After a year of unprecedented expansion into general bookstores, Los Angeles—based manga publisher Tokyopop is now making moves to get its titles into at least five mass market retail outlets. Tokyopop is also stepping up its efforts to develop American manga creators. The house announced plans for its third Rising Stars of Manga competition and signed one of the past winners to a multibook deal.

Tokyopop spokesperson Kristien Brada-Thompson told PW that the house has entered into an agreement with Wal-Mart to test Tokyopop manga titles in 100 of its stores. She noted that this is the first time manga has been sold in Wal-Mart. The discount shopping chain Shopko has agreed to carry Tokyopop titles in 72 stores, and Fred Meyer, a Cincinnati-based department store and supermarket chain is also testing Tokyopop titles in 50 stores. Best Buy is testing in 30 stores and Stop & Shop will test manga in 75 stores. In November, Tokyopop began displaying its titles in 160-book spinner racks in Barnes & Noble and Sam Goody stores nationwide.

In the house's third Rising Stars of Manga competition, aspiring manga artists can submit original illustrated stories. The deadline for submissions is March 15. Winners will be published in the third volume of the Rising Stars of Manga anthology.

Lindsay Cibos, who won the grand prize in the second Rising Stars competition, has signed a multibook deal with Tokyopop to turn Peach Fuzz, her winning entry, into a manga series.