Former Tokyopop owner Stu Levy has apparently sold (or licensed?) the brand name to GeekChicDaily (a project from former Wizard magazine owner Gareb Shamus). GCD is an email newsletter that exists mostly to sell ads that they promise to get in front of nerd eyeballs.
Now, they’re promoting a Tokyopop edition (to go along with their NYC, LA, and national versions) to “cover the hottest Asian pop culture news and trends.” And get this. As part of rewriting the story of Stu Levy bailing on publishing, the PR version is now that “TOKYOPOP was forced to discontinue its North American manga publishing operations in Spring 2011 due to the declining book retail environment”. GeekChicDaily promises to “revive the TOKYOPOP brand in an exciting way, leveraging its substantial social media footprint to tie the Asian-infused content across multiple platforms.” Buzzword alert!
The newsletter first issue made me laugh, because they’re promising a giveaway to keep readers on the hook. The prize? A Batgirl statue. Yeah, that’s really Asian. Also, while the newsletter claims to be opt-in, I was subscribed without ever agreeing to it. I unsubscribed quickly. I wonder, though, if there’s some legal business reason for Levy to need to continue using the brand name and/or trademark?
Note that this is not the first Tokyopop/GeekChicDaily connection. In May, as shown in this AnimeNews article, they sent an invite to the Tokyopop mailing list to ask subscribers to join GCD. I guess not enough did by choice, so they figured they’d just reuse the entire mailing list.
To promote the new newsletter, GCD also posted a welcome letter from Stu that got fans excited that they might be publishing manga again (all most fans want from the company, not bogus lifestyle news). However, as Robot 6 pointed out, the messages were *very* mixed. The company clarified on the Tokyopop Facebook page that they weren’t returning to publishing, but at the same time, a Tokyopop manga Twitter account was launched. The voice behind that was eventually revealed to be former Tokyopop freelance editor Daniella Orihuela-Gruber, although that was only after some weirdness about whether she could name herself. She says the company has an “opportunity to slowly restart our publishing business” with “non-traditional ways to sell manga.” The original Tokyopop twitter is now just for the newsletter, apparently.
This isn’t the first time Tokyopop fans have been teased with the idea that they might start publishing again, but given how often they’ve burned customer goodwill, I’ll believe it when I see it.