Tokyopop's Changes: Life After Tokyopop

Disclaimer time. For those of you who’ve been following us from the Newsarama Version 1.0 days, I was one of the main reporters that covered TokyoPop’s global/Original English Language (OEL) manga movement, having interviewed almost all of the Rising Stars of Manga winners, including Rosearik Rikki Simons and Tavisha Wolfgarth-Simons, the pioneers in creating global/OEL manga for TokyoPop in North America. When TokyoPop expanded their global/OEL to professionals in the comic book industry and other non-RSoM competition winners as well as webcomic creators, I had the privilege of chatting with the likes of Chuck Austen, Keith Giffen, David Hine, Stuart Moore, Paul Benjamin, Becky Cloonan, Eric Wight, Pop Mhan, Queenie Chan, T Campbell and others.

Hine called me a “glowing example of Broad Minded Cultural Ambassador for manga” and here’s what Chan had to say, “Thanks for keeping track of the OEL creators. You have been one of the first advocates of the OEL movement, so thank you for the all the press you've given us.”

That said, this article is not about me. It’s about the fate of these creators following the recently announced “progressive reorganization” exercise that saw the company split into two different entities, 39 positions were cut from across the company, and many creators were left wondering about what the future holds for their global/OEL manga titles.

The Current State of Global/OEL Manga Projects

Let’s start with the good news. Even though three volumes of Van Von Hunter have been published, Ron Kaulfersch of Pseudomé Studio revealed that “TokyoPop has an option to commission another three volumes of VVH.”

For M. Alice LeGrow, volume 5 of her Bizenghast is scheduled to hit stores on July 1 and she is “just getting into the sixth one now” and added that her three-volume series has “somehow telescoped into a seven-volume series.”

Christy Lijewski also checked in to report that Volume 3 of RE:Play is going to print “so it'll be out in book form. It's set to be out sometime next year, after April. I'm not sure of the exact release date because it's not like TokyoPop ever tells us anything. If it's like last volume, who knows they might postpone it for months for no reason again. Oh smart marketing. Anyway I guess I should just be glad it's getting published at all.

On the fate of Rikki and Tavisha Wolfgarth-SimonsShutterBox series, Rikki posted on her blog on June 4 that “we signed our schedule for ShutterBox (Book Six) last month, which requires that we turn in the first 25 pages by July 5th of this year. This was only surprising to Tavisha and I because we usually aren't given a schedule for a new book until a few months after we finish the previous book. This is the first time TokyoPop has rushed a schedule to us a full month before we turned in our current project. I suppose this means that this restructuring has been in the works for some time, and that if they were planning to cut our book, they wouldn't have sent a schedule at all. So we'll just do as the new schedule says, unless we're told to stop.”

Two days later, Tavisha Wolfgarth-Simons posted the following message on her LiveJournal[/url]: “I just want to tell all the fans and friends out there that this doesn't effect ShutterBox other than us getting a new editor - Lillian Diaz-Przybyl. Thankfully, our series wasn't cut and we're continuing as planned finishing up [ShutterBox (Volume 5)] and starting [Volume 6] in July this summer. So-close-to-be-done!”

Irene Flores posted on 15 June that Volume 3 of her and Ashly Raiti’s Mark of the Succubus “will be out on July 7.” Following that, Flores confirmed for Newsarama that “Mark of the Succubus (Volume 3), the final book of the series, will be out July 7 this year. I gave the whole thing over to TokyoPop around March, and it got sent to the printers before the whole book cancellation/layoff craziness. I'm one of the lucky ones.”

Another book that’s made the cut is Meg Cabot’s Avalon High, which is under the TokyoPop/HarperColins co-publishing agreement that was first announced in March of 2006 and is illustrated by Jinky Coronado. “They contacted me [last week], confirming we're moving ahead on Avalon High [this] week,” Coronado confirmed. “I [made] a correction to the cover this [past] weekend, and should be starting Book 3 [soon].”

