Newly minted indie publisher Chromatic Press has announced two new series for its digital anthology Sparkler, which will launch in July as a monthly magazine: Dire Hearts, a magical-school-battle story by Christy Lijewski, creator of RE:Play and Next Exit, and Gauntlet, an illustrated prose novel written by Ellery Prime and illustrated by T2A.
In addition to that news, Chromatic reached a milestone of sorts last week: It began shipping print copies of the first two volumes of Jen Lee Quick’s Off*Beat, which were funded by a Kickstarter campaign. Off*Beat was originally released by Tokyopop, which stopped publishing original English manga before the third volume was finished. Chromatic bought the rights from Tokyopop and gave the full copyright to Quick; in return, she signed to publish the full series with Chromatic.
Chromatic Press is run by four women with a ton of experience in comics and other media, including former Tokyopop editor Lillian Diaz-Przybyl, freelance writer and editor Lianne Sentar, freelance manga editor Rebecca Scoble, and Jill Astley, who works for a big bank by day and is heavily involved in otome game fandom when she’s off the clock.
Back when Tokyopop was churning out stacks of manga-style graphic novels (a.k.a. “global manga”), Jen Lee Quick’s OffBeat was one of the best. It was a bit like a high school version of Harriet the Spy with a touch of yaoi intrigue — a teenage boy spies on his mysterious new neighbor and gradually becomes fascinated with him. The story was supposed to run for three volumes, but after the first two came out, Tokyopop dropped most of its global manga line, and OffBeat was one of the casualties. By then it had attracted quite a following, and it was one of the few books that fans actually clamored for more of.
Well, good news: Last week, Quick revealed on her Deviantart page that the third volume of OffBeat will be published in 2012. Quick doesn’t name the publisher, but in the comments to the post she says “it’s a new publisher aimed at young women,” which is good news in and of itself. It’s interesting that she has the rights to the book at all, as most of the Tokyopop global manga creators have not been able to get their rights back and have had to leave their projects unfinished as a result.
Quick has done a significant amount of work on the third volume, but a computer virus wiped out much of what she had done. She will be re-scanning and re-toning the lost pages, and she says she will rewrite and edit them along the way, which should make the book stronger in the long run.
(via Comics Worth Reading)