In the comments section to my previous post, about Tokyopop’s reorg, a poster going by the handle of “Cthulu” dropped the following bomb:
I have hesitated to get involved in this (I am a LONG TIME member of the manga biz) but since Chris has actually written something sensible on teh internets regarding the TP situation, I want to add an important event that has, as far as I can tell, gone practically unreported.
Kodansha is forming their own manga publishing biz over here and says they will no longer be licensing to Del Rey or Dark Horse or anyone else. In fact, they are aggressively cutting off the existing contracts and at least one company had to make a panicked phone call to their printer to cancel several dozen reprints.
This has been in the wind for a couple weeks but it should have leaked out from the BEA, since it was openly announced there. Oddly, no one seems to be discussing it.
Chris, you can contact me at the â€œdisposableâ€ email addy I gave if youâ€™d like to check my bona fides.
One more note: Kodansha plans to begin full scale operation in September 2008, out of Los Angeles, where they will be sharing space and staff with a multimedia division.
Pretty big news eh? Particularly for something that did not get reposted elsewhere. Well after starting in my comments section, this rumour turned into a fight that spilled over into The Beat’s comment section, back to here, and then ended, abruptly. The internet had a lot to chew over this weekend, huh?
I didn’t post anything at the time because I was waiting for some confirmation… At the very least I was hoping for Cthulu to identify themselves to me, but they never responded to the e-mail I sent them, so that’s a bit of a strike right there. I was also hoping for something from independent sources (sources I didn’t have time to contact on my own), but it looks like the folks at the Japananator blog have done some legwork on this one. They talked to Del Rey’s marketing and publicity fella Ali Kokmen.
“After a bit of a laugh at it, Ali told me that it was totally false.” - Brad Rice, Japananator.
There’s a little more to it than that, you should click through the link. Kokmen’s evidence is fairly circumstantial–he hadn’t heard about it and they’re still licensing books from Kodansha–and I wouldn’t put it past any business to make sure their competition is the last one to know. So, I remain unconvinced…
…of course, I also remain unconvinced that it actually will happen. In terms of the canceled reprints mentioned in Cthulu’s comment, I decided to compare Dark Horse Comics’ “Upcoming Reprints List” to see if any titles had been canceled off of it (particularly Kodansha licensed manga). I was surprised to see that they’d actually added six volumes of Lone Wolf and Cub and a couple volumes of Berserk to multiple volume reprints of AKIRA and Blade of the Immortal, all of which are Kodansha titles if I recall correctly. That’s a pretty big commitment to a line that may or may not disappear at any moment. Or perhaps these are the very titles that “one company had to make a panicked phone call to their printer to cancel several dozen reprints”, were the rumour sufficiently exaggerated of course. I’d imagine that the DH reprint list will tell the tale in the coming weeks.
Hopefully I’ll be able to put a phone call out today or tomorrow and clear things up some more…? At any rate, I’d be surprised if it didn’t all shake-out by San Diego.