Bos3 Ch 05 001
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.


  1. Hmm… V.1 and V.2 covers can be seen on The first doesn’t ring any of my retailer alarm bells, and the second, well, she could be wearing a bikini top of some sort. Probably they were more concerned with the content inside. I’ve special ordered other adult graphic novels thorugh my store, but we very rarely stock it. (And this is in the heart of Manhattan, one of the more accepting areas of the country.)

    Too bad about the title being sent to manga limbo. I enjoyed his adult stories, as they seemed to have actual plot and characterization, as well as fantastic art.

  2. That’s a lot of time and product just sitting there due to ToykoPop’s failing as a publisher. They are falling apart so that I think a lot of other people will get screwed too, at least they paid the creative teams for their work. I hope it sees the light of day with a new publisher or online where Austen owns the rights to it.

  3. Chuck can take pride in knowing that he is now the only Google hit for “erotic baseball manga.”

    In fairness, though, I recall that he’d done some fairly well received work along this sort of line before his unfortunate brush with superhero books. He’s probably right that this is a much better fit for his sensibilities.

  4. “Too bad about the title being sent to manga limbo. I enjoyed his adult stories, as they seemed to have actual plot and characterization, as well as fantastic art.”

    You can always count on Austen to have those things in his work (no matter what he’s writing about) along with endearing moments, thoughtful story lines, humor, and imagination. Why there was such an upsurge of fanboys with their panties in a bunch, that ran him out of super-hero comics is waaay beyond me. Anyway, it seems that the curse of the blacklist (not to be confused with The Black Lipstick Curse) is still dogging him until this very day. I’m very sad about this, because he is one of my biggest joys in comic book reading. I hope BOS is collected. I spend way to much time working and chatting on the computer to do my comic book reading there, too.

  5. Not sure how the legalities of this works, but can a creator offer to purchase the publication rights to their own work from the owner, and then shop the book around?

  6. Never mind, I read the article. Duh.

    Anyway, good to hear foreign sales are good, but I don’t speak Hungarian or Russian. Must be frustrating to create work that is only available in a foreign language.

    What if he just sold a little “Libretto/Baseball Program” booklet containing the English text?

  7. Well, they’re still printing it in other countries, just not in English. As long as they’re doing that, Chuck in still under his contract. Thinking about the cover, though. I’ve seen way worse things in both Borders and Barns & Noble. I’ll have to stop by the T Pop booth at comic con and tell them that I really want to by BOS, and that they should print it. Maybe, if enough people do that, and write letters, we’ll get to read it after all.

  8. The first Volume of this did come out in comic stores.

    DCBS sent me my copy of Vol 1 when it was solicited long time ago.

    Mind you the book was properly sealed for an book obviously meant for mature audiences so I’ll never understand what Tokyopop’s problem was.

    Just ticked off I’ll never be able to read the rest. It was actually pretty good.

  9. wait!! let me get this straight…A manga was Stopped because it was TOO sexy?!??!? Is that right? Am I reading that article correctly? O.o


  10. Not a fan of Chuck Austin or this book by a long shot, but that is pretty rotten. Then again, if the later two single volumes don’t sell, it seems like a huger publishing blunder to sell a omnibus hardcover. So the idea was pretty dumb to begin with.

    Anyone else remember another time he teamed with a manga-ka? Him and Kia Asamiya on X-men. The art was amazing. The story was simply awful. Not to mention the anti-religion rhetoric made Bill Maher seem like da freakin pope.

    Also did Austin just say that his writing on this was like Naoki Urasawa’s work? Um.. excuse me?

  11. “Anyone else remember another time he teamed with a manga-ka? Him and Kia Asamiya on X-men. The art was amazing. The story was simply awful. Not to mention the anti-religion rhetoric made Bill Maher seem like da freakin pope.”

    That was a great story. The “anti-religion rhetoric” (and I am a Catholic) is a devise for building tension in a story. I give him marks for having the grapefruits to do it.

  12. Xenos, you can’t say the other two volumes didn’t sell, they were never released.

    I just laugh that parents groups found this objectionable but Battle Royale’s enjoyed by everyone.

    I mean that book had its moments that creeped me out.

  13. Why were they never released? Did the original not sell well, like many other ‘OEL manga’ from TokyoPop? Did TokyoPop never market the first one too well? TokyoPop’s oversized hardcover looked like it was for best selling series, yet this one oddly pops up with never having the second two volumes. No surprise it got canned. I’m still hoping Dramacon’s hardcover is still a go.

    As for the anti-religion story, I found it dumb. Okay, not everything can be that good, but something like Preacher was a smartly done book looking at the downside of organized religion. Meanwhile Chuck Austin’s was an immature rant with one of the most absurd stawmen I’ve ever seen. Plus it was just an odd use of the X-men.

  14. I have been trying to find the series on shelves everywhere in bookstores and now to find out that its never going to be released is such a disappointment…vol 1 was good to me!

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