Archie Comics and the Million-Dollar Printing Debt

A few days ago, we found out about an interesting claim: in October of this year, Kappa Printing Group brought a federal complaint against Archie Comics to collect an outstanding $876,409 balance on the printing of “Archie” comics, colouring books, and other publications after buying Vanguard Graphics.

Of course, things are going to be more complicated. But it’s not down to Reggie, the Black Hood, or the Serpents.

The paperwork states that Archie signed a credit deal with Vanguard Graphics for printing serviced back in 2015, with a limit of $400,000, and between then and June 2017, invoiced for $921,309.65. However, despite significant late fees, it appears not to have been paid. Vanguard sold the debt to Kappa in September. Archie has since paid $44,899.83 to Vanguard, reducing the amount owed to $876,409.82.

With interest and agreed late fees, the current sum owed is $954,592.31. Kappa states that Archie has told them, “We will work this out.” Kappa is seeking payment of the full sum, collection costs, and legal fees.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting: Nicholas Karabots had a large stake in Kappa. He also owns, or has a large stake in, Kable Distributors, a long-standing and historically important pulp books/comics/magazine distributor that handled Archie’s newsstand business.

That is, until they went out of business, with little notice, about two years ago around this time of the year — and apparently they still owe Archie an equally huge amount of money: around $1.2 million.

The result is that this situation is part of some internecine debate over who owes who what for how much. Archie is arguing that the debt should be covered by the debt that Kable still owe them. Kappa are arguing that the debts should be separate.

And as Kable is pushed into Chapter 7 bankruptcy by many creditors, including Archie, it is more and more unlikely that Archie could get any of that money back — unless they can get out of paying the Vanguard debt and lump it into the same situation.

But then, wouldn’t Kable’s other creditors also want a slice of that cherry pie? Maybe Pops can whip up another…

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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