What's going on at Digital?

What’s going on at Digital Manga? Deb Aoki talks to DMP’s Michelle Mauk about recent staff and schedule cuts. Mauk confirmed that two production staffers were laid off, another employee “was transitioned to contractor status,” and two more (including the well-liked Rachel Livingston) left for reasons of their own. (It may be a sign of something that Mauk, a graphic designer, is handing PR, but in a small company people do wear a lot of hats, and maybe she’s just the best at talking to the public.) Digital is also cutting its release schedule from 12 books a month to 7. That includes a mix of new and continuing June titles, one volume from the harder-core 801 imprint, and a handful of other things. Mauk admits that this is because the manga market is tightening up—higher paper costs, weaker sales—but expresses hope that the situation will change. There’s a list of continuing series at the link.

Lissa Pattillo of Kuriousity also corresponds with Mauk, who emphasizes the positive: Digital’s new imprint, Doki-Doki, is still slated to kick off in April 2009, they just launched their eManga and Yaoi Club online services, and they announced some new titles at Yaoi-Con. It sounds like the eManga site will include some titles that will be online only, such as doujinshi and older titles. Digital has always been a bit of a niche publisher—in addition to copious quantities of yaoi, their titles includ Project X: Cup Noodle, the deluxe Speed Racer hardcover set, the Helen Keller edu-manga, and Worst. So it’s possible that they could put up some interesting titles.

Johanna Draper Carlson asks a key question about Del Rey’s joint project with Cartoon Network to produce CN-themed manga:

Cartoon Network is a WB company, as is DC Comics, who has their own manga line, CMX. Why isn’t CMX doing this project? Maybe they aren’t considered “one of the category’s best publishers”?

Or more likely, everyone at DC has forgotten CMX, which produces some very nice manga but seems to get little love from the mothership.

At Comics 212, Christopher Butcher questions Mike Gombos’ assertion that manga anthology magazines don’t do well financially.

The last circulation numbers that I was made aware of put Shonen Jump in the 200k/month sales bracket, possibly higher. Just working on available information like price, rough costs, and the amount of advertising in the magazine, there’s no way that Viz’s Shonen Jump isn’t turning a profit.

The MangaCast crew picks the best of this week’s new releases.

Alex Hoffman argues that publishers should not be so quick to brush off digital distribution of manga at Manga Widget.

Shaun Manning talks to Udon’s Matt Moylan about the latest volume of the manhwa anthology Apple at Comic Book Resources.

Besides talking to the DMP folk, Deb interviewed Vampire Hunter D creator Yoshitaka Amano at NYAF.

There’s an interesting introduction to gender-bender manga up at The Pitcher. (Via When Fangirls Attack.)

David Welsh thinks about which manga he likes to re-read, and why, at Precocious Curmudgeon.

At Rocket Bomber, Matt Blind summarizes online manga sales for the week ending Sept. 28.

Kanta Ishida reflects on the greatness of Rumiko Takahashi for the Daily Yomiuri. (Via Journalista.)

Reviews: Lori Henderson is unimpressed by the second issue of Yen+ magazine at Manga Xanadu. Noah Berlatsky reviews vols. 1 and 2 of Forest of Gray City at The Hooded Utilitarian. Tiamat’s Disciple takes a look at vols. 1-4 of The Demon Ororon and vols. 1-3 of Scrapped Princess. At Manga Recon, Katherine Dacey and Ken Haley look at two horror titles and an art book: Birthday, Goth, and Takehiko Inoue’s Water. John Thomas reads vol. 1 of Cat-Eyed Boy at Comics Village. Oyceter has a brief but spoilery look at vol. 10 of Her Majesty’s Dog at Sakura of DOOM. Travers C. has an equally pithy review of vol. 3 of Sundome at TaCk’s Pop Culture. Erin Jones reviews vol. 2 of B.O.D.Y. at Mania.com. Another WFA find: GAR GAR Stegosaurus looks fondly back at a favorite manga, Aquarium. Michelