The rumors have been flying that Dark Horse Comics has been planning to purchase the manga packaging company Studio Proteus, and on February 5 Dark Horse confirmed that a deal is in the works, although it has not yet been finalized. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Toren Smith, president of Studio Proteus, declined to be interviewed, but explained in a press release that under the proposed agreement, he would transfer to Dark Horse the business end of Studio Proteus as well as material the company had published with the now-defunct Eclipse Comics and Innovation imprints.

Smith will continue to work with Dark Horse as a consultant and translator and will keep the Studio Proteus name. A spokesperson for Dark Horse declined to comment on the acquisition until the negotiations are done.

Studio Proteus licenses Japanese comics titles, better known these days as manga, translates them and prepares them for American publication. The company got in on the manga market before nearly any other American company, and its translations of some acknowledged manga classics paved the way for the recent manga boom.

Proteus has been copublishing manga titles with Dark Horse since 1988, including such perennial bookstore sellers as the Lone Wolf and Cub and Akira series, Ghost in the Shell, Gunsmith Cats, Oh My Goddess! and Blade of the Immortal.