The second volume of Ellen Schreiber’s Vampire Kisses: Blood Relatives, with art by Priscilla Hamby, who uses the pen name Rem, is scheduled for release in September. Rem reported on 13 June that she completed Volume 2 around the end of May. Schreiber had previously posted that the Vampire Kisses global/OEL manga will be translated and published in countries like Greece, Spain, Italy, Germany, Czech, Russia, Denmark, and Brazil.

Also on the safe list are the TokyoPop/Blizzard Entertainment projects. New York Times bestselling author Richard A. Knaak, writer of Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy and the upcoming Warcraft: Legends, Warcraft Legends and Starcraft: Frontline said, “Thus far, other than some slight rearranging of schedules, nothing has changed on my end. I have finished the third of my four Trag stories for the anthologies and will be working on the fourth while dealing with other projects. After the fourth, I will return to the first volume of Outland, for which I have already done some prep writing. The date listed for that volume on Amazon and others was wrong from the start and, as far as I can see, we are on schedule there, too. I've seen some preliminary pages for the first anthologies and I think that they'll knock the socks off people in the finished form.

“I have been and still am treated well by those I deal with at TokyoPop,” he continued. “I enjoyed working with Rob Tokar and Tim Beedle, among others, but am also impressed with my current editor and the staff in general. I will miss those who are gone and wish that things had happened otherwise, but that is out of my hands.”

Accomplished tie-in fiction writer Keith R.A. DeCandido, confirmed that he is still doing a manga series called Starcraft: Ghost Academy. He described the relationship as “so far, so good, though the editor I was working with was one of the 39 laid off in the recent downsizing, and we're still at the plotting stage for Ghost Academy. Having said that, the experience so far has been excellent.”

And as an added bonus, DeCandido provided some juicy information on Ghost Academy, just for Newsarama readers. “It's conceived as an ongoing manga series, with three under contract with the option for more,” he explained. “The story will focus on several cadets preparing to become Terran Dominion operatives known as Ghosts: they're telepathic special ops agents who do the Dominion's dirty work. Ghost Academy will focus on their training, their relationships with each other, and more -- a little bit of Buffy, a little bit of the early days of the New Mutants.

”One of the main characters will be Nova, who was to be the centerpiece of the game Starcraft: Ghost, which was put on indefinite hold, and who is also the main character of my Starcraft novel Nova and its forthcoming sequel Spectres. Another of the main characters will be an important part of the upcoming Starcraft II game.”

Also, according to Jim Pascoe, “Undertown remains a priority for the TokyoPop. The script for Book 2 is done and delivered, and I am working on finishing the script for Book 3, which concludes the main “search for the Sugar Stone” storyline. Jake [Myler] is continuing with the art for Book 2. TokyoPop and I are currently working on the details of a special release that is aimed at satisfying our numerous existing fans, retailers, and strategic business partners. We’ve been working on this for several months, and over the course of the last couple weeks I’ve had numerous conversations with the top executives over their about how best to proceed.

”What is certain, is that the syndication of Undertown to Universal Press Syndicate will continue on unchanged,” he added. “I’ve spoken with my contacts at the Syndicate, and they are extremely happy with how Undertown is performing in the Sunday funny pages.”

As for the Hellgate: London manga project that TokyoPop partnered with Flagship Studios, writer Arvid Nelson said, “I actually don't know how the whole TokyoPop thing is affecting future volumes of Hellgate: London... but I'd be more than happy to keep doing it, assuming all the ducks line up just right.”

And it looks like Volume 3 of Star Trek: The Manga is also safe.

For Svetlana Chmakova and her Eisner- and Harvey-nominated Dramacon and Felipe Smith and his MBQ series, all three volumes have been published so they’re probably not affected by the whole restructuring exercise unless if they’re negotiating with TokyoPop to get back the rights.

Benjamin Roman also dropped by to confirm that there would not be any more volumes of I Luv Halloween after finishing the third volume and seeing it published in 2007. “[Co-creator] Keith [Giffen] and I are on the same page about the series. I think we explored the characters as much as we could. With the way that Keith ended the last book, I couldn't see how we could do a fourth,” he said.

