Tokyopop Brings Back Some OEL Manga Online; Kat & Mouse Publish Date

Kat & Mouse 4: The Knave of Diamonds

After Tokyopop reorganized in June of last year, word leaked out that they would not be printing any more of their OEL (original English language) manga, instead releasing them online.

Finally, over a year later, comes the confirmation:

Tokyopop is pleased to announce the release of a number of its original series exclusively on Modernizing the magazine serialization made famous by Charles Dickens, today Tokyopop will debut Psy*Comm volume 3, with a new chapter serialized weekly for free until the series concludes its story arc. The launch of this new volume of Psy*Comm marks the debut of Tokyopop’s online manga program that will include continuing volumes of Boys of Summer, Earthlight, Kat & Mouse, Pantheon High, Undertown, Gyakushu, and others.

Kat & Mouse 4: The Knave of Diamonds

Not included in that list are Off*Beat or Steady Beat, projects whose creators spoke out in public about their disappointment in Tokyopop’s decision to cancel publication but not negotiate for return of their rights. Based on lists going around at the time, the properties listed were those where the work was completed, so there are no additional development costs.

Brigid Alverson points out that if readers get curious and want to read previous installments, they may be out of luck. But more exciting is the news in the comments that Kat & Mouse volume 4 will be published next month! I’m glad I’ll finally get to find out what happened, since the series was cancelled on a cliffhanger. And I won’t have to wait until March 2010 to read it — based on the posted schedule, it would appear after Earthlight, and Tokyopop is posting only one chapter of one book a week. Although most manga have achieved most of their success in bookstores, where new release day is Tuesday, Tokyopop is chasing the comic stores by running new chapters on Wednesdays, “following the time-honored tradition of New Comics Day”.

Why the delay in getting the books online? Associate Publisher Marco Pavia attributes a “changed marketplace” due to the “Kindle, iPhone, web comics, and the like”. In other words, now is a more favorable time for electronic experiments. Certainly, Viz has gotten press for several of their efforts at running serialized online manga.

The books may even still see print someday. “We are also exploring an on-demand model to satisfy print-edition demand for the online manga series.”


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