Speaking of manga, as we just were, and Tezuka and Kickstarter as we were yesterday, here is another Tezuka Kickstarter project that has kind of gone into the “Kickstarter failure” file.
Last June something called Kansai Club Publishing raised more than $52,000 to publish an English language version of Tezuka’s The Crater. This is a short story collection, originally published from 1969-1970, that the Kickstarter page says is “the perfect blend of mystery, suspense, horror, fantasy and comedy. This is the first time that one of Tezuka-sensei’s short story collections will be published in English.”
Well that sounds great, and the money was raised. But then…this project fell into a crater. The usual foreign mailing costs hadn’t been factored in, and a rather glum update showed that this project was just too much for the organizer, Andrew Nevo, to handle:
As some of you already know, the books are not yet ready to ship. We ran into a number of issues with the first batch that we received from the casebinder and needed to make various adjustments to the cover of the book and layout of a number of pages. The cover image is still the same and nothing was changed with the contents of the book, however, we felt that these adjustments were necessary in order to deliver the high quality book that we promised to all of our backers.
I wish that there was a way for us to provide everyone with additional compensation for the many delays that we have faced thus far in the book’s creation, however, there is little that we can do. We have already spent well over $30k and will spend another $40k plus on packaging, shipping and handling to send the books out to our Kickstarter backers only. All that we can do at this point is to make sure that our books come out perfectly and meet all of your expectations.
I cannot stress enough to everyone that we are making no money on this project. As everyone knows, this book was the first book that we have published and every step that we took to get to this point has been taken without guidance from industry experts. Sure, we started with extensive plans and deadlines for this book that we strongly felt could be met. However, our lack of knowledge and inexperience of the publishing industry has caused heavy delays throughout. Everyone who has worked on this book’s creation did so out of love for classic manga and without compensation. All help that we received came from people who work full-time jobs who took a few hours out of their weeks here and there to help bring this book to fruition.
I will be posting another update this week with the new dates for when the books will be shipped once we receive the updated schedule from our printer. I implore everyone to please stop contacting Tezuka Productions with angry complaints, sending me threatening emails and calling my house/cell phone. Tezuka Productions is just as angry with us as all of you are. I understand that your trust in us has been waning for some time and I simply cannot stress enough how sorry I am for not being able to provide everyone with a copy of the book on time. Please be just a little more patient.
This will likely be out first and last project. I hope that we have not discouraged others from trying their hands at legally printing classic manga themselves. If anyone believes that they can do a better job with future projects (as I’m sure many of you can) please feel free to reach out to me with any questions once this project has finished and I will be happy to help in any way I can. At least others who follow in our steps will not need to make the same mistakes that we made. Thank you again for your continual support, understanding and patience.
As of this date, no one has gotten books, and a 450 comment thread of complaints on the comment page has ensued. I’m not going to read through all of them, but the jist is mostly what I wrote above: the guy was in over his head. Here’s one representative one:
In all fairness this project did look amateur when it was live. I’m sure Osuma Tezuka’s name was the only reason this project got so much attention. This project, Kansai Club and Andrew all gave of signs that this project may be sketchy. I agree that Andrew mishandled pretty much everything on this project but we all took a chance and ignored the signs so now we are out our $ and this project is dead in the water. I wish there was more we could do to help remedy this but we will probably have to accept this as a failure.
Nevo hasn’t been heard from since June, and opinions seem to vary between being a conman and just naive. At any rate, we all know many Kickstarters do not come to fruition….and this seems to be another one. Caveat backer.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.