However, he did confirm that the Ultimate Twisted Edition which collects all three volumes of I Luv Halloween is scheduled for September. “The book was set-up prior to TP's restructuring. It went out to the printers a week before everything happened, I believe,” he added.

All three volumes of Lindsay Cibos and Jared HodgesPeach Fuzz are now out so there shouldn’t be any problems as well for them, right? Is there going to be a Volume 4? “Regretfully, TokyoPop has decided to pass on my proposal for a Peach Fuzz (Volume 4),” Cibos posted on her deviantART forum on June 18. “This is heartbreaking, because even though Jared and I set up Volume 3 to have a solid ending, we still have so much more we wanted to do with the series, and the characters all have very rich back stories that we want to share.” In replying to Newsarama’s queries, she said, “Jared and I completed the third volume of Peach Fuzz midway through last year, finishing off the series for now. We set up Volume 3 to have a solid ending, but we still have more we want to do with the series (each of the characters all have rich back stories that we've yet to fully share). We pitched a fourth volume to TokyoPop, but they declined our proposal, which is unfortunate as it’s gained a nice fan following. Still, we’re thankful to have had the opportunity to produce a three-volume series.”

And on that note, let’s move on to the not so good news, depending on how you’d interpret the situation. King City’s Brandon Graham is considering taking his creation to another publisher. “I'm waiting to hear how much flexibility TokyoPop is going to give on letting me take my book to another publisher. I should know by the end of the week.

”The good news is before this all went down the French translation rights got sold to Bragelonne. So until the dust settles I'm still working, finishing up Book 2 for the French. Paris, je t'aime. [which translates to “Paris, I love you.”]

”I'm 30 pages away from being done now and it's by far the best work I've managed to do. I really hope that it sees print over here.”

For Queenie Chan, although three volumes of The Dreaming had been published, she said she’ll have to “talk to my agent and see whether I can negotiate the rights back for The Dreaming if TokyoPop isn't going to be printing any more of the books. Right now, I don't know the situation, so I'm not sure what to do next (oddly enough, no one spoke much about the artists/writers who finished their three-book contracts). I may let The Dreaming go online - I don't know.”

Putting the books online may be just the option for some of these creators. David Hine said that Volume 2 of Poison Candy will “not be published in the foreseeable future except in an online version. A print version and concluding volume will only appear if there is sufficient demand, which currently looks unlikely.

”My personal relations with my editors at TokyoPop have always been excellent, especially with Luis Reyes, who was my editor for most of the period when I was working on Poison Candy. However, all those editors have now left the company.

”It's unfortunate that it took so long for Poison Candy to get published. I think it was 2004 when it was first accepted but I made the decision to wait for [artist] Hanzo [Steinbach] to complete three volumes of A Midnight Opera. I wanted him as artist and I don't regret that decision because he did such a great job. I can't imagine the book drawn by anyone else.

”If we had managed to get the three volumes out there I would be feeling a whole lot better about the situation.”

According to Stuart Moore, the third volume of Earthlight is finished. “Both Chris Schons (the artist) and I have been fully paid. I've just been informed that it will not be published in book form, but will be presented for free online. It's a tradeoff: On the one hand, it's nice to have a bound book on the shelf. On the other hand, more people will probably read it this way. This was the final projected volume (for now, anyway), so there's no issue with new work being produced.

“I'm very, very proud of Volume 3, by the way.

“I'm informed that TokyoPop is still actively pursuing media and foreign rights on the property. They've already sold rights to Hungary, which is nice.”

Tony Salvaggio also informed Newsarama that while he’s sad that the third volume of his and Jason Henderson’s Psy-Comm will start out on the web, they’re still holding out that they can put it out in print at some point. “Maybe even a collected graphic novel, which would rock,” he said.

