Virgin Comics shuttering NY office

Venture tried to lure filmmakers to comic world

Virgin Comics, a team-up between Virgin Books and India-based comics publisher Gotham Entertainment that had Hollywood dreams, announced Tuesday that it is closing its New York offices and will reorganize its operations.

Citing "the current macro-economic downturn," the company, under CEO Sharad Devarajan and president Suresh Seetharaman, said it hopse to restructure the business and consolidate its operations to a Los Angeles base.

Eight people have been laid off.

The company launched in 2006 with Sir Richard Branson, Deepak Chopra and director Shekhar Kapur among its founders. It began by publishing comics inspired by Indian/Hindu mythology and then moved into a line known as Director's Cut, which attempted to lure filmmakers into the comic world in the hopes of subsequently getting the books set up as film projects

Guy Ritchie, John Woo, Nicolas Cage, Ed Burns, and musician Dave Stewart were among the contributors to the line, with Ritchie's "The Game Keeper" finding a home at Warner Bros.

The comics were slickly produced but Virgin remained a marginal comic book player, with it titles suffering low sales.

The future of the film projects is unclear though the company did say it would not remain idle.

"We remain excited about the business and partnerships we have built through Virgin Comics and are working towards a restructuring that properly takes the business forward," Devarajan said in a statement.