In the recent manga cutbacks, one company has remained conspicuous by their silence — Del Rey’s manga line, mostly licensed from Kodansha, has been quietly downsizing for months, with fewer and fewer titles coming out, and an increased emphasis on their home-made manga-like books, such as their Avatar graphic novels.
In addition, it is confirmed that marketing manager Ali T. Kokmen has been let go. Kokmen worked closely on DEl Rey’s manga line so the lay-off developed from that. (Kokmen is at the con, so if you see him, offer him a gig.)
Kodansha representative are at the show however, including some appearances at the Vertical booth where they are talking up a new English language version of their contributor’s site — perhaps looking to add more English-speaking creators to the established Felipe Smith.
While the scope of all the moves isn’t entirely clear, Random House, the parent company of Del Rey, seems to be cutting back on graphic novels in general, as the manga category softens and a lot of books that were announced with great fanfare over the last few years underperformed, such as the Marvel manga line. They are still in the space with books like the Flight anthologies however, and other licensed titles. And of course, they distribute DC’s graphic novels to the trade.
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.