Manga Thanksgiving 2013

It’s been a few years since I did a Thanksgiving post; hopefully everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving in the USA, and a safe Black Friday. This year I wanted to make a highlights real of all the things I’m thankful for. The publishing world has changed a lot in the past five years, and my activity on MW has waxed and waned. This year has been a great year to be a fan, and I’m happy to be back at the wheel.

#1: PictureBox’s 10 Cent Manga Line

The Mysterious Underground Men

Under the editorial direction of Ryan Holmberg, PictureBox’s 10 Cent Manga Line takes a curatorial look at seminal manga. The two titles they’ve released so far, The Last of the Mohicans by Sugiura Shigeru and The Mysterious Underground Men by Osamu Tezuka, are both fascinating looks at manga in different eras. Shigeru’s work is a surreal reimagining of the classic James Fennimore Cooper novel, and the Tezuka manga is a fascinating look at young Tezuka’s comics inspiration – traces of Dagwood and Disney can be found throughout this work. The production value of these two books is stellar, and the comics themselves are a joy to behold.

#2: The Successful Completion of DMP’s Unico/Atomcat/Triton Kickstarter

The Last of the Mohicans

There’s been a lot of Tezuka news this year. The biggest, of course, is that DMP licensed the entire Tezuka catalog from Tezuka Pro, with most series in digital, and the potential for more print manga. The driving force behind all of that was likely the successful completion of DMP’s Unico Kickstarter. We knew from previous excursions under the direction of Ben and Kwame that single books could be licensed and published using a Kickstarter model. This Kickstarter showed us that the model works for multiple books. The final product that DMP was able to put out aren’t the luxury collector products that Vertical Inc. puts out, but the fact that they came out on time and with minimal complications means that the future is bright for Tezuka manga.

This full color Tezuka manga set the stage for a year of Tezuka titles.

#3: Vertical Took a Chance on Josei

For a long time, I’ve been a champion of josei manga. There is a lot of great content out there, but publishers have been hesitant to publish it since Tokyopop did so poorly with it originally. The content that Tokyopop published was good, but it lacked an audience when the market was still fairly young. Now Vertical has tried the market with a collection of books that are beautiful and haunting, including Kyoko Okazaki’s amazing Pink and Helter Skelter, Ai Yazawa’s Paradise Kiss, and the gorgeous Utsubora by Asumiko Nakamura. All of these books are a must read, must own for dedicated manga fans. I hope that Vertical does well with these comics so we can see more josei content in 2014.

#4: Manga Market on the Uptick

The 2007 manga crash and the bankruptcy of Borders did a number on manga sales. Part of the crash was paring away of the C and D list titles coming across from Tokyopop and figuring out what the market will bear, all while under the weight of scanlations. But at the Kodansha USA AMA on reddit, we learned that the market is recovering. Kodansha is doing better than it has in a few years, Yen Press is up significantly, and small publisher Seven Seas Entertainment is up over 100% from last year. Is this because manga fans are starting to age and have a stronger source of disposable income, or is it a swell of manga fans? This will probably become more evident over the next year or so.

What things are you thankful for this year? Let me know in the comments!

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