As Black Mask Studios enters its sixth year of business, publisher (and sometimes writer) Matteo Pizzolo is taking a hard look at the number of delayed and late books it's announced - and making changes.
"This month marks Black Mask's fifth anniversary since the release of our first comics, and in the past year we've put out more trades than in the previous four years combined," Pizzolo told Newsarama. "So the fact that the comic market, and now the book market as well, are so supportive of these creators and stories we feel so passionately about is really amazing. Even just in the past few months we've experienced some of the most support for our trades from the market in the lifetime of the company, which is really saying something since we know the headwinds are very fierce out there for shops these days and it's particularly challenging for them to take risks on indie books.
"Because we've rapidly grown our offerings through Diamond Books, we had to go through solicits that were more than a year old and assess books that fell behind schedule for one reason or another."
One of those is the planned collection of the six-issue 12 Reasons To Die miniseries - nearly three years after the miniseries ended, the collection was significantly delayed over what Pizzolo describes as "production issues at pre-press." After repeated rescheduled release dates, Black Mask has cancelled all pre-orders through its distributor.
"[12 Reasons To Die] is a book near and dear to my heart as I'm a huge fan of the creators and it was one of the first books that launched Black Mask," Pizzolo said. "It was no fault of the creators, the book just fell behind due to production issues at pre-press which unfortunately happens sometimes, and we decided with Diamond that the best thing to do was to cancel 12 Reasons for the time being and resolicit when we can give it the attention it deserves."
Over the weekend, The Skeptics co-creator/writer Tini Howard tweeted that Black Mask is declining to release a collection of the miniseries. While Pizzolo didn't address the decision for this book, he did speak about issues surrounding collected editions.
"There are all sorts of challenges a book can face when going from single issues to trades, sometimes there simply isn't enough demand for a comic to go trade or sometimes the creative team needs extra time to perfect the book," Pizzolo told Newsarama," but neither of those is the case with 12 Reasons To Die and we will for sure be resoliciting it once we can organize the best strategy with the creative team."
Despite these setbacks, the publisher is going ahead in other areas - such as a recently announced third volume of Kim & Kim to debut in June.