Newsarama posts a thorough round-up of most of Tokyopop’s OEL line and the status of its’ creators and books. Of course, the chopping axe is still coming in for some material, but for the most part, things look better than they did previously.
Most of the creators involved with Tokyopop are going on to other projects, or were involved in other projects already. Tokyopop is claiming that most of these projects really are on hiatus, as opposed to implied-cancelletion, and here’s hoping that they follow through on this.
There are still losers. Obviously the art loses by not having some good series reach completion, but the cost for creative people is hard to measure. Tavicat are announcing that their series, Shutterbox, has been cancelled just prior to the release of volume five of what was intended to be a six-volume series, meaning that a whole volume that is already complete won’t see publication. Tavicat had a pretty swanky contract with Tokyopop, as well as a long history with the company as OEL creators. Considering their long and reliable history as creators and slew of personal connections, I find it hard to believe that Tavicat books won’t be on the shelves at some point in the relatively near future.
The future of Jen Lee Quick’s wonderful series Off*Beat remains uncertain. The series has a good cult following and the third volume would resolve a lot of major character and plot questions that Quick was building through two very well-written and well-drawn volumes. Quick seems to be staying largely quiet, though whether it’s because she’s busy or because she’s keeping business relations between herself and Tokyopop as amicable as possible remains to be seen. Her most thorough post on the subject on her Deviant Art journal otherwise suggests that, unfortunately, options for her aren’t entirely so great right now:
at the end of this year, i will have a better idea if comics will be something i can afford to do full time or part time (or worst scenario no time) and that will affect if my next project will be novels published quarterly, yearly, or sporadic self contained single issues. i will also be giving this time to tokyopop, should off*beat have any chance of revival, i will not be caught in another long story arc. i will post more detail about this soon. issue one is mostly complete and should be available in mid/early september. [...] in short- i’m going to put a rather big risk, give this whole comics thing one last big effort before i throw in the towel, and resign myself to a future of retail.
The Tokyopop restructuring is hardly the first (or the worst) time this has happened in the comics business, but it’s always very saddening to see some creators actually have to face the possibility of leaving the comics industry because of corporate business decisions. Say it ain’t so, Jen–I hope things improve for you, and I’ll gladly buy anything you put out, and I say so as someone who bought the very-overlooked Once in a Blue Moon.
However, I think it’s important to remember that it’s important not to blame Tokyopop too harshly for what’s happened to them. Obviously, any large company has a lot of hands guiding it in often different and less-than-compatible directions. They couldn’t control the economy, or the fact that Borders and Waldenbooks returned substantial amounts of their stock in order to stave off their own corporate woes. Tokyopop made OEL a headline publishing effort, for which they deserve immeasurable credit.