Robot 6

RIP Go! Comi?

After School Nightmare

After School Nightmare

The manga publisher Go! Comi launched in 2005 with four series aimed at older teenage girls: Crossroad, Cantarella, Her Majesty’s Dog, and Tenshi Ja Nai. The opening line spanned several styles and tastes—romance, horror, some light boys’ love—and all the books were beautifully produced and edited with obvious care.

From there, editor in chief David Wise and editorial director Audry Taylor went on to publish a greater variety of series—the slapstick Hikkatsu, the beautifully drawn Song of the Hanging Sky, Wendy Pini’s The Masque of the Red Death, and Aimee Major-Steinberger’s Japan Ai: A Tall Girl’s Adventures in Japan. Their ten-volume series After School Nightmare was nominated for an Eisner award, and the Young Adult Library Services Association named it one of the ten best graphic novels of 2008.

Go! Comi positioned itself as a high-quality publisher. Some of their choices were questionable (you could make a strong case for The Devil Within being the worst manga ever published in English) but at a time when some publishers were piling ‘em high and selling ‘em cheap, Go! Comi picked smart titles and handled them with respect. You always got the feeling that someone was in charge, not just picking the titles but editing the books, adding translation notes, checking the quality of the covers—all the things that publishers do. Not surprisingly, Go! Comi quickly gained a following among bloggers and reviewers, and their initial lineup sold over 10,000 copies, which is pretty respectable.

Then, sometime last year, the books stopped coming, and soon people were wondering what was up. Manga readers are aware of a depressing pattern—first the books stop appearing, then the staff stops showing up on Twitter and at conventions, and eventually the office furniture is sold at auction and stacks of manga appear on the remainders table. When Broccoli Books folded, the staff actually announced it and said their farewells, but Central Park Media, ADV Manga, and Aurora Comics have passed from our midst with barely a whimper.

People started wondering about Go! Comi late last year, when the books stopped showing up. In January, someone from the company posted an update on their forums. The link is now dead, but ANN reported it:

In the post, the company’s site administrator apologized for its delays and explained that the company is being hit hard “due to a combination of economic downturn and digital theft.”

The post also said that “a lot of small-to-medium publishers […] have had to scale back their operations, let employees go, double up workloads, and put many of their books on hiatus or cancel them entirely. It would not be unreasonable to assume Go! has had to do some of these things itself, though I can’t get into specifics there.”

The poster went on to say that Go! Comi might have to shut down its website, and indeed, the news made its way around the blogosphere and the Twitterverse yesterday that the site had indeed expired. Gia Manry tried calling the contact number for the parent company with no luck; I sent off an e-mail to the CEO but I’m not sure it’s even active any more, and I didn’t get a response. I have e-mailed a few times in the past with similar results. And former editor Audry Taylor Tweeted that she is no longer working there; she also put 60 volumes of manga up for auction to benefit a Nashville charity.

Amazon still lists most of the Go! Comi books that I checked as available new (from them, not resellers), which I believe means that they are technically still in print. However, it looks like the company is going through the slow, sad process of closing its doors. And this one’s gonna hurt. I met Wise and Taylor at several conventions, and I liked them immensely; I also was a big fan of the books.

As the manga scene evolves, other publishers are moving into the smart-manga niche: Yen Press, Vertical, and Viz’s Signature line all publish manga that go beyond the standard genres, but Go! Comi had a sensibility all their own, and they will be missed.

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Comments

6 Comments

james nemanich

May 11, 2010 at 10:44 pm

so sad, i thought it could have been a great little publisher of high quality manga

I am deeply saddened by the loss of Go Comi!
It did cross my mind as to why there hadn’t been any manga coming in the last yr or so..ur RIP Go Comi has answered that question :(
I wish the former staff members of Go Comi all the best for the future.

NB: lets hope that some of the other publishers pick up some of the manga that they left behind – like all the fans on uncompleted manga…

im so hearthbroken over this. R.I.P. I really loved their manga. i have been patiently waiting for new releases on Ultimate venus. I guess they wont release any more chapters. What is going on with the manga world? Onemanga shuts down, gocomi goes out of business. It sucks.

*Hugs Ana* I know how you feel because I’m also a fan of Ultimate Venus. For many months I’ve been looking around for news on what happened to Go Comi! but every search just seems to come up with even sadder results than the one before. With Audry Taylor gone it seems like they’re gone for good now. Go Comi! had some great titles and made high quality books so it’s sad to see them gone. Hopefully another company will pick up Ultimate Venus and some of their other titles because I can’t stand reading scanlations on my computer … and … somehow if I did resort to that I’d feel like I would be contributing to the death of Go Comi … *cries*

Wow, I knew they were having problems but I didn’t realize it had come to this point. I am sooo sad that the titles like Ultimate Venus and Cy-Believers won’t be finished.

Even more sad is that Go Comi won’t be around. I really loved all their titles and their website. I guess its true what they say,” The good die young.”

Its a company that will be truly missed and its inspiring titles. It might sound odd but I am thankful that I have all the volumes of Tenshi Ja Nai, because I think it is my all time favorite title of manga out there.

Wow, this is so depressing :( I’ve been wondering since 2009 what had happened…
I’ve gotten so attached to Ultimate Venus& i’ve had to completely give up finding the 6th and 7th volumes :/
Bye Go Comi <3

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