According to Morgan Luthi, creator of Snow, he’s almost done with Volume 2. “And like a lot of other OEL books, [it] is going web only. There are no further volumes of Snow planned.”

At press time, Pop Mhan is still in talks with TokyoPop about Blank. “Although, I don't know anything that's solid yet, I know for sure it won't be in print anymore but probably in a format for web,” he said.

“I am developing something of a demo for TP to check out though. I'll update you as soon as I am done with the demo and in further talk/negotiations with TP, cool?”

And Dan Hipp had this to say about Gyakushu! on his blog: “So, TokyoPop (the publisher of a little book called Gyakushu!) has been in the nerd news lately in a less than flattering light. You can go read about that elsewhere, but what it means for me is that Volume 3 of Gyakushu!, which I'm half done with now...

...will initially be released online.”

According to Chuck Austen, Boys of Summer is canceled. “One volume sort of went on sale, but only online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble - never in bookstores - so few people have even seen it in the States. All three volumes were written and drawn, Hiroki and I were both paid, and the work may be available online, at some point. Though it's been licensed to Europe and is selling well there, went to number one in a couple places, so the three volumes will likely still see print in Hungarian and Russian and other languages, if not in English.”

Paul Benjamin is also unsure where he stands right now. “It’s clear that TokyoPop is still trying to figure out their plans as well,” he said. “Pantheon High (Volume 3) is just a few pages away from being complete. My co-creator and artists Steven and Megumi Cummings are on page 154 out of 160. The book is currently slated for online publication (not print) as far as TokyoPop is concerned. We haven’t talked yet about taking the rights elsewhere. Right now we just want to do the best job we can and get the book done.

”Also, I see no reason to abandon OEL/global manga projects. The Japanese style of storytelling is a wonderful medium and I hope to find more opportunities to tell stories in that fashion, even if it is with other publishers or on my own. By the way, something I haven’t heard a lot of talk about are the licensed properties from TokyoPop. I co-wrote a short story in the upcoming Starcraft manga with video game designer Dave Shramek and I’m looking forward to seeing that book. I imagine TokyoPop will continue to publish licensed manga and some great talent has come out of those titles.

”While TokyoPop has clearly made its share of mistakes and missteps, the real losers here are the employees who lost their jobs, the creators whose books are left unfinished, and the fans whose favorite series (or potential favorites) have now hit a stumbling block. For better or worse, TokyoPop did a lot to expand the market for OEL manga in the United States and I just hope that progress continues. I don’t care if it’s TokyoPop or other manga publishers who achieve that success, so long as there are cool new books on the shelves for me to read.”

Eric Wight has this to say about My Dead Girlfriend: “My Dead Girlfriend was a top seller last year for TokyoPop (ICv2 listed it as TokyoPop’s second highest selling OEL manga of 2007, behind only World of Warcraft). Television luminary Jordan Levin (former CEO of the WB) brought MDG to ABC/Touchstone and sold it as a television pilot with myself attached to write and co-executive produce. Sadly, the deal hit just before the Writer’s Strike, and I only got as far as the treatment before I had to stop work on it. Two weeks before the strike concluded, our pilot was canceled.

“The future of the My Dead Girlfriend manga is a little more abstract,” he continued. “TokyoPop and I are both very proud of the success of My Dead Girlfriend, but we have different visions for its future. Because we could not reach an agreement over my contract, TokyoPop’s vision does not include me. Whether or not they will continue the series without me remains to be seen, but I have been informed that is their intention. Despite everything, I remain optimistic that we will be able to come to a resolution that will make all of us happy and allow me to return to my creation. I have too many stories to tell for Finney and Jenny and the rest of Purgatory Falls to give up hope.”

Rivkah, creator of Steady Beat and who happens to be one of the more vocal global/OEL manga creators out there, said, “Steady Beat (Volume 3) has been [on hiatus] for the past six months because I was waiting for word back on whether or not they'd be paying me for the two extra chapters I needed to end the storyline (it's a 250 page book!), and I didn't hear back from them until all this started up and they decided to cancel our print runs.

