Tokyopop Publishing Again With Disney Adaptations

Tokyopop logo

As hinted in summer 2015, Tokyopop is back, via two book listings in the Diamond Previews preorder catalog for the comic book store market. (No word yet on the bigger plans discussed for apps and a wide-ranging media presence.)

Tokyopop stopped publishing in the US in May 2011 , after an attempt at a reality TV show. They came back in 2013 with print-on-demand versions of the few licenses they still held. Most were lost when the company went down, pulled by the owners, so while fans still hope for some of the series they put out continuing, that’s unlikely.

Here’s a retrospective of some of the bad things they did, but one should remember that they also made manga mainstream, making a virtue out of cutting costs by not flipping and retouching pages by calling that approach more “authentic”. They’re the ones who demonstrated a market for shojo manga that got girls reading comics. And they made the bookstore a viable comic market with their $10 price point for tons of manga volumes. But let’s also never forget their contract shenanigans.

Anyway, Tokyopop has four pages in the April Previews to solicit for two Disney adaptations.

Tokyopop Alice in Wonderland solicitation

Photo via Elin Winkler

The first, Alice in Wonderland, is promoted as a “special collector’s manga” with a “limited hardcover print run”. It adapts the story of the live-action Disney movie. The 352-page book is listed at $19.99 and due out May 25, riding the coattails of the coming release of the Alice Through the Looking Glass film.

The second is a retelling of Finding Nemo, also plugged to promote in conjunction with the Finding Dory sequel. It’s shorter (172 pages), also hardcover, and priced at $15.99.

There’s also a two-part “message from Tokyopop” that’s an “interview” with Founder & Publisher Stu Levy about his “vision for the future”. He talks about how times were tough, but “thanks to the overwhelming support of our partners and fans, we’re finally able to dip our toes back in [to publishing]…. Expect unique twists on popular brands, new discoveries, and the unexpected we continue our mix of East-West fusion.” (Yes, there is at least one word missing there. But that’s how it was published.)

Here’s the start of part two of this message.

PREVIEWS: You really like metaphors.

STU: LOL I’m trying my hardest not to mix them – you should see me when I’m giddy.

Nice waste of space there. He’s pitching their titles as family friendly and appealing to a cross-over audience. He ends “I want to make you proud to be part of Team TOKYOPOP!” That’s an uphill battle. Plenty of people remember the company’s checkered history, particularly when it comes to the rights and ethical treatment of young creators. I’m glad to see that, whenever Tokyopop gets coverage, many are there to point out how risky dealing with them might be.

Although the catalog pages are bannered with the company’s website address, as of this writing, there is no mention of these titles there that I could find. The “product news” page hasn’t been updated since last October.

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