Despite Rumours to the Contrary, AiT/Planet Lar is Still Very Much in Business!


[Update: I just heard from Kevin Mellon on Twitter (@kmellon) and he said that he corroborates what Larry says here, and believes that his unfortunate wording in his blog post lead to some unnecessary talk. He added that Larry has always been great to Dennis Hopeless and he. Glad that's cleared up]

This morning, a rumour began to make it’s way around the internet that AiT-Planet Lar had gone out of business, and cancelled all of their upcoming books. I first heard this via Ivan Brandon on Twitter, and after a bit of searching, started to see the rumour cropping up on a couple of forums. The rumour appears to originate from this post on Kevin Mellon’s blog, where he tells how he was informed by the publisher that they would no longer be able to publish his upcoming GN, Lovestruck, due to the fact that they were temporarily shutting down operations, and cancelling all the books that they had due out this year.

As I’m a big fan of the publishing house, and have enjoyed many of the books that they have released over the years, I decided to dig into this a bit, and find out what the story was.

First off, for those of you unfamiliar with the company, AiT-Planet Lar is a San Franscico based indy comic publisher, which was founded in 1999 by Larry Young and Mimi Rosenheim. The company focuses on releasing original graphic novels into the mass market, although the company has published a few trade paperbacks of serialized mini-series originally published by other companies. The company is famous for publishing many acclaimed titles, including Warren Ellis’ Switchblade Honey, and a number of titles by Brian Wood, such as The Couriers, Channel Zero, and Demo (which was later collected by Vertigo).

In light of the news, I thought it best to go straight to the man in charge, and contacted publisher Larry Young to ask him to shed some light on the news. Larry was kind enough to get back to me, and set the record straight.

Here’s what he had to say:

Yeah, don’t believe everything you read on Twitter. I don’t know what the rumor is, but I assume you’re asking because I had to tell Dennis Hopeless and Kevin Mellon that we weren’t able to publish their book LOVESTRUCK, that we had agreed to in 2007. Well, I don’t mean to throw the lads under the bus, but they just finished a 96 page graphic novel, four years later, and the world’s different.

AiT/Planet Lar has always been about keeping quality books in print — and they still are in print and available from Diamond and Amazon and the like. You know we’ve always been creator-positive, and only contract graphic novels for five years; we don’t want to tie anybody down, and of course after five years of me thrashing the bushes on their behalf, they’ll be able to get higher-exposure deals elsewhere, and we sit back with big smiles as proud and happy parents. But the economy being such as it is now, certain business decisions Diamond has made vis-a-vis non-Big 4 publishers, all the attendant cash-flow issues, and with all the available new technologies available to creators, it just wouldn’t be fair to Hopeless and Mellon, so we wished them godspeed with LOVESTRUCK.

Of course I’m still interested and involved in comics (there’ll be a big announcement at San Diego), but as of now, comics needs a new model to make the economics work. Thirteen years ago, I had to build an entire publishing infrastructure to get my work and the work of my talented friends out there in front of an audience, but now a focussed creator can web-publish or use companies like to print and fulfill direct to a reader. Honestly, a talented comic book creator starting out today doesn’t need publishers, distributors, or even retailers… they can use the Internet to create a commercial framework direct. It’s quite powerful.

The goal of AiT/Planet Lar was never to become a long-term “standard” publisher; I mean, first, look at that ridiculous name. But it rose out of the opportunity to publish my stuff and the sorts of books that Mimi and I like. There just weren’t enough publishers providing comics in the format I wanted to personally read, back then. We were designed to be a stepping-stone not only for extremely talented but under-seen creators, but also as a test-bed for new publishing and marketing models that have now become mainstream.

So the continuing role of AiT to innovate content and business models is still active but changing. We haven’t closed up shop; we’re just taking a breather while getting ready for next-steps.

Well, thanks to Larry for clearing that up! It’s great news to hear that they are still in the business. The industry needs more publishers willing to put out innovative and original material. I definitely hear what he’s saying about the changing marketplace, as it certainly is getting a lot harder out there for smaller publishers, these days. I look forward to hearing what the company has to announce at SDCC, and wish them the best of luck with the future of the company.

In addition, I hope that Dennis Hopeless and Kevin Mellon find a new home for Lovestruck. From what I’ve heard, it sound like a really interesting book!

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5 Responses to “Despite Rumours to the Contrary, AiT/Planet Lar is Still Very Much in Business!”
  1. B. Clay Moore says:


    What did Mellon and Hopeless say when you contacted them about it?

  2. Edward Kaye says:

    I just updated the story, but Mellon agreed with what Larry said, and thinks that the unfortunate wording of his post may have lead people to misinterpret the news. He went on to say that Larry has been nothing but great to him and Hopeless.

  3. Name’s Hopeless, man. Beyond that, you got it right.

    Kevin’s only intention was to update folks on the status of the book. It got misinterpreted and blown out of proportion. We have no beef at all with Larry or AiT. Should have news on a new home for Lovestruck soon.

  4. Edward Kaye says:

    Whoops, sorry about that. I put Hopeless in the actually story, but then put Loveless in the reply there. Sorry about that.

    Hopefully my post has helped quell the rumour


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  1. [...] into the idea that AIT/Planet Lar was going out of business, which isn’t the case. In a response obtained by Hypergeek, Young agrees with Mellon that times are different now: I assume you’re asking because I had to [...]

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