“I'm just happy I haven't put all my eggs in one basket! While I'm in the process of trying to acquire at least the print rights back to Steady Beat in the hopes of reprinting them myself (a move which can only benefit both TokyoPop and myself), I've several other projects I've been working on (and one complete) that are being tossed around publishers at the moment. Unfortunately, none of them are things I can actually talk about right now.”

Bettina Kurkoski’s My Cat Loki is also among the unfortunate OEL manga series to be cut. “So as of now, there will be no MCL (Volume 3),” she said. “I am hoping to, if at all possible, eventually create a condensed mini self printed manga that will tie up what few loose ends MCL has and give some sort of ending to the series. If and when all rights revert back to me, I will definitely see about doing MCL (Volume 3) in its entirety as it is meant to be.”

Also, Sea Princess Azuri’s Erica Reyes posted the following message on her devianttART page on June 15: “Since I haven't heard anything directly that probably means Azuri has no chance of resurrection in any form. Ahh well.”

In a follow-up post, she reported that she’s spoken with her editor but “he said they're definitely not giving rights back despite what's on the internet. BLARG.” This was obviously in response to the Lying In The Gutters rumor that the company was “going through the process of giving full copyright back to creators wishing to pull their projects, with hardly any fuss.”

Amy Hadley also informed that there will not be a Fool’s Gold (Volume 3). “TokyoPop made the call, but to be honest, I wasn't sure I'd get a chance to get back to the series anyway. So I've been largely unaffected, and remain very happy that I made the original choice to do a series for them. I am very sorry for those who have suffered from the cuts and online publishing move. I believe, though, that although this is unfortunate, most of us still do not regret having taken this chance. It's been very good for many of us in the long run. What concerns me is the future of manga-styled creators. There are so many kids who are growing up on this stuff, and many will have the ability to create amazing comics, so I just hope the opportunity is there by the time they're ready.

“I had always imagined the possibility of working on Book 3, only to find out it would never see print, and it's a terrifying thought. To me, this seems like the hardest blow, and I do hope that somehow it can be turned around for those creators who are mid-book. Having a presence in bookstores was the undeniable strength in working for TokyoPop.”

Che Gilson posted on May 2 that Dark Moon Diary is cancelled.

Steve Buccellato on Battle of the Bands: “I'm sorry to say that the book is cancelled, but it's unrelated to the TokyoPop restructuring. I had the option of doing a second volume, but I decided not to pursue it last autumn. There just did not seem to be a demand for a second book. Therefore, it became a purely economic decision--considering the amount of work involved in a creating new manga, and what TokyoPop was willing to pay up front, it simply didn't make sense to continue.”

Amy Kim Kibuishi is not affected by the whole restructuring exercise as her Sorcerers & Secretaries was only supposed to be two volumes from the beginning. “I was signed for three books because that's their standard,” she admitted. “So, after I finished the first book, I told my editor that I always intended it to only be two, and asked if it was all right for me to do two instead of three. She said it was okay, so it's two volumes. There is no third, and there's no plan on there being a third. The decision to have it two volumes was my own, and to TokyoPop's credit, they've been flexible about that.”

Things are also not so bad for Joanna Estep. “Thanks for your concern,” she said. “Good to hear that people are still sticking up for the TP creators. I finished my manga series Roadsong (Volume 3 is out and about as of this month) before all this hit the fan, so I'm not mired in worries over where to take my manga properties, or whether or not I still have printing rights outside TokyoPop.”

East Coast Rising’s Becky Cloonan said the second volume has been on hold since earlier this year when she decided to rework and redraw the ending after deciding to make Volume 2 “the final one. I've also taken a few months off for personal reasons and travel, and I put all of my work to the side. Currently there are only 40 pages left to draw in Book 2. I'd like to finish it right after Comic-Con. I can't say I will make a departure from OEL since I never felt like I was making OEL to begin with, and if TokyoPop pulls its OEL line, there it goes since it's basically a term that was made up to categorize TokyoPop's non-Japanese creators. Other publishers print books in that cute 5x7 size, but nobody else calls it OEL, so I guess we'll just see what happens.

