"In the beginning, it was a challenge convincing TOKYOPOP's investment partners that manga could sell and actually profit in the United States ... and that people would not only be willing to read authentic manga (right to left), but would actually prefer it. When TOKYOPOP initially launched its line of nine 100% Authentic Manga titles, many of our competitors shook their heads, some held their breath and others watched quietly expecting failure. Today this format and price point are the industry standard."Hard to believe that there was a time when people doubted the appeal of manga, but I do remember Studio Proteus' Toren Smith being fairly negative about the prospects for unflipped manga in the American market.
"TOKYOPOP is now the leading U.S. publisher of manga," Brada-Thompson continued. "In many ways, I believe we have provided the fuel to ignite this explosion, but there are several key factors to consider: 1) manga has achieved a greater penetration into the book trade, 2) there is a much larger public awareness of manga and anime overall, and 3) manga appeals to a male and female demographic, thereby expanding its reach beyond that of typical American superhero type comics."Testify! Can I get an "ah-men"?
"Here and there, we'll publish a title that didn't get the predicted response from fans," Brada-Thompson admitted. "We're not always sure why this happens, but when it does, we have to try to learn from it and improve, whether that be in our choice of titles, their marketing strategies or overall production quality."Mind...reeling. A comic book company taking time to learn from its ventures, rather than just throwing stuff against the wall and seeing what sticks? Or, worse, giving up and resorting to the same old tired concepts?
"I believe its continued penetration into the book trade, mass market and other new avenues of distribution, along with a wealth of great stories published in an affordable, convenient format will contribute to even more manga growth in 2004," said Brada-Thompson.But what about the Direct Market? Why didn't she specifically mention the Direct Market? Oh yeah, right.