In the last several years, manga (Japanese comic books) has gone from niche market to an explosive comics movement in the United States. TOKYOPOP is clearly the industry leader, bringing the world translations of some of the most popular manga books, all in handy pocket-sized trade paperback that honor the original format and layout. Their popularity amongst people of all ages and genders was clear at Comic-Con International in San Diego. TOKYOPOP Insider and Artist Recruitment was a celebration of Japan's pop-culture revolution, and CBR News was there to bring you the scoop.
TOKYOPOP took this opportunity to not only announce upcoming projects, but to also honor the winner of the Rising Stars of Manga contest that they just held. The first and second place winners, Nathan and Phillipe respectively, were signed by TOKYOPOP to continue their recognized stories. Each of the winners expressed admiration and thanks for the chance to bring something new to the manga table. Reminding us that manga's true meaning is simply "entertaining visual," TOKYOPOP promised more innovation to break away from the stereotypes that define manga for the uninitiated.
Part of that innovation is a massive campaign to recruit new talent from all over the world. TOKYOPOP invited anyone with ideas, talent, and confidence to submit their work, a sentiment that was echoed by all the award-winners. Dubbed "Original Graphic Manga," or OGM, TOKYOPOP is seeking artists (pencilers, inkers, toners) as well as creative partnerships to create new books. You must be able to visually express a rich, fixed-length story of about 350 pages. All ideas are welcome. In addition to the creative side, TOKYOPOP is seeking interns for their production side. Interested? Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TOKYOPOP's line-up for the rest of 2004 and 2005 is as diverse as the countries represented. Though there are going to be European and American mangas published soon, Korean manga dominated TOKYOPOP's production schedule, cementing Korea as manga's second home. Highlights include "An Evening Something Wonderful Might Happen," "Angel Cup," "Arcana," and "Heaven Above Heaven." Other releases sure to excite fans everywhere include "Quan" from the creator of "Suikoden III" the manga, "River Side," "Shaolin Sisters 2" and a "Spongebob Squarepants the Movie" manga for the younger set. TOKYOPOP is getting ready to release "Tarot Café" which might see a special edition set to include original fully painted tarot cards.
TOKYOPOP's most auspicious project has to be the upcoming "Warcraft" manga based on the popular real-time strategy video game series of the same name. Dubbed the "Sunwell Trilogy," this three volume manga takes place after the events of "Warcraft 3" by Blizzard Entertainment. Written by an American, penciled by a Korean, and published by a Japanese company, this is truly an international effort. Look for this sure fire hit in March of 2005.