Although Viz Media stole headlines at New York Comic Con with plans for “near-simultaneous” Japan/U.S. publishing of its new Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha digital weekly, Yen Press announced plans for “real simultaneous” dual language publication at New York Comic con for the digital launch of its forthcoming Soul Eater Not, manga spinoff.
Not to be out done, Yen Press publishing director Kurt Hassler also emphasized that unlike Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha, which is limited to North America, Yen Press is offering worldwide simultaneous Japanese and English digital publication of Soul Eater Not. In an interview held during New York Comic Con, Hassler said the launch of Soul Eater Not, a spinoff of the popular Soul Eater manga series by Atsushi Okubo, will be “a game changer for the industry.” Yen Press will serialize Soul Eater Not in its online magazine Yen Plus, releasing it simultaneously in Japanese and English for a worldwide audience.
Hassler explained, “fans want to read series as soon as possible,” emphasizing that the manga will have no territory restrictions. He urged fans to “show support for the series, concept, and creator,” by buying the digital release, also emphasizing that when “fans show support, the market can change in fantastic ways.” Hassler said, “This is a test. How well does it do. If consumers respond in a positive way, it will influence how we go forward.” Hassler said that publishers in Japan are still cautious with digital rights and strong fan support and a resulting decrease in piracy could lead to more simultaneous releases of titles.
During questions, Hassler mentioned they are always searching for new talent and looking to work with artists on a “long term basis.” The first chapter of Soul Eater Not was released October 14, and they will release the next four chapters next month to catch up to Japan.
Yen Press announced two new manga adaptations. Hyekyung Baek, the artist of Yen Press’s Gossip Girl adaptations, will illustrate Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices in a manga style. Hassler said this the series is due out either sometime late this year or early next year and will be serialized online in Yen Plus. The house will also produce a manga adaptation of bestselling urban fantasy prose novelist Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Chronicles of Nick. A young adult book, Chronicles of Nick is an intro to Kenyon’s Dark Hunters vampire series. Hassler said they have an artist in mind for this adaptation, who is currently finishing another project. Five new manga titles where announced.
Next June they will release Alice in the Country of Hearts by Sumei Hoshino and Quin Rosa, a twist of Alice in Wonderland “with hot boys.” The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan is an alternative story line of The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi focused on a supporting character. Described as a “manly” book by Hassler, Until Death Do Us Part will be released in May as two volume omnibuses. It focuses on a girl who can tell the future as terrorists pursue her and her blind samurai companion. Yen also announced they will be publishing the manga version of the popular Puella Magi Madoka Magica, a series which subverts the magical girl genre.
While the Anime Artist Alley and Galleria on the very top level of Javits was packed with young cosplayers and otaku the entire show, there was only a modest amount of conventional publishing news coming out of the show. News of simultaneous digital Japan/English publication from Viz and Yen Press (and the debut of a Kodansha iPad app) dominated the manga news coming out of New York Comic con. But many of the young otaku at Anime Alley were there for fanart, art by fans inspired by the favorite manga, and web comics, especially the work of Andrew Hussie's MsPaint Adventures (especially the Homestuck Web comic), an unusual collection of Web comics that seems to combine gaming and comics storytelling.
In addition to launching an app for Apple devices, Kodansha also announced it three new releases for 2012: Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama, an apocalyptic tale of giant humanoids attacking the civilized world; Genshiken Omnibus by Kio Shimoku, an omnibus collection of the first three volumes of the popular manga about a group of otaku friends in college and their love of pop culture; and Kitchen Princess Omnibus by Natsumi Ando and Miyuki Kobayashi, an omnibus collection of the first three volumes of this popular manga about cooking and love.
Vertical Inc, had copies of the much anticipated new series, The Drops of God by Tadashi Agi and Shu Okimoto, a manga about wine, and the fans snapped them up along with just about everything else at the Vertical booth. Vertical also announced four new titles. First off, they plan to release the long out-of-print Message to Adolf by Osamu Tezuka. The story is set in World War Two and follows three people named Adolf, a Jewish boy living in Japan, a half Japanese/half German boy and Hitler himself. The series will be collected into two hardcover volumes with new translation and covers.
Vertical will also release, Sakuran by Moyoco Anno, in one volume. The series chronicles the life of a geisha. The book will include the color plates. In addition, they will publish a one volume manga of 5 centimeters per Second by Makoto Shinkai, which is based on a film of the same name. Vertical is also publishing Flowers of Evil by Shuzo Oshimi, a 4 volume middle school romance inspired by Charles Baudelaire’s book of the same name.
While Vertical still values bringing classic manga to the US market, Vertical marketing director Ed Chavez said the house is also looking to publish more contemporary and current manga series.[Addtional reporting by Dayoung Jung]