- Posted by Johanna on January 11, 2010 at 4:29 pm
- Category: Graphic Novel News
Dan Hipp has posted the first two volumes of Gyakushu! online for free at thethiefisdead.blogspot.com, along with a preview of the concluding third volume. Gyakushu! was formerly published by Tokyopop as part of their OEL manga line. As part of his announcement of the site’s debut, Dan gave this history of the project:
The Gyakushu! series debuted in 2007, with Volume One, and followed the next year with Volume Two. Volume Three, the final volume, was caught up in the re-structuring of Tokyopop in mid 2008 and was delayed. Tokyopop has given me permission to post the first two volumes online, along with the first seventy-five pages of Volume Three.
Dan Hipp was kind enough to respond to some of my questions about the project in email.
Q: How did you connect with Tokyopop?
Tokyopop had recently started their OEL manga program, and I was a newly published artist without any writing credits. I had blindly gone to them to see if they would be interested in publishing a story (that I hadn’t come up with yet). They saw my work and gave me an invitation to pitch something, so I did. What started in my head as a samurai/ spaghetti western/ revenge/ action extravaganza became a three-book deal with a very determined beginning, middle, and end. The whole thing developed very organically, as I created the story specifically for this Tokyopop deal. Thankfully, I fell in love with it.
Q: What were the pros and cons of your experience at Tokyopop as part of their OEL
I’ve had a positive relationship with Tokyopop, outside of that the final volume of my series got caught in the Tokyopop restructure. That said, they’ve never suggested I not finish the book, or they not honor their contract. They’ve been cool about me posting the series online, and strangely enough, this will probably give more people the opportunity to read the book, as getting people to pick up an OEL manga to begin with can be hard enough. With respect to the OEL manga program, I didn’t have any major issues, or certainly not any issue I wouldn’t have had at any other publisher. Being a newbie writer/artist at the time, I’ve always appreciated the support I did get from Tokyopop, and I never signed anything I didn’t read first. :)
Q: What’s the posting schedule?
I will be posting 475 pages of the 600-page series immediately. That includes the first 75 pages of Volume 3, but yes, the remaining 125 pages, the conclusion, will follow at some point. That time has yet to be determined, but it will be in the next handful of months. The first seventy-five pages of Volume 3 sets up the mad rush to the end of the series, so I’d like to post the rest at one time, but I’m being respectful of any plans Tokyopop may have.
Q: How likely are fans to see the remaining 125 pages, and in what format? What will influence this decision? Do you and/or Tokyopop expect to see sales of the first two volumes increase, for example?
This is probably where I get to sound vague, but the fans WILL get to see the remaining 125 pages. At the very least, they will see them posted on the site. If people check out the site and feel compelled to buy hard copies of the first two volumes, that would be awesome. Will it affect whether or not we see the third volume in print someday? It certainly would not hurt. Regardless, I’ve been sitting on a 600-page behemoth of revenge that’s taken up the last three years of my life, so I will make sure that it’s out there in one format or another. Yeah, I know, vague.
Q: Why not run this as part of the serialization they’re doing on their website? Why do it yourself?
Tokyopop may very well have plans to run the book as a serialization on their website. I’m not a huge fan of the serialized, comic/manga-player format that we’ve seen on varying publishers’ sites. I don’t have the patience to click through, page by page, any story. As an artist, the pages I most admire online are posted on blogs/livejournals in a large format. So what I’ve done is simplify the reading process as much as I can, keeping the images fairly large. As a designer, I’m very particular as to how my images are seen. A blog may be the most simple format around, but I love it, it’s something I can control, and is very accessible. You don’t need Flash, or an updated viewer of some kind, you just need a browser. I have no idea if it will be successful, but at the very least, the work I’ve done can be seen in a way I’m happy with, second to the published book.
Q: You’ve also drawn The Amazing Joy Buzzards. Was this at the same time as you were working on Gyakushu!? What’s your future with that title?
I was working on The Amazing Joy Buzzards prior to working on Gyakushu!, and I’ve managed to squeeze in a few pages here and there between volumes. There are future volumes of AJB in the works, I just need to sit down and finish hammering out the pages. Other project commitments, like the Ben 10: Alien Force book I have coming out with Peter David, keep getting in the way, but The Amazing Joy Buzzards will return.
My thanks to Dan Hipp for sharing his thoughts and books with us.
Update: Dan also talked to Brigid Alverson at Robot 6. In addition to some of the subjects we talked about here, they also covered what changes were made for the online posting and more on the Ben 10 comic.