“I've been published before TokyoPop, and I was working on other books while I was working on my TP book,” she continued. “And I'll still have work after I'm finished with my 2nd (and last) book with Tokyopop so I can't say that Tokyopop made or broke my carreer. I also never personally felt like I was part of an OEL/OGM movement, it just never seemed to apply to me. TokyoPop was my publisher and I don't feel any more connection with other TP creators than I do with other Vertigo creators. It's just me, trying to make good comics.”

Oh, and one global/OEL project that did not make it to print at all was Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray’s Zeroes. “TokyoPop killed the project last year as part of the many changes they seem to have gone through,” Gray said.

Fate unknown: Jen Quick’s Off*Beat. Quick, in an outdated post from early this year on her deviantART page, stated that the third volume was scheduled for August although former Junior Editor Peter Ahlstrom posted on the now inaccessible TokyoPop forum in March that the book was scheduled for December instead. The post is still available for a limited time in Google’s cache. When contacted by Newsarama, Quick only had this to say: “I'm afraid I can't answer anything about Off*Beat. I have no idea myself, other than my editor says it's on hiatus [at the moment].”

Life After TokyoPop?

“I'm currently working on a few projects, another self published book with Fabio Moon, Vasilis Lolos and Gabriel Ba called Pixu, and I'm working with Vertigo on an all-new Demo series with Brian Wood. I have a few other projects I can't really talk about yet, but trust me, I've got a lot on my plate,” enthused Becky Cloonan.

What about the rest of the gang? Is life any better after the whole TokyoPop experience?

One thing’s for sure, The Dreaming’s Queenie Chan is not about to abandon global/OEL manga. “Not when I have a book with Dean Koontz coming out at the end of this month that is also global manga (In Odd We Trust, for those who don't know). I've got a new pitch for a book series coming up, called Soul Shaper, so that's why I'm working on right now.”

Bettina Kurkoski revealed that she has completed Warriors: Rise of Scourge, a single-volume story under the TokyoPop/HarperColins co-publishing agreement. The June/July-shipping book is set in the super-popular Warriors novel world created by Erin Hunter, the pen name used by writers Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry and Tui Sutherland, with Victoria Holmes acting as story editor and plot writer. “I also did a My Cat Loki/Princess Ai crossover story for the Princess Ai: Encounters anthology due out in September 2008 and again, I’m currently working on a story for the Star Trek: The Manga anthology. I’ve another licensed series that I unfortunately can’t talk about at the moment.

“As for any future projects, I’ll most definitely be fishing the field of companies to pitch to and see who bites!”

“I'm working on some short stories for some anthologies coming up but I can't really get too specific about them as most aren't anywhere near press release time,” Christy Lijewski said. “Aside from that, I've been doing a lot of self-published shorts and doujin-style anthologies with friends. After I finished putting together Le Grande Grimoire last fall, I found I really enjoyed the control self-publishing gave me and have been looking to do some more projects in the same vein only in sequential form instead of illustration. Not the most thrilling news, but it's keeping me busy.

”Hopefully I'll be able to add a few more specifics to the list after SDCC this year.”

For Amy Kim Kibuishi, her time is most spent on finishing up the first book in a planned trilogy based on her Reman Mythology webcomic. “It will be entirely in prose, and right now I don't plan on there being any illustrations,” she stated. “I'd like to focus on starting a career in novel writing, as I've been enjoying the process of working in that medium much more than working in the comics medium. It's really freed my imagination in unexpected ways!

”I'd like to mention also,” she continued, “because several people have asked me this, that I'm not switching to novel writing because of any bad experiences with the comics industry. I'm doing it because I firmly believe it's "my medium", after all these years I'm finally mature enough to realize this. I don't expect anyone to agree with me until they can read my new book and see for themselves!”

