Digital comic’s startup Madefire is shutting down

R.I.P. Madefire, a startup that hired high-profile artists to reinvent comics for new formats and platforms. An announcement on the Madefire website states that the company entered earlier this month as “an appointment of benefits for creditors” (interpreted as “a state-level insolvency similar to bankruptcy”), which later published in Bit this morning.

As a result, no new books will be published, users will not be able to purchase any additional books, and they will be encouraged to download all of their purchased content before the end of the month. This news affects other applications built on Madefire technology. The Archie Comics app was shut down as soon as the publishers wrote, “We understand it comes as a surprise and we’re doing our best to get it right by our loyal customer base,” with Comics unlimited, especially by giving readers a month’s subscription.

(Amazon acquired the digital comic’s platform Comixology in 2014, launching an unlimited subscription service two years later.) Madefire was first launched in 2012, when publishers were experimenting with formats like motion comics. The company further described its titles as “title books”, combining the animation and effects of Motion Comics with its thematic reading experience.

“Motion comics are a passive experience, a viewing experience that is the equivalent of bad animation – it’s like watching a movie,” co-founder and CEO Ben Wolstenholme said at the time. “Motion books are a reading experience, actively controlled by the reader – it’s like reading a book. Our goal is an advanced reading experience for the iPad.”

The artists, who listed before the launch, including Dave Gibbons and Bill Sienkiewicz, were probably the most impressive thing about the company. Most recently, Madefire has announced partnerships with other technology platforms, including Snapchat and the volatile augmented reality company Magic Leap. According to Crunchbase, Madefire raised $16.4 million from investors including Real Ventures, Plus Capital, Kevin Spacey (yes, Kevin Spacey) and Drake, but Beat said the total was “more than that.”

The artists, who listed before the launch, including Dave Gibbons and Bill Sienkiewicz, were probably the most impressive thing about the company. Most recently, Madefire has announced partnerships with other technology platforms, including Snapchat and the volatile augmented reality company Magic Leap. According to Crunchbase, Madefire raised $16.4 million from investors including Real Ventures, Plus Capital, Kevin Spacey (yes, Kevin Spacey), and Drake, but Beat said the total was “more than that.”