In separate developments, DreamWave Productions, a Toronto comics publisher, has ceased operation; and ComicsOne, a California manga publisher, is also shutting down—at least for a while—while transferring the rights to its most popular titles to a new house.

Founded eight years ago by brothers Pat and Roger Lee, DreamWave was best known for using manga-style comics to help revive toymaker Hasbro's Transformers and G.I. Joe brands. DreamWave produced about 10 trade paperback collections of licensed comics. Pat Lee, president of DreamWave, blamed a "shrinking" specialty comics shop market.

A spokesperson for Hasbro told PW that DreamWave's contract for Transformers ended at the end of 2004, and that the company expects to name a new publisher for the series shortly.

ComicsOne was founded in 1999 by Robin Kuo, a wireless gaming entrepreneur and manga lover. While the house published standard manga, it also specialized in Korean comics (manwha) and full-color Hong Kong "kung fu" manga.

Details about the relationship between ComicsOne and a new publishing company called DrMaster that will take over many of its titles, remains sketchy. According to Kuo-Yu Liang, v-p, sales and marketing at Diamond Book Distributors, which has signed a new book and comics store distribution agreement with DrMaster, ComicsOne will go on hiatus "to evaluate the market" and has transferred its manga licenses to DrMaster, a technology/publishing company based in Taiwan. Liang told PW that Shawn Sanders, formerly with ComicsOne, has joined DrMaster as editor-in-chief. Liang told PW that DrMaster has "a strong list planned for late spring, including a new series from Sakurako Gokurakuin, creator of Aquarian Age."

DrMaster will become the American publisher for some of ComicsOne's most popular titles and will release new titles, including Lunar Legend Tsukihime. It will also sell the old ComicsOne manga inventory on a consignment basis.