Thursday, September 3, 2009

Playing Catch Up

It's been a crazy couple of days. A lot of stuff has gone down. I've been particularly busy so I haven't been able to address any of it until now.

  • So in case you've been living under a rock at the bottom of an ocean of an as yet undiscovered far off planet, then you should know Disney bought Marvel. I've got a more thorough post about this major news in the works, but for now please refrain from drawing any more Disney & Marvel mash-up cartoons. Seriously that dead horse has been beaten so much there's nothing left of the body to sell to a glue factory.

  • Guy Ritchie will be directing a Lobo movie. Comic Book Resources has details and a plot description. I'll let you check it out for yourself but be warned, it sounds awful.

  • Texas based anime distributor ADV has gone through a restructuring. The ADV website is completely gone, save for the press release. All of ADV's assets have been split across a number of different companies. AEsirHoldings retains their film library and their debts. Seraphim Studios will handle production and Section23 will distribute with Valkyrie Media Partners controlling The Anime Network. It's all an elaborate strategy to alleviate some of their financial issues and the fallout after their partnership with Sojitz collapsed. So the ADV label is gone but it may end up being not much more than a name change as far as the fans are concerned. Now perhaps the former ADV will be able to continue as usual, just under a few new names. They've already announced a number of new series as Section 23. Anime News Network has a breakdown of what this all means. has a recap of the events that brought ADV to this point.

  • Japanese publisher Kodansha has pulled all of their licenses from manga publisher Tokyopop. Deb Aoki has a complete list of now out-of-print titles. Even series that were still on-going are now considered discontinued. Rave Master for example, is 35 volumes long and only three away from being complete but now that might not happen. Now it's worth noting that several of these titles were out-of-print for some time now and Tokyopop had already scaled back their licensing from Kodansha. Several of their Kodansha licenses have since been picked up by Del Ray and Dark Horse. Kodansha had already pulled their licenses from Tokyopop Germany.

  • So why would Kodansha do this? Could it have something to do with them starting the own North American branch? ICV2 has news of their distribution deal with major book publisher Random House. Random House also owns Del Ray so in a way they'll have competing manga labels. Kodansha's first North American releases are new editions of Akira and Ghost in the Shell and are already up on Amazon for release next month. Both were titles previously released by Dark Horse but only in a flopped left to right format.

  • It's funny but Tokyopop's situation is much like ADV's has been. Originally juggernauts in their respective fields, they licensed much more than their competitors did and they tried to expand themselves into new territories. Then the bubble burst and the market became saturated. They both went through some hard times but things had been looking better for them. Tokyopop suffered a blow but probably not a fatal one. Kodansha's move was somewhat anticipated. As for ADV, honestly I'm still pretty nervous for them. I don't think they're out of the woods yet. The fact that they announced multiple new series so quickly is great news. Yet their new stuff seem to me like the same type of low appeal titles that they had too much of already. I hope it works out for them.

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