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Tokyopop brings back Bizenghast — what’s next?

Remember when Tokyopop shut down its publishing operations? The pioneering manga publisher closed its doors two years ago (although it didn’t entirely go out of business), but recently it announced it would co-publish Hetalia as a print-on-demand book with the anime/manga retail site RightStuf.

Now there’s another book on the horizon: The eighth volume of M. Alice LeGrow’s Bizenghast. Where Hetalia was a Japanese manga, Bizenghast is an OEL (Original English Language) manga, and Tokyopop has struck a similar deal with RightStuf to publish it. The book was originally scheduled for publication last year, and I’ll make an educated guess that all the production had already been done, as was the case with several other books.

Which raises the question: What other books might we expect? Daniela Orihuela-Gruber, who was a freelance editor for Tokyopop, wrote in September that production had been completed on new volumes of Maid Sama, Gakuen Alice and Skyblue Shore, all Japanese series. Others were in various stages of production; looking at the books in the Previews order forms for April and May 2011, one could make an educated guess that Vol. 4 of Aion, Vol. 6 of Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 3 of The Secret Notebook of Lady Kanoko, Vol. 13 of VB Rose and Vol. 10 of Silver Diamond would be close to ready to go. With the license fees paid and the editorial work done, these books could be quickly brought into print — some may have already been printed, in fact.

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Comics A.M. | The Walking Dead continues bookstore domination

The Walking Dead, Compendium One

Publishing | Continuing its domination of the graphic novel sales in bookstores, The Walking Dead laid claim to seven of the Top 10 spots on BookScan’s April chart. The series, by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, took the first four positions. What’s more, 12 of the Top 20 graphic novels were volumes of The Walking Dead. [ICv2.com]

Publishing | Robot 6 contributor Brigid Alverson talks to Right Stuf director of marketing and communications Alison Roberts about that company’s announcement earlier this week that it will be publishing the first three volumes Hetalia: Axis Powers as a print-on-demand books. The series was originally licensed by Tokyopop, which is co-branding the books with Right Stuf. [MTV Geek]

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Tokyopop brings manga to comiXology


As you have probably read by now, Tokyopop is releasing the first volume of Hetalia: Axis Powers on comiXology the same day the print edition goes on sale in stores. Here’s the official press release, which calls this “a first-ever simultaneous print and digital release for a major manga title in North America.”

Except that it’s not. Hetalia was actually released in digital form first: Last month, Tokyopop made it available on the web via Zinio. I interviewed Hetalia editor Cindy Suzuki about it. Here’s what she said:

We thought Hetalia was the right brand to launch a digital-first program—there’s been such a demand to read it, we decided digital was the best way to satisfy the Hetalia cravings. Also, the ongoing battle against illegal scans weighed into our decision to release it early.

She’s right: Hetalia had a lot of advance buzz, thanks to the anime and the many opportunities it provides for cosplay. People were waiting for it, and making it available digitally (thus capturing part of the market usually left to scanlators) made a lot of sense.

Suzuki’s comments take on new significance in light of yesterday’s news. Continue Reading »

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