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.



  1. …And Vertical and Kodansha and Campfire. Also, Random House is a federation of publishers, much like the European Union. Crown, Villard, and Pantheon still publish graphic novels, and I suspect their digital books will lead the wave.

    Ali is an amazing marketeer, and a great guy! I do hope he lands on his feet at another GN publisher, because this industry needs more like him!

  2. I met Ali many years ago when I first arrived at DC Comics. I believe he was a Watson-Guptill at the time and was involved with some of the licensed books DC was publishing through them. My first image of him was this guy who was clearly a fan of comics who walked around in a suit and a bow tie – a real one I might add, not a clip-on and who had boundless energy and enthusiasm for the medium. He had a storehouse of knowledge about comics and would love to talk about all thing comics. Ink seemed to be flowing thorough his veins and word balloons were hovering over his head. I felt that someone should publish an Ali T. Kokman comic strip.

    As I got to know him over the years I became more and more impressed with his professionalism, intelligence, generosity and an appreciation towards anyone or any company who was striving to make good books and to advance the medium. I hope Ali and everyone out there knows that he is one of those people who has made and I believe will continue to make a difference in this industry.

    I well know that when something like this happens to you, you find out who your true friends are…I know Ali will not lack for people who are in his corner.

    I am proud to call Ali my friend.

  3. I’ve met Ali Kokmen from time to time and he’s never been anything other than an incredibly generous, friendly person. He even gave me a slice of Del Rey Charm City Cakes cake last year at the big Del Rey party at Dave & Busters when I had trouble getting my hands on some. I hope he finds a new job soon, he’s good people.