ASP restructures; Liao leaves
Archaia Studios Press had a big hit with Mouse Guard, and critical acclaim with The Lone and Level Sands and founder Mark Smylie’s Artesia, and recently announced a ton of new titles. But like many small presses, they’ve also had some problems getting books out on a timely basis, and now they’ve announced a restructuring and the departure of co-publisher Aki Liao for “personal reasons.”
It’s been a busy couple of years here at Archaia Studios Press as the company has produced a growing catalog of award-winning and critically acclaimed comic books and graphic novels. But ASP has also run into a few growing pains along the way—as does any new publishing company—and today must announce that it must take a moment to restructure following the decision of Aki Liao, ASP’s co-publisher, to step back from an ongoing role at the company for personal reasons.
“Mark and I started ASP Comics as a hobby business in classic ‘two-guys-in-a-garage’ fashion, and that hobby business has grown well beyond its initial size and scope. In fact, well beyond my expectations,” said Aki Liao. “Along the way, we’ve built up a line of comic books and graphic novels of the highest quality. It’s been an amazing ride, and I enjoyed meeting a lot of wonderful people along the way, especially the talented group of creators that I’ve had the good fortune to work with. It is with a sad heart that I depart as I’m no longer able to give the company the kind of commitment it requires and wish everyone at ASP the best for the future.”
Ken Light, an investment banker at the DAK Group specializing in small to mid-size company divestitures, sales, and acquisitions, will be assisting ASP in the search for an outside investor or strategic partner to acquire Aki’s stake in the company.
As part of the reorganization, the company will also take the opportunity to address internally the publishing delays that have plagued it of late to ensure a smooth schedule that satisfies not only its own standards but also that of its creators and the expectations of fans and retailers.
“Our growth in the last year has clearly strained our workflow capacity,” said ASP co-publisher Mark Smylie. “Lateness has historically been a problem with many creator-driven and creator-owned titles, but our own workflow issues have exacerbated the situation. We are as frustrated with our struggle to get books out on time as, I’m sure, are our readers, and we want to make sure we come out of the reorganization with a better workflow and solicitation process model. So while there will be some further delays in the release of recently solicited titles as we restructure, we also want to make sure we emerge in the next few months from our reorganization with a release schedule that we can hit on a regular basis, as guaranteed as possible. We can only ask that our many supporters, retailers and fans alike, be patient with us during this time.”
All ASP titles are available worldwide at finer comic book shops, bookstores, amazon.com, the ASP Store at Indie Press Revolution (www.indiepressrevolution.com) and electronically at DriveThruComics.com. ARTESIA is now available at WOWIO.com, with other ASP titles to follow.