The Madefire digital comics platform, created by Ben Wolstenholme, Liam Sharp and Eugene Walden, has entered what CBR.com describes as “a bankruptcy-like situation” that will leave the app no longer updated or supported, causing issues, at least in the short terms, for the comics companies that rely on the platform for its own comic book apps.
CBR reports Archie Unlimited, Archie Comics’ app that launched in 2015, shut down yesterday due to this news and readers have until the end of this month (in other words, tomorrow) to make sure to secure any of the digital collections that they purchased on Madefire from companies like BOOM! and Scout., although both use other digital platforms to release their books.
Founded in 2012, the same year that also saw the launch of digital anthology Aces Weekly, still going strong, Madefire has featured included some high-level talent, including Guy Adams, Dougie Braithwaite, David Broxton, Mike Carey, Gary Erskine, Dave Gibbons, Dave Kendall, Robbie Morrison and Liam Sharp. The technology allowed readers to control the addition of new word balloons, and to navigate on the digital page.
Inductry site ICV2 claims in its report on the news that while Madefire offered some interesting innovations, and eventually added key content, including Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Image Comics, and Dark Horse Comics”the platform never gained much traction“, although given the distinct lack of transparency about sales from most digital platforms except to contributing publishers and creators, some might challenge this.
With numerous “big players” now in the digital market, particularly Amazon-owned Comixology, it is harder for smaller players to maintain, and gain, a foothold, despite considerable investment in terms of both money and talent.
The closure also highlights the problems of owning comics and graphic novels digitally that cannot be transferred easily to other digital services.
Here’s the Madefire statement in full from its web site…
On April 7, 2021, Madefire, Inc. (the “Company” or “Madefire”) entered into an assignment for the benefit of creditors (the “Assignment”), which is a state-level insolvency proceeding similar to bankruptcy. Madefire made a general assignment of its assets to an assignment entity, a California limited liability company by the name of Madefire (assignment for the benefit of creditors), LLC (“Assignee”), an affiliate of Sherwood Partners, Inc.
Due to the uncertainty in this situation, the following actions have been taken: – All new purchases of books have been suspended indefinitely. -All publication of new books has been suspended indefinitely. -Support of and future updates to the Madefire App have been suspended indefinitely. -Access to purchased content stored in the cloud may be limited and therefore customers are encouraged to download all previously purchased content from the cloud onto the Madefire App before the end of April 2021.
Further information with regard to the process may be found on www.proofofclaims.com/Madefire.
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.