Del Rey Partners With Cartoon Network; Also Launches Bacteria Manga

Received this press release over the weekend. You’ve probably seen it elsewhere already, if you follow manga news, but bear with me, I have some points to make:

Del Rey Manga, an imprint of Ballantine Books at the Random House Publishing Group, in collaboration with Cartoon Network Enterprises, today announced a new manga publishing partnership that will launch with original manga based on two of Cartoon Network’s most successful series: Bakugan Battle Brawlers and Ben 10 Alien Force. This announcement marks the first partnership between Cartoon Network and the Random House Publishing Group’s manga imprint.

Christina Miller, vice president, Cartoon Network Enterprises says, “Cartoon Network is the home to many of the leading brands, and manga and film-comics are natural extensions of our rich and immersive content. As one of the category’s best publishers, Del Rey Manga will bring these stories to life, starting with the incredibly successful Bakugan later this year.”

Cartoon Network is a WB company, as is DC Comics, who has their own manga line, CMX. Why isn’t CMX doing this project? Maybe they aren’t considered “one of the category’s best publishers”?

The Bakugan book is due out in December, with a second volume coming in March. It “incorporates full-color stills from the animated show in a manga-style graphic novel format.” Sounds more like Tokyopop’s Cine-Manga books than traditional drawn manga. And maybe that’s why they wanted a company that could get more attention for their books than CMX — fumetti/photo comics are a tough sell in the American market. But “real” manga is coming later next year: “Original black-and-white, manga-style graphic novels based on Bakugan and Ben 10 Alien Force will release in Summer 2009 and Fall 2009, respectively.”

Since these books are aimed at young boys, I’m not driven to check them out. I am looking forward to Del Rey’s other newly announced project, Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture, due out about a year from now. It’s about a student at an agricultural university in Tokyo who can see and talk to cute little bacteria and microorganisms. It’s promised to combine humor, drama, fantasy, and scientific accuracy. Sounds nifty!

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