Just two years since the founding of Virgins Comics, the joint venture between Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group and Indian comics publisher Gotham Ent., the company has closed its doors and laid off its New York-based eight-member staff, per PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Attempts to confirm the closing with Virgin Comics CEO and co-founder and President of Gotham Ent. Sharad Deverajan were not successful, but sources tell PW the unit has been closed and an official statement is likely coming soon.
This closing, at the moment, only affects Virgin Comics' U.S. publishing operations and not the operations of Gotham. Based in Bangalore, India, Gotham produces comics targeted at South Asia.
Virgin Comics produced 17 comic series in two years, as well as 18 trade paperback collections and three hardcover titles. The owner to the rights to these properties is unclear.
A high profile, ambitious project from Branson and Deverajan, Virgin Comics was launched in early 2006 with a goal to create superhero and adventure print comics inspired by Indian and Hindu mythology. The goal was to license these characters out to film and merchandise, creating global franchises.
Bestselling author Deepak Chopra also helped finance the venture, serving as chairman of Virgin Comics and wrote a biography of Buddha in comic form for the house. His son Gotham Chopra is chief creative officer and editor-in-chief of Virgin Comics/Virgin Animation.
Among their products, Virgin Comics published a series of periodical comics based on Gotham Ent.'s Shakti line of comics. Virgin also created a Director's Cut line, featuring comics from Hollywood players like actor Edward Norton (DOCK WALLOPER), director Guy Ritchie (GAMEKEEPER) and director John Woo (SEVEN BROTHERS). Virgin hoped to turn these projects into major films.
Virgin's Voices comic line featured works from actor Nicolas Cage (VOODOO CHILD), adult film star Jenna Jameson (SHADOW HUNTER) and musician Dave Stewart (ZOMBIE BROADWAY).