Manga publisher Tokyopop is teaming up with the National Basketball Association to create a new book series in its cine-manga photo-comic book line. The first books will focus on four of the NBA's biggest stars—Shaquille O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan and Jason Kidd.
Charlie Rosenzweig, NBA v-p of entertainment and player marketing, said, "We are excited to partner with Tokyopop for this one-of-a-kind initiative."
Tokyopop's cine-manga line features content licensed from Disney, Nickelodeon and others. Cine-manga books use photographic stills from popular animated and feature films, with added word balloons and sound effects, to make comic books out of popular images and cartoons already familiar to kids.
The NBA Sports Manga series will feature color digital images of NBA stars freeze-framed in action shots. The books, due out in November, will be priced at $7.99 each.
Kristien Bada Thompson, a spokesperson for Tokyopop, said the books would also be part of NBA's Read to Achieve program, a year-round reading program for kids that features NBA athletes. She said the program reaches more than 50 million kids each year.
In other Tokyopop news, the publisher announced that this fall it will publish Santa Inoue's bestselling manga series Tokyo Tribes, a critically acclaimed hip-hop—influenced manga series about Tokyo gangs. The series is very popular in Japan and has spawned a line of urban clothing as well as other merchandise and collectibles based on its characters.