Tag Archives: OEL

Dropping Like Flies

For a weekend, the news has been unusually busy. I open up Thunderbird, and find that 2 Tokyopop titles are not going to be printed. Rivkah has announced on her Livejournal blog that her series Steady Beat Volume 3 will not get a published book release, but will be put up as a web comic. Bettina Kurkoski has reported on her Deviant Art page the same for her series My Cat Loki, except she’s not even getting online publishing (Wah! I liked MCL! 🙁 ).

So, what does this mean for Tokyopop’s Global manga? Continue reading Dropping Like Flies

Two Heads Are Better than One

Jumping on the bandwagon once again, I’ll throw in another 2 cents about Tokyopop. No ranting this time though. I think this is a good move for Tokyopop. Attention can be divided up properly, and well as investment. Tokyopop has alway tried to be on the cutting end of bring manga to new technologies, something I wholeheartedly believe in. But, I think these new digital mediums may have been distracting to the publishing side, and the publishing may even have been at odds with the digital side. Separating the two may help both grow without having to worry what the other is thinking or may do to stop them.

I think the reduction of releases is also a good idea. Quality is always better than quantity, and Tokyopop seemed to be doing the latter. I did some number crunching of TP titles at the end of 2007, and in just a 5 month period, they had 212 releases, with 37 new titles and 34 titles ending. About 1/6th of their titles monthly were either starting or ending. A lot of these titles were mediocre and short. As has been mentioned elsewhere, TP doesn’t have access to the super hot titles. Narrowing down their catalog to those titles that create the buzz and/or sell well is better in the long run both for the company and readers. We won’t have to wade through the chaff to find the wheat.

There have been worries that Tokyopop will work more on it’s OEL titles than import titles. I don’t see this as bad. If TP can do a proper editing job, and not be sneaky or condescending in their contracts, I think creating more OEL manga is a good thing. There have been some good titles to come out of these first few years. Dramacon, Bizenghast, and My Cat Loki are titles I’ve really enjoyed reading. We shouldn’t shy away from creating more works inspired by manga. We can’t rely on the Japanese, or Koreans for our reading material forever. We should want to create our own graphic novels (whatever we end up calling it), both original stories and adapatations of successful novels. I’m glad Tokyopop started the OEL line and hope they can learn from their mistakes and make the books better.

With the economy in recession, a lot of changes are going to need to be made. People are changing their spending habits to accommodate the rise in gas and food prices. Companies like Tokyopop that rely on people spending spare cash have to make changes just like everyone else. Becoming more competitive like this will be for the better.

Brian’s Spot: Project D.O.A. Volume 1

Project D.O.A. Volume 1Project D.O.A. Volume 1
By Jeffrey Nodelman & Wagner Fukuhara
Publisher: Tokyopop
Genre: Action
Rating: 13+
RRP: $9.99

Rating: ★★★★½

Reviewed by Brian Henderson

I’ll do this review, even though I don’t really consider Project D.O.A. to be a manga. To me, and some may disagree, it needs to be written and published initially in Japan in order to be a manga. Graphic novels that come from Korea or China or France or the United States, while they may be generally modeled after the manga artform, are not manga, any more than animation that comes from anywhere but Japan is not anime.

That said though, Project D.O.A. is from one of the minds that brought you the wonderful Cartoon Network show Venture Bros.and in a lot of ways has that kind of vibe. In other ways, it strikes me as similar in feel to Buckaroo Banzai and maybe a little bit like Crusher Joe although officially, Jeff Nodelman attributes his inspirations to films like Indiana Jones, Flash Gordon and the works of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. In any case, it’s a not-quite-serious romp around the world, adventure-style.

Meet Dr. Dylan Oliver (also the name of Jeff Nodelman’s real life son) and his team of scientists and adventurers. Like Buckaroo Banzai, they seem to be doing science because it’s fun, not necessarily because it’s profitable. Unlike BB however, they’re not fabulously wealthy where they can just do whatever they want with no thought of the consequences, there’s a lot of worrying about the money. Luckily, Dr. Oliver always has a plan, some cockamamie scheme for finding lost treasure in some far-off locale that will give them enough cash for their short-term scientific schemes.

As the book opens, an experiment goes horribly awry and one of his team, Lilly, loses her life when she’s trapped in the same room as an unshielded nuclear reactor. Wracked with guilt, Dr. Oliver thinks that maybe he can find a way to bring her back to life but his plan will be expensive and dangerous and the only way he can figure to fund his little experiment is to drag the whole team around the world in search of a lost temple hidden inside an active volcano on a deserted island. Of course, there are Nazis involved. Why does it always have to be Nazis? Read the volume and find out.

Project D.O.A. really is a sort of fun, mindless romp through campy adventure-film tropes but it’s clear that Nodelman not only recognizes them as tropes, but he tips them on their heads often enough that what happens is unexpected. In fact, a lot of the fun is trying to figure out where the various ideas, from the giant-gorilla-filled temple to the Amazonian warriors, come from. It’s not all that deep, it won’t keep you in suspense, it certainly won’t win awards for realistic artwork, but it all comes together into something that’s fun to read and interesting enough to hold your interest and make you look forward to the next volume. I recommend it.

12 Days of Manga: Day 8

“On the Eighth day of Christmas, Tokyopop gave to me…Pantheon High vol 1!”

pantheon.jpgYeah! More manga! I read the first chapter of this, and have been wanting to read the whole thing! Now I can! And you can too. But just until 5pm PST. Check it out, and then check out vol 2 which comes out in January. Something to spend your Christmas money on!

Check back here or at Tokyopop.com for the next gift.

12 Days of Manga: Day 5

“On the Fifth day of Christmas, Tokyopop gave to me, Biiiiizenghast Vol 1!”

For the whole weekend you can read Bizenghast vol 1. I’d really encourage people to checkBizenghast Vol 1 out this series. It’s very good, involving riddles that must be solved to put spirits to rest. I enjoyed it anyway.  And it also goes over the usual 3 volume model of most Tokyopop OEL!

Check back here Sunday night/Monday or go to Tokyopop.com for the next gift!

12 Days of Manga: Day 1

Fools Gold Vol 1“On the first day of Christmas, Tokyopop gave to me…Fools Gold Vol. 1!”

For the holidays and in honors of it 10 year anniversary, Tokyopop is making available full volumes of their original manga through their manga reader. Starting today until 5PM PST, you can read the first volume of Fools Gold by Amy Reeder Haley, a previous RSoM winner. Every weekday after, a new volume will be available to read.

This is a good time to check out some of the OEL manga that Tokyopop’s been doing without risking your pocketbook. The manga reader is easy to use, and works in both IE and Firefox. And how can you say no to free manga? I know I can’t! And you never know, you might actually find yourself liking a title! So keep checking here or the Tokyopop website for updates!