You Reap What You Sow: Tokyopop at Anime Expo

Tokyopop logo

I find it amusing that nowadays, any time Stu Levy or Tokyopop is mentioned, plenty of people pop up to warn aspiring creators away from them. That’s a great use of social media, to share business knowledge and experience.

Tokyopop was promoted as appearing at this weekend’s Anime Expo, including company founder Stu Levy offering portfolio reviews.

The history, as I’ve been covering them over the past 12 years, is checkered, from dubious business decisions to questionable contracts to chasing media interest to losing licenses to ending publishing in 2011.

Now, they put out Disney adaptations and have launched a bandwagon-jumping attempt called “International Women of Manga“, where once again they rely on young creators to pump out work.

Upon the announcement of the company’s Anime Expo appearance, Polygon put out a piece summing up how many creators warned people to stay away, focusing on the

“intense backlash from the arts community. Levy and TokyoPop have faced intense criticism in the past for their treatment of creators and hardline positions in regards to artists’ rights.”

That reaction is a good thing — he focuses on newer, less experienced artists that may not have the knowledge to realize that they’re (for example) being asked to sign away rights forever. Getting them more information about the company history and how many creators regret working with them is useful knowledge.

The convention’s response was that “Levy is just one of many experts aspiring artists can choose to have their portfolio reviewed by, and therefore can skip over Levy if they wish.”

I haven’t yet seen any feedback from his or the company’s appearance — anyone see a panel writeup?


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