 (shipping in February 2007),
SOULSEARCHERS AND COMPANY #82 (also shipping in February), and
DEADBEATS #82 (shipping in March), Claypool will cut back its line to
DEADBEATS alone and put new adventures of that series’ vampire-haunted
world on the Internet. Claypool’s trade-paperback comics collections
(under the Boffin Books imprint) and back issues will remain available
as long as supplies last.

Claypool’s shift from paper to bytes comes after a long struggle for
sales. In November, 2005, Diamond Comics Distributors — the major
distributor of comic books in the United States — gave Claypool some
alarming news: Claypool wasn’t selling enough comics to meet Diamond’s
guidelines for profitable distribution. Diamond and Claypool teamed up
for a string of promotional efforts, including free comics for
retailers, plus various flyers and posters. Claypool’s sales rose, but
not far or fast enough. In July of 2006, after discussions with
Diamond executives, Claypool publisher Ed Via and editor Richard
Howell decided to publish DEADBEATS exclusively on the World Wide Web.
The other titles will cease publication indefinitely.

Diamond has graciously guaranteed that the Claypool line will be
allowed to finish out its run with enough time to bring both
SOULSEARCHERS and DEADBEATS to exciting story resolutions, ensuring
that long-time readers won’t be disappointed. ELVIRA — starring the
famous video hostess in tales by Kurt Busiek, Paul Dini (in his first
comics work), Steve Leialoha, Jim Mooney, Dave Cockrum, John Heebink,
Neil Vokes, Mike Manley, and many others — will spend its final issues
continuing its tradition of short story arcs and single-issue tales.
To emphasize the momentousness of the event, the final issues of each
series will feature “Countdown to the End” cover bullets.

SOULSEARCHERS — created by Howell and best-selling writer Peter David,
with art by (among others) Amanda Conner, Dave Cockrum, Joe Staton,
and Jim Mooney — features a team of comedically-inept supernatural
investigators. Currently, the Soulsearchers are banned from operating
their business in their home town of Mystic Grove, Connecticut;
nevertheless, they’re tracking down a mysterious, mystical nexus that
has been appearing at various places within the town limits.

DEADBEATS, the title moving online, features a gang of passionate
vampires and the mortals who try to destroy them. Created, written,
and penciled by Howell and inked by Ricardo Villagran, the book
features a combination of horror and romance reminiscent of the
classic television series Dark Shadows, with enough lusty eroticism to
satisfy even the most dedicated Anne Rice fan. The cast of DEADBEATS
is battling against an imminent doom predicted from the future, which
will destroy almost everyone in Mystic Grove, human and vampire alike,
and leave the town a place of despair and desolation. Readers can find
new DEADBEATS adventures at the Claypool website (,
beginning early in 2007.

To facilitate the reformatting of DEADBEATS series and preparing the
way for new readers, Claypool will be publishing an additional BEST OF
DEADBEATS (exact title TBA) trade paperback collection in February
2007, reprinting the series’ most important issues. This volume will
also feature new material and will be the perfect introduction to the
DEADBEATS continuity.

Howell and Via founded Claypool in 1992. They began with
SOULSEARCHERS, ELVIRA, and DEADBEATS, as well as the twelve-issue
miniseries PHANTOM OF FEAR CITY by Steve Englehart and a variety of
artists, including fan-favorite George Perez. The company’s focus on
the supernatural anticipated such modern hits as Walking Dead, Fear
Agent, and Hellboy.

Claypool’s Richard Howell says, “We’ve been working with Diamond to
get our comics out to more stores in more quantity, but ultimately we
had to surrender to reality: There’s too much competing product out
there for the customer base, the retail base, and the distribution
chain — and we’re a small, black-and-white line of offbeat, almost
uncategorizable comics. Based on the commitment and intensity of our
fans, we’re convinced that our books fulfill a need in the
marketplace. We’re just not reaching enough of those readers — or
reaching them consistently enough — in their current format. Moving
DEADBEATS to the Internet will allow us to reach more levels of the
potential readership, lower our overhead, and open new routes towards
bringing Claypool-style narrative sensibility to those who’d value

Diamond Vice President for Purchasing Bill Schanes adds, “We'd like to
thank everyone at Claypool for all their efforts over the years and
wish them the best of success with their future endeavors.”

Claypool Comics wants to extend its warmest wishes and gratitude to
the many writers, artists, retailers, fans, and others who have helped
Claypool over the company’s fourteen-year odyssey. Their loyalty and
support have made Claypool one of the most respected publishers in
comics, and Claypool’s staff hopes that they will continue to follow

See you on the Net!