Gemstone lives, but Disney license is up in the air

Despite recent rumors about the closing of Gemstone Publishing, President Steve Geppi claims the company will continue.

"As has been the case with many businesses across a wide array of industries, there has been a reduction in staff at Gemstone, and this included the departure of many valued employees," he said in a statement posted Monday on his company's Scoop website. "This, however, is not the end of Gemstone Publishing."

(Last month Gemstone closed its offices in West Plains, Missouri, and laid off its five staff members there.)

But the future of Gemstone's licenses for Disney comics and The E.C. Archives isn't so clear-cut.

“At this time, no final decision has been made regarding The EC Archives or our comic books featuring Disney’s standard characters, but it seems certain that both lines will continue in some form,” Geppi said. “We all anticipate resolving the issues facing us and moving forward, and I will be happy to announce the specifics once things have been finalized.”

Gemstone has held the Disney comics license since 2003.

The state of the Disney license has been the subject of speculation for some time, tied primarily to stories about the financial problems of Gemstone, Diamond Comic Distributors and Geppi. But on Sunday the Disney Comics Worldwide blog passed along this statement from Gary Leach, who has worked on U.S. editions of Disney comics for two decades: "Gemstone is not renewing the Disney comics license, and won’t be putting out any more issues since the last ones that reached the shops."

That picked up steam Monday with a post from Heidi MacDonald and an item from Rich Johnston, who included word of Gemstone's closing and the supposed end of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. Gemstone Associate Publisher Jeff Vaughn later denied those assertions, adding: "I can't comment on the other material in the article at this point, but I am certain that both the EC line and the Disney line will continue in one form or another."

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