Manga triumphalism—heck yeah!

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As I’m probably too fond of saying, each year’s San Diego Comic-Con represents the end of comics’ fiscal year, and we’re now in a new cycle of sales, renewal and looking forward to the next thing. Although the con was not that memorable on its own, it did mark a new plateau in the direct sales era for comics penetration into the mass media, and for having a variety of voices and genres that the medium has probably has never been seen before.

This situation, while far from ideal, still represents a dream come true for a lot of us who have been toiling in the comics industry for a while. I remember as if it were yesterday sitting in various comics industry think tanks in the 90s wondering WHAT could be done to expand the audience for comics, how to bring in genres that weren’t superheroes, and how to overcome the tyranny of the “32 page pamphlet” as it was dubbed by either Kurt Busiek or Marv Wolfman, depending on who you ask. These tasks seemed daunting at the time, and it actually took 25 years to get to a place where it could be argued that its true, and everyone at those meetings is a certified old timer now.

Is TokyoPop still coming back?

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Founded in 1997, TokyoPop was one of the most influential publishers of the Aughts, driving the manga boom in the US as the first publisher to print manga in its original right-to-left format, a move that helped cement its authenticity among young readers. Later on their “original English language manga” line developed an entire generation of young creators working in a manga style, including Becky Cloonan and Amy Reeder Hadley. But it all came to an end in 2011 when the company shut down except for the German office. Owner and founder Stuart Levy went on to make a documentary about the Tohoku earthquake, even amidst continuing controversy about the reversion of rights to creators However there have been flickers of life since then, with some new digital publishing, licensing OEL books like King City to Image, and a TokyoPop-branded newsletter that was part of Nerdist’s adventures in that area.

Since TokyoPop never went bankrupt, it’s entirely possible that Levy can bring it back, as promised on the company’s about page:

Can creators really get their books back from Tokyopop?

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We’ve been covering the sometimes glorious, sometimes ignominious history of Tokyopop for as long as there has been a Beat. Although its biggest legacy is as a manga innovator, its most notorious is the string of unfinished OEL—”original English Language”—series it left behind. An ambitious publishing program that put out dozens of new books by […]