TOKYOPOP®, a POP Media Holdings company and global manga leader, are launching a new line of Digital First titles to accompany their print catalogue, with the first two titles currently in production.
With the launch of its International Women of Manga line in 2017, TOKYOPOP sought to highlight more diverse voices within the manga industry, and aims to continue those efforts with its Digital First titles. The two flagship titles for this exciting new initiative are DEATH KNELL and THE WAY OF SHAO, with plans to distribute these and upcoming titles across numerous digital platforms including Amazon Kindle, Apple iBookstore, ComiXology, library apps, and more.
“We're proud and excited to bring you two brand-new series which represent major TOKYOPOP initiatives, Digital First and diversity,” says CEO Stu Levy. “Both of these talented creators, Tim Smith 3 and ShaoDow, deliver pulsating, dynamic stories each with a unique world view, and we can't wait for fans to discover DEATH KNELL and THE WAY OF SHAO.”
Both titles are currently in production, and will be released in Q4 2019.
DEATH KNELL, by Tim Smith 3
DEATH KNELL is a brand new story from Tim Smith 3, designed as a full color infinite scrolling comic optimized for reading on smart devices.
In an increasingly despondent future, humanity found itself doomed by its own hand. In a last desperate attempt to stave off extinction, they turned to myths and legends of yore, grasping at even the faintest chance of survival. It worked… though perhaps a little too well, at least according to Grim. When people just stopped dying, he started sweating. Forming a company to process souls, he set up a series of rules that the living – humans and mythological creatures alike – must abide by. But running Death, Inc. isn’t exactly a walk in the park, and there are successors breathing down his neck to usurp his power. After all, when the Death Knell rings, the entire world must listen.
Tim Smith 3 (AKA TS3), has been working in the comic industry for over fifteen years. In that time he has worked for Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Upper Deck, TOKYOPOP, Archie Comics, Papercutz and many others. He is co-creator of the critically-acclaimed graphic novel Black.
“TOKYOPOP is the perfect fit to work with on DEATH KNELL,” says Tim Smith 3. “[It’s] a work that has been many years in the making, so I am extremely excited to finally get this bird off the ground, flying high, and into your hands. I pitched this project to Stu years ago, as I really felt working with TP would be an amazing experience. It is important for me to have complete creative control and freedom to create this story, TOKYOPOP gives me just that. I needed a place to explore and reward creativity. Death Knell is the product of such a union. Deciding to go 100% digital and free to read with this launch was a must. There is so much I want to show you, so please see for yourself the fantastic fantasy world of DEATH KNELL!”
THE WAY OF SHAO, by ShaoDow
THE WAY OF SHAO follows the fictional adventures of real life British rapper ShaoDow, whose passion and talent for music, martial arts and manga are undeniably demonstrated in his first graphic novel project.
In a world where musicians have enhanced powers and abilities, live shows are a battle not just for new fans, but also survival. ShaoDow is an ambitious young artist fighting his way to the top of the music world, but when he gatecrashes a concert, he finds himself embroiled in a rap battle with the enigmatic Homicyde. His debut on stage quickly transforms into a baptism by fire as he strives to discover the secrets behind the mysterious energy known as The Vibe and unlock the power of the Sound Blade.
ShaoDow is an award winning rapper, manga author and possible ninja. Equipped with a law degree and having studied Shaolin Kung Fu in China, ShaoDow utilizes the tenacity and determination he learned from his martial arts training to independently forge his music career.
The London-born artist makes a full-time living from his music, manga and merchandise and has even appeared on ITV's Ninja Warrior UK. He was invited into Parliament to speak on behalf of grassroots music venues across the country and is rapidly becoming recognized as a unique and eloquent voice within the UK Music industry.
“I’ve been a manga ’nerd’ from the moment I discovered Dragon Ball Z as a kid,” says ShaoDow. “In fact the reason I even went to China was (secretly) to work out how to do a Kamehameha! I developed my rap style and began my music journey in China but in my mind, the initial spark was manga. I’m so happy that it’s all come full circle, it was always going to be a matter of when not if in regards to me creating my own series. I have a very cool story to tell and it’s going to take a lot of books to tell it, I’m honored TOKYOPOP recognized the series’ potential and have are helping me bring it to the world. I can’t wait for you all to begin studying THE WAY OF SHAO.”