One of the more interesting phenomena of the past few weeks has been the slow re-awakening of Tokyopop, which has returned to life after shuttering its manga operations more than a year ago; the current plan is to co-publish a small number of books as print-on-demand with the anime retailer RightStuf. The first few were volumes 1-3 of Hetalia: Axis Powers, a hugely popular Japanese manga; the next was the final volume of the OEL manga series Bizenghast; and the latest is the third volume of Psy-Comm, another original graphic novel.
Tony Salvaggio, the former manga columnist for Comic Book Resources, is the writer of Psy-Comm and has kept the flame burning for a number of years now, since the first volume came out in 2005. He had to get a new artist for the second volume, and the third just missed the chance to be published before Tokyopop shut down its original graphic novel line in 2008. Tokyopop did publish it online, for free, the following year, but when the company took down its site, the book disappeared as well. With the new announcement, we checked in with Salvaggio about making Psy-Comm, working with Tokyopop, and staying with a comic for the long haul.
Robot 6: Let’s start with the book. It’s been a while. Can you give us a quick description of what Psy-Comm is about?
Tony Salvaggio: Psy-Comm is set in a world where corporations have replaced nations and countries and exist as Corp-States and war has been replaced with televised battles that settle the differences between them. Each Corp State has its own Psychic Commando — the Psy-Comms –media superstars that inspire even the non-psychics to fight in the wars for fabulous prizes. One Psy-Comm’s past comes back to haunt him and he decides to run away from his Corp-State and celebrity status, taking along a rival Psy-Comm in training.
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.
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]