Stolen Hearts v1It’s been a few weeks since DC announced the end of CMX Manga, and the mangasphere has had something to say about it, including me. And then there’s been the inevitable analysis of why CMX failed. Some have said it was because they didn’t have a recognizable brand or specific line. Others have said it was because one person was choosing the licenses. Hindsight is 20/20, so it’s easy to try to come up with different reason but were they really the cause?

It’s been suggested that one of the reasons CMX failed was because they couldn’t find an audience. Their licenses were all over the place, from 70′s shojo to senien to horror. There was no focus to titles chosen, and therefore no audience to focus on. Is this really a bad thing though? I thought CMX has a great catalog because of all the variety. You could find something for everyone in it. Something for kids and tween, comedy romance, drama, horror, even historical. Variety is the spice of life! And putting all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea. Having a diverse catalog is just what a good manga publisher should have. And CMX diversified well. If manga were stocks, any financial advisor would be proud!

It’s also been suggested that because one person, Asako Suzuki, was chosing the licenses for the company, and that she was only choosing titles she liked  but didn’t necessarily sell well. I really can’t agree with this. One person chosing the licenses is probably more the norm than the except with manga publishers. And after one person making decisions, well, look at Kurt Hassler when he was at Borders. He is credited with creating the manga selection at Borders and was at one point called one of the most important/influential people in manga/comics. He chose the titles he liked and thought would sell well. Asako no doubt did the same, and I think she did a good job. I certainly found a lot of her choices good!

King of Card Volume 2So what was it that made CMX fail? It’s been said over and over before, but I’ll say it again. It’s parent company, DC didn’t do anything to market that line. Putting a solicitation in Previews is not marketing. DC claimed they would bridge the manga and comic store gap, yet did nothing to help retailers or promote the books to bloggers, bookstores or librarians, their three strongest avocates. You can’t buy or recommend books you don’t know about. While there were other factors that contributed to its ultimate end, the mishandling of the imprint in its first year, and then being completely ignored for the rest was the main factor in its lack of sales.

And it’s such a shame too, as they were on the verge of releases some really promising titles. Word was getting out to reviewers. They were one of the few active publishers on Twitter interacting with reviewers and fans. If no one can or will rescue these, here are the titles that will never see an official english translation:

  • Nyankoi
  • Shisso Holiday
  • The Phantom Guesthouse
  • Tableau Gate
  • 51 Ways to Save Her
  • Polyphonica: Cardinal Crimson
  • Nadeshiko Club

Even though we mourn the lost, there is still plenty alive to celebrate about. While I’m disappointed some titles may never get finished, I am glad for the ones I have been able to read and review, even for just the first volume. These are the titles I’ve been able to review for far, and will continue to review. As long as there are volumes available somewhere, I will continue to recommend the work, not for DC, but for the staff that really cared and put all their time and effort into getting these titles out for us.

Besides all these titles, some of which I still have volumes left to review, there are still more I haven’t gotten to yet. Key to the Kingdom, Fire Investigator Nanase, Two Flowers for the Dragon, Canon, Kiichi and the Magic Books, Recipe for Gertrude, VS, and Venus Capriccio are all yet to be reviewed. And there’s still more I want to pick up volumes of and read still:

  • Apothecarius Argentum
  • Astral Project – Tsuki no Hikari
  • Ballad of a Shinigami
  • Moon Child
  • Name of the Flower

Are there any other titles I should check out? I know there are. People on Twitter listed off their favorite titles and there were several I’d love to check out, but can’t remember! So, leave me a comment and tell me what other CMX titles I’m missing out on.

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5 Comments for this entry

  • Safety says:

    I would recommend:

    - Teru Teru x Shonen: Some people have found it to be a little rough going in, but it pays off later. It’s a shame we won’t get to see it all play out (vol. 7 of 11 will be one of the last CMX books out), though.

    - Canon, one of Chika Shiomi’s earlier series. I really enjoy her works so watching the evolution through Canon and then GoComi’s Night of the Beasts has been interesting. This one is, like her other titles, has a supernatural setting (vampires).

  • Ken H. says:

    I’d recommend Gon. It’s a fantastic silent series with beautiful art that’s a fun and touching read. I think it’s pretty cheap too, each volume is like.. $6 I think? Plus you can pretty much jump in at any time as there’s no continuing plot threads or anything like that.

  • lys says:

    I just recently finished Cipher, which was an awesome story about two twin brothers and their friends in 1980s New York. It’s one of the most relatable depictions of the US I recall seeing in manga, even with the distance of 20-30 years and my never having been to New York. The characters and their interactions are great. The series made me cry more than a couple times…

    I’m now reading Tower of the Future, and with two volumes to go I am nervous and excited and anxious and impatient to finish, and totally hooked on the world created by Saki Hiwatari-sensei. I’d love to read more of her work some day (I was some years late in discovering it, but I’ve also read Please Save My Earth). After I finish this I’m going to tackle Moon Child, which I fear will be even more intense. I’m looking forward to it :D

    And, well, I’m a huuuuuge fan of Banri Hidaka’s work, and I Hate You More Than Anyone (incomplete with 9 of 13 volumes published by CMX) is my favourite ever. But I’m thankful that Tears of a Lamb (which is a rather different, but quite interesting, sort of story) was able to finish, and that Tokyopop is still releasing VB Rose!

    And I second the rec for Teru Teru x Shonen, which I started reading after seeing much praise from a couple of its readers, and came to love very much.

    (also, if you haven’t read Oyayubihime Infinity, I highly recommend it! It’s one of CMX’s earlier releases, but it was the first series that brought them to my attention, and I totally love it to bits!!)

  • Gon is pretty amazing. Brutal and detailed and somehow endearing.

    If you liked Palette, be sure to check out Recipe for Gertrude (finished) and Two Flowers for the Dragon (unfinished) by the same author.

    I’m reading Penguin Revolution right now, and it’s impressively cute.

    My big list is at http://notanotakunao.blogspot.com/2010/05/requiem-for-cmx.html. If you read it, you will see that I will miss CMX. A lot.

    Thanks for posting that list of the ones you reviewed. :) That was helpful.

  • Estara says:

    You’re missing the classic ballet manga – Swan (went up to 15 volumes, but is 21 volumes in all). The best taste is this post by Shaenon Garrity http://shaenon.livejournal.com/28663.html

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