As mentioned in “Lying in the Gutters” this week, Vertical, best known for its manga line of Tezuka releases, but also a publisher of translations of various literary Japanese works, has had several layoffs. We can confirm that Steve Vrattos, Vertical’s marketing manager, has been let go. And another company joins the current holocaust in publishing.
Apparently, Vertical’s Black Jack release has had disappointing sales, which is sad, as it continues to get great reviews, including David Welsh at TCR:
He’s still a bit jarring to me, but in a good way. Or maybe it’s Tezuka who’s jarring, because I’m consistently amazed by the versatility of his skills as a cartoonist and storyteller. Instead of making Black Jack tough and leathery on the outside, sweetened oatmeal on the inside, he’s mostly an ass to the core. Tezuka doles out the doctor’s softer, more principled moments judiciously. He doesn’t feel the need to reassure the reader that Black Jack is the hero of the comic. Tezuka is comfortable with the fact that his hero is a jerk.
And io9’s Mangobot:
Mad scientists. Beautiful women who specialize in amputations. Supercomputers that threaten to starve an entire hospital full of patients. Tumors that take on human form. Sounds like a freakish B-list horror movie, right? Actually, these are all seminal elements of a classic cult favorite manga by Tezuka Osamu. Black Jack is one of his darkest yet most appreciated works, but it hasn’t had much exposure in the US market until now. This fall, Vertical Inc has started publishing this entire series, volume by volume, in English. It’s some of the best science fiction to ever come out of Japan.