Well, speak of the devil. Benjamin Ong Pang Kean catches up with Chuck Austen and his erotic baseball manga BOYS OF SUMMER. Turns out after the first volume was pulled from retailers for the racy cover and interiors by hentai artist Hiroki Otsuka, all three volumes were completed, but two will never feel the touch of sweet, sweet paper to ink.
When contacted by Newsarama again, Austen said the whole TokyoPop experience has made him grown “quite a bit” as a creator. “It reminded me what a joy it is to work on something personal for a fanbase that’s more interested in the kind of thing I like to create – romantic comedy like Mitsuru Adachi [Touch, Miyuki, H2, Slow Step], and character thrillers like Naoki Urasawa [Monster, 20th Century Boys]. I’ll never go back to superheroes or work-for-hire ever again. Not that I’ve been asked. [laughs]
Austen reiterated that “[Volume One of Boys of Summer] got printed with a cover that was deemed inappropriate for bookshelves by a distributor, and in typical TokyoPop business fashion, it was never made available with a new cover.
“The original Volume #1 has always been available online, but never anywhere else, and barely promoted. But the other two will not get out.”
Austen is particularly saddened that a planned 3-volume omnibus will never come out:
“The Boys of Summer: The Complete Season — after something like 6 or more years of waiting and difficulties, after having been written, drawn, lettered, formatted, paid for, and almost drawn by me at one point (hence the extra ten pages of art – I actually drew something like 60) — is canceled. Done. Killed in utero. It had been scheduled, solicited, ordered, and [was scheduled to head] for the printer [that] week. “It is no longer. It is a dead book. A dead tree books, technically. They decided it was better to eat the up-front cost and not pay any more for printing and distribution, and potential returns. “It may see life online, as a webcomic for TP. But it will not be printed. Unfortunately.