End of an era: Tokyopop shutting down US publishing division

The comics publishing culling of 2011 claimed its most prominent victim as it was announced today that Tokyopop is shutting down its US operations, as of May 31. The German office will stay open to handle publishing rights and the film division will continue.

Founded in 1997, Tokyopop and its founder Stu Levy were at the forefront of the manga revolution in the US, introducing such hits as SAILOR MOON, CHOBITS, and LOVE HINA to the US market in the “unflipped” format for the first time.

Sales surged as the manga bookstore revolution took over in the early part of the last decade. An ambitious program of publishing original manga by creators from around the world — many of them barely out of the teenaged readership years themselves — proved controversial and ultimately saw only a handful of successful franchises but introduced a new generation of creators to the comics scene.

Tokyopop follow-up: Is Stuart Levy the Charlie Sheen of comics?

Following up on yesterday’s new about Tokyopop laying off at least three editors, the scuttlebutt has continued to flow. Some sources are telling us that there are only 7 people left on staff, including founder Stuart Levy and president Mike Kiley — the rest of the duties of getting out a line of manga being assigned to freelancers.

Brigid Alverson is about as calm and rational a person as we have ever met, so tosee her unload as she does in this post about Tpop’s history is a fearsome thing. The layoffs, the OEL rights disasters, the silly detours into movies and Web-TV, and over it all the seeming cluelessness of Levy — Brigid nails it all:

More layoffs at Tokyopop — UPDATE

Word is going around that LA manga publisherToykopop has laid off several more people — including editors Lillian Diaz-Przybyl and Troy Lewter. The staff is now reduced to a mere handful of people — including owner Stu Levy and publisher Mike Kiley.

EDIT: Editor Asako Suzuki has also been laid off.

Tokyopop goes to Diamond for distribution

Tokyopop has just signed a deal with Diamond Book Distributors for distribution to both comics shops and bookstores. This marks Tokyopop’s return to Diamond after signing a big joint venture with HarperCollins in 2006 for distribution and new products. The deal saw Tpop packaging such bestsellers as The Warriors for HC., but not much seems […]

America's Greatest Otaku

Tokyopop have revealed the teaser trailer for their new show debuting on Hulu in December. You can watch the trailer here on YouTube. The show features Tokyopop’s Stu Levy and his team of interns (the Otaku 6) criss-crossing the USA, visiting anime events and trying to find greatest Otaku. What is an Otaku? Deb Aoki […]

Tokyopop joins Hulu

Have you ever wanted to see the seldom-screened VAN VON HUNTER movie? Soon you can watch it and other Toykopop-produced material such as their Manga Motion comics on their new Hulu site. Currently showing, Spring and Chaos (Kenji no Haru) is the animated biography of poet Kenji Miyazawa.

Tokyopop teams with Zinio for digital

Another digital comics deal, as Toykopop has signed with digital newsstand Zinio to sell a selection of their GNs. The line-up includes mostly OEL, such as Earthlight, The Dreaming and Van Von Hunter, and manhwa — The Tarot Cafe — although a few manga titles will be available soon. Books will sell for $5.99, cheaper than the print version but more than a comic book.

Zinio is a virtual newsstand which sells proprietary downloads for Macs and PCs. According to Caleb Goellner, they use flash, which might be problematic for Apple devices.

A cat that cooks ramen, and a boy and his gorilla

A couple of publishing announcements that caught our eye the other day. • Tokyopop will publish Kenji Sonishi’s NekoRamen. a manga about a cat who cooks ramen. SOLD. Via Johanna, who has a rundown of the busy marketing campaign, which includes weekly online comics. • Slave Labor has announced CAPTAIN LONG EARS, the debut graphic […]

Tokyopop update

Tokyopop held their scheduled webinar on Wednesday and Deb Aoki has a thorough recap, including some old favorite books coming back, but others not coming back, and more .hack and so on. There was some talk of manhwa and classic manga: Prospects for reviving dormant Korean manhwa titles look dim now, but possibly the only […]

Manga dance: Tokyopop loses Kodansha license, Del Rey gets distro, OEL in limbo

Likely top news if not for that other story yesterday, Brigid Alverson dropped the bombshell that manga giant Kodansha is letting its licenses with Tokyopop expire. It’s a huge story and as good a chance as any to look at a whole host of recent Tokyopop developments. Brigid has TPop’s statement: The Japanese publisher Kodansha, […]

Publishing News: TokyoPop, Shutterbox, O, Hex, Lobo, etc etc

A LOT of publishing news out there we haven’t had a chance to collate due to San DIego Madness™, so let’s get going: § Rich Johnston reports that international licensing manager Francine Burke has left DC. Burke is a longtime publishing guru who also worked at Marvel, and some smart company is sure to snap […]

More on KING CITY's move

Over at CBR, the stupendously talented Brandon Graham (see above) talks more about how KING CITY went from purgatory at Tokyopop to publishing at Image: Graham released “King City” Vol. 1 in 2007 through American manga publisher TOKYOPOP, and gained an Eisner nomination for Best Writer/Artist – Humor in 2008. The company planned to follow […]

Business briefs

A few quick notes on notables things: § BOOM! has announced that its line of kids comics will be carried at Disney’s Soda Fountain Studio Store on Hollywood Blvd. BOOM!’s kids line includes books based on the Muppets and Pixar properties. We can’t attest to what the intervening 10 years have meant, but back when […]

Business news briefs

• ECCC news: The initial launch of the BOOM!/Fox Atomic partnership will be an ongoing 28 DAYS LATER comic: Initial launch story will be firmly based in 28 DAYS LATER continuity with the first arc focusing on Selena. Bridging the gap between 28 DAYS LATER and 28 WEEKS LATER, a few key questions will be […]

Studio coffee run: PRIEST, Wonder Woman

§ The adaptation of PRIEST, the supernatural manhwa by Min-Woo Hyung, is on again, with Paul Bettany now cast as the lead. This movie has been brewing for a while — at one point dear, dear Gerard Butler was set to star, with junior hottie Steven Strait tagging along as the adorable sidekick. However, now […]

Uclick offers DRAMACON app for free

Uclick and Tokyopop are releasing Svetlana Chmakova’s DRAMACON #1 as a free app on the App store. The book was originally released as a trilogy of manga volumes by Tokyopop. The story of adventure and romantic entanglements among manga convention-goers has been one of Tpop’s best selling original manga since it was released. “We’re making […]