Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tokyopop Ends plus a Question

Okay I admit this a weird paring of subjects. Bear with me.
  • How did dinosaurs have sex? I was obsessed with dinosaurs as a kid, but not surprisingly that question never really crossed my mind. This Slate article has piqued my imagination and I feel like a kid again, asking some not so kid-friendly questions. Just how big were dinosaur penises? Did dinosaurs even have penises at all? And how do you have sex with something covered in spines or plates?

  • Tokyopop is ceasing publications in North America. They will continue to publish in Germany and will keep open their film division. This news is not all surprising except for the timing. They recently revamped their website and fired much of their staff; moves that seem like they were restructuring to buy themselves more time. Tokyopop ushered in the modern era of English translated manga, making many decisions that would revolutionize the industry.

    There are a ton of factors involved in the company's downturn. Piracy of course is a major problem. Chains that once sold Tokyopop's books, like Tower, Waldenbooks and Suncoast, have closed. Their presence in those stores was part of their success, by being able to reach their target audience who didn't go to comic book stores. Also Japanese publishers are becoming more directly involved in the market and cut out Tokyopop as a potential licensee. Many of Tokyopop's early hits have been re-acquired by other companies.

    Still Tokyopop made a lot of poor decisions that alienated readers. For a company that trumpeted authenticity and pioneered unflopped manga, they were very willing to play loose with translations to create broader material. They also insisted in marketing original comics created by English speaking artists as manga. The sad part is they discontinued many of those English language titles but will sit on the rights in order to adapt them into other media. I'd mock their attempts to become a multimedia company but they do have a Priest movie opening next month. I don't know what demand there was for a Priest movie one has been made. If it's successful we may have to endure a Princess Ai movie.

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