Tokyopop to Publish ‘Ocean of Secrets’ Shojo Manga in April 2017

Tokyopop, the pioneering and controversial comics publisher that defined the popularity of manga and Japanese pop culture in the early 2000s, returns to the U.S. comics market with plans to publish Ocean of Secrets, a new shojo manga series by Sophie-chan in April 2017.

Written and Drawn by Sophie-chan, Ocean of Secrets is the story of a ship wrecked orphan girl who finds herself on a mission to a magical fantasy kingdom. Ocean of Secrets will be distributed to the book trade by Diamond Book Distributors.

Sophie-Chan was born in Iraq and lives in Canada. Although she studied formally to be an engineer, her love of shojo manga drove her to teach herself to draw in the manga style. She launched a YouTube channel in 2008 and has attracted an audience of more than 370,000 subscribers.

“Tokyopop opened my eyes to the world of manga, and here I am 12 years later publishing my manga to the world through them,” Sophie-chan said.

Ocean of Secrets was first produced and discovered via POP Comics, a self-publishing mobile app platform launched by Tokyopop in 2015. POP Comics allows users to upload and distribute their comics for free. Artists are paid via advertising revenue with Tokyopop taking a cut.

The series marks the continuation of Tokyopop’s return to print distribution in the U.S. Founded by Stu Levy in 1997, Tokyopop shut down its U.S. print publishing operations in 2011.

Levy said, “Through her YouTube channel and how-to-draw books, Sophie-chan is an inspiration for many aspiring artists as well as a talented manga creator in her own right.”

Although Tokyopop has been dormant in the US print market, the publisher continues to publish a wide variety of popular manga in France, Germany and elsewhere in Europe. Tokyopop recently initiated a partnership with Disney to produce manga style adaptations of Disney classics like Beauty and the Beast, slated to be released in 2017.

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