“Right now, Jason [Henderson] and I are still working on getting our first book that we collaborated on, Clockwerx out the door,” Tony Salvaggio said. “It should be out in France first (September, last time I heard), and hopefully it will be out in the US in short order after that (I keep art for it on my LiveJournal, and some older animations on my site at We should be writing Book 3 for that soon. We’ve been working on it in some form or another since 2000, so it’s cool that it is probably going to see print.

“I’m pitching to whoever will listen with an array of comics in different genres. I’d still like to do a Heavy Metal Revenge comic with Hanzo [Steinbach] of A Midnight Opera, and I have some game design and multimedia stuff I am working on too,” he added. “Also, I’ve been spending a lot of time gigging with my band Deserts of Mars. Music and comics have always gone hand in hand for me.

“Jason is working on the sequel to Sword of Dracula, entitled The Dracula War, along with screenplay pitches and some multimedia stuff. Plus, I get to razz him because he was on the front cover of Wall Street Journal, but it wasn’t for comics. Some people, right? If I have my way, I’d like to get the team back together and do more books here and there, but we will see if we can pull that off.”

Rivkah: “Also, because of overwhelming support for the tutorials I've published online, classes I've given, and advice from my online blog where I keep a running commentary on my experiences in the business, I've started a workshop designed to put together a short story comic. It's a weekly 3-hour class where we discuss things like putting together a story, layout structure, pacing, dialog, inking, toning, printing, publishing options, and the business side of things (how to speak to your editor and publisher, what's deductible in your taxes and what isn't, negotiating contracts, etc). I ran a publishing company for two years and worked in print and design years before that, and feel that I have invaluable information to impart to others in the pursuit of creating their comics. It's a true blessing to have been there and knowing that while one of my projects may be on hold, I can still encourage others to keep moving forward and finding the niche that's right for them.

”In the meantime, I continue to write my novels and write and draw my graphic novels. Just because TP isn't doing well, that doesn't mean there aren't still plenty of other options out there. And there's always self publishing as well, something I'm not afraid of. It takes a little extra elbow grease, but the returns can be so much higher, not just financially, but emotionally as well.

”But no matter what course I take, I'll still keep making comics. I'm not about to tuck tail and run just because one project grinds to a halt. The professional route to take is to realize that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but that in the long run, if you just keep chugging along and are willing to keep learning as you go, you'll win out in the end.

”I have faith that comics [are] what I am meant to do and that [the] comics [industry] is where I'll be. I have faith not just in myself but in the entire industry as well.”

Joanna Estep: “Currently, I've got my fingers in other pies. I just illustrated a short story by writer Martha Thomases for ComicMix called Munden's Bar: The Crimson Tide, and I'll be returning to ComicMix later this summer to start serializing my own series The Misters on the web.

“I'm also illustrating a short story entitled Reflection with writer Eric Adams, that will hopefully be available later this year.”

ME2’s Sho Murase: “My print work is currently focusing on 3 titles: Nancy Drew for Papercutz/Simon Schuster, überbabe for a company in Canada called SugarLab (out in 2009), and Duran Duran's four-issue mini-series (no set title yet, probably out in 2009 or sooner) for Virgin Comics.”

Looks like Eric Wight is also keeping himself busy. “My Dead Girlfriend definitely created a lot of opportunities for me, especially in helping to establish myself not solely as an artist, but also a writer,” he admitted. “In fact, I’m writing more than drawing these days, currently hard at work on two new series for Simon & Schuster. Neither of the projects are pure graphic novels, but they do contain a strong comic component. The first series is called Frankie Pickle and will be chapter books targeted at grades 2-5. The second series is a medieval fantasy/graphic novel hybrid, the first volume of which is called Kookleberry and the Sword of Fools. We are still in the fairly early stages of things, but as soon as I have some stuff to show you, release dates, etc. I will definitely send it your way.”

