Ross Campbell Quits Tokyopop

I’m not a fan of zombie stories, so I didn’t enjoy Ross Campbell’s The Abandoned as much as I have some of his other works. However, I’m sorry to hear that he had publisher problems (as revealed in the comments at Bill Sherman’s review).

The Abandoned cover

i sorta quit Tokyopop after the first book, i had a crummy experience with them (requiring a long rant to explain, heh). but i’m pitching the sequel’s material to another publisher, but unfortunately without Rylie because Tokyopop owns the rights (d’oh!). so hopefully that’ll get picked up, and also hopefully in the future i’ll be able to get the rights to Rylie back and she’ll make a triumphant return in my third zombie apocalypse book. keep your fingers crossed!

I’m not surprised to hear the two have parted ways; back in September, Campbell was expressing ambivalence:

I’m not sure TOKYOPOP was the best publisher choice for that material, but I was glad I got to do it and I think I did pretty well…. It’s ironic, though, because it was TOKYOPOP’s idea but the color thing ended up turning the whole post-production into a huge mess…. I didn’t like how The Abandoned turned out. All TOKYOPOP’s books have to be the same size for whatever reason and I think my stuff really suffers when it’s shrunk down so small.

If you want more hints about the “long rant”, visit Campbell’s blog and look for the entries dated “03.09.06” and “03.08.06”.

On the other hand, I’m surprised to hear that Tokyopop only wants to keep the character. Usually, in these kinds of deals, they also want the name and trademark.


  1. […] Ross Campbell, creator of The Abandoned, has had a falling out with Tokyopop and learned the downside of signing away rights to a character. Johanna has the story. […]

  2. […] a comment in a blog entry becomes an “interview”: Care to play a little game of Whisper? Okay, I’ve made this mistake myself too many times to be allowed to get away with […]

  3. At Comic-Con 2006, Tokyopop scheduled a signing for Ross… and provided him neither a table nor chair. Nobody there even knew who he was (us: “umm, he’s listed right there on your big schedule board”). So Ross basically stood around the booth. We did talk with him (it helped that we know what he looks like), but organization was much better at his Oni Press booth scheduled times. He got a chair, table, and even a spiffy nameplate.

  4. Just to clarify a bit, Johanna, the situation is a bit different than you’ve made it seem here. Due to a variety of reasons, Ross made a decision to not continue The Abandoned that he first informed me of over six months ago. Just about all of the reasons were exclusive only to The Abandoned, and a major one was simply that he didn’t have the time to do Water Baby, Wet Moon AND The Abandoned. His decision was only to end The Abandoned, but unless he’s made a more recent decision that he hasn’t informed me of, he hasn’t written off the possibility of working with us again in the future, and I know that we’ve been in touch with him at least once since then about an entirely different project with us. As for continuing The Abandoned elsewhere, that was misinterpreted. The Abandoned is a TOKYOPOP book. The book he’s referring to is an entirely different book altogether, in which he intends to use some of the ideas he came up with when brainstorming the story for The Abandoned 2 and 3. They’re great ideas that I’d hate to see go to waste, and Ross knows I wish him nothing but the best.

  5. Thank you for clarifying, Tim — it’s good to hear from someone at Tokyopop on all this. It makes more sense that the company would own the title as well.

  6. […] comments that he is taking The Abandoned elsewhere, without Rylie Johanna Draper Carlson has more; read the comments thread Ross Campbell’s […]

  7. […] a Tokyopop deal does offer the possibility of wider exposure. On the other hand, as Ross Campbell discovered, it can be problematic if you want to reuse a character you created for a Tokyopop series in another […]

  8. […] 2007: Ross Campbell quits but has to leave his Abandoned characters […]

  9. […] Both Heidi and Carlson note the comparison towards the company’s earlier attempts at creating an OEL line. There was initially concern over those contracts too, which was tut-tutted by some young cartoonists at the time. If you’re wondering how well that turned out, just ask Ross Campbell. […]

  10. Sounds like those Tokyo Pop folks are a bunch of assholes. Taking someone else’s character for copyright? I’d be suing the shit out of those mean little creeps.

  11. Thanks for info about Tokyopop

  12. […] projects that never saw print. This has caused some bitterness among creators, who would like to continue or republish their stories but can’t because they don’t own the rights (which, to be […]

  13. […] graphic novels published in manga format by young creators. Running in 2005-2006, rumors of poor treatment were coming out in 2007, as some artists realized that they no longer owned their work and began to […]

  14. […] interesting to see what’s not on the list: Ross Campbell’s The Abandoned (he was critical of Tokyopop’s handling of the first volume); the excellent high school-based fashion comedy […]

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