It's been a few weeks now since non-sport manufacturer Inkworks announced they were "ceasing regular operations." Stopping short of going out of business, right now they're not in the card-making business as of right now.
The amount of attention the company's demise garnered got me wondering if they've become like a great artist becoming more well known in death than when they were around. A lot of this pondering stems from Razor announcing they'd bought a lot of Inkworks' autograph leftovers and are releasing about 18,000 of them in a grab-bag product entitled Ink Archives. What this did was show the sports market what non-sport collectors have known for a decade: there's plenty of variety of autographs available at reasonable prices - at least unless you're a hot actress like Angelina Jolie. Razor's market is traditionally the sports crowd so with their marketing efforts, Ink Archives immediately became a crossover release that caters to both the sports and the non-sport niches. By crossing over, the Inkworks name has now been exposed to more collectors and, I'd argue, is more recognizable to the card-collecting public.
Then there was the controversy uncovered a couple weeks after the solicitations for Ink Archives where a company owned by Razor owner Brian Gray was selling several Inkworks autographs via eBay. True or not, this revelation led to much speculation over whether or not Ink Archives was as random as advertised or if most of the "hot" autographs had been cherry picked to be sold separately. Gray responded swiftly by pulling all of the auctions and said that those listed had never been part of the consideration for Ink Archives. Throughout all these stories and allegations, the Inkworks name is being tossed around more, which should make their name and products even more recognizable.
So what if Inkworks were able to make a hobby comeback later this year, next year or some point down the road? Will they have a bigger fanbase because of the attention they've gotten since they stopped making cards?