Stuart Moore: “I've got various Marvel projects in the works, including a current run on Iron Man; I write The 99, a multicultural superhero team, monthly for Teshkeel; and I have various writing and freelance editorial gigs at Virgin Comics. Plus a few original projects I'm developing on the side. So I'm keeping very busy. I finished the last Earthlight script more than a year ago, so while I love the book, I'm happily on to other things right now.”

Lindsay Cibos: “In the meantime, Jared and I have a couple of new stories that we're currently shopping around to publishers including Otaku Contemporary, a satirical strip about manga, anime, video games, and of course, otaku; Cloverleaf Café, a drama/romance with yuri overtones; and Shadow Walk, a dark gothic fantasy.

”In addition, our short story, “Last Dance”, recently placed as a finalist in Kodansha’s 2nd Morning Magazine International Manga Contest (M.I.M.C.).

”Currently, I'm working as a penciler on the monthly comic series, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, published by Archie Comics. I started with issue #92, which came out in February. And there's more on the way, so please keep an eye out for those. I'm having a great time working on them. It's been an interesting new challenge for me to work as part of a larger team. Tania Del Rio's scripts are a blast to illustrate, and the whole Archie gang treats me great.

”You can check out sample pages from all of the above on our website here:

June Kim, who did the 12 Days global/OEL manga said, “I'm working on a graphic novel version of GirlTrash! written by Angela Robinson. It's scheduled next summer. The publisher is Crown Publishing Group, [a subsidiary of] Random House. It's very different from 12 days, so I'm nervous about he challenging scenes, but very excited.”

“After King City 2, I'm going back to Oni Press to work full time on Multiple Warheads, my Russian organ smuggler, werewolf epic,” Brandon Graham revealed.

Felipe Smith informed on his MySpace page on June 21 that he has moved to Japan and is currently working on his next graphic novel, Peepo Choo. “It's being published through Kodansha and released monthly through Morning 2 magazine. The first issue dropped in stores in Japan today!… The full chapter is 44 pages; after that I'll be releasing between 40-60 pages every month.”

Ross Campbell also has a projects with Oni as he’s “still working with the fine folks at Oni Press when I can, doing my Wet Moon series, and I had a Minx book, Water Baby, come out this year, and I'm also doing some other stuff for DC, and hoping to get something going at Dark Horse. I'd love to work on that Marvel anthology, too.”

Jim Pascoe revealed that he has a new series that he has been working on that he’s really excited about. “It’s pretty much wall-to-wall big action fighting,” he said. “I’m writing a comic book for a major Hollywood Studio. And I have a whole ton of other stuff in development, so it’s a race to see which project hits the public first.”

Steve Buccellato: “I did write and draw a story for the Princess Ai:Rumors from the Other Side anthology, and I'm currently finishing up a short story for Princess Ai: Encounters. The Encounters story teams up characters from Princess Ai with the cast of Battle of the Bands. It's basically a big, silly fight scene that will hopefully get some Princess Ai readers to give Bands a chance. It's pretty fun!

”Otherwise, I have a story in an upcoming issue of Image Comics' Elephantmen, and I've been doing a bunch of illustration & storyboard work lately. I'm looking forward to the San Diego Comic-Con next month because this year I have a spot in Artist's Alley. I'll be looking to network and line up some new projects when I'm not doing sketches at the con or drinking at the Hyatt bar!”

Van Von Hunter began as a webcomic in 2002. Therefore, it’ll always have a powerful allure for Pseudomé Studio to publish in that space, said Ron Kaulfersch. “The VVH webcomic has a definitive end planned,” he added. “But we’ve been too side-tracked by developmental work to get back to it.

“We had one title pretty far along in development and pitched it to TokyoPop under the pre-Manga Pilot program. It kinda got lost in the transition and we lost a lot of interest in it. Currently we're developing a new title, either for release via a publisher or online. We're also dabbling in some casual gaming content, and finishing up backgrounds for the Van Von Hunter film.”

Wait a minute. What Manga Pilot, you ask? Come back tomorrow for a Newsarama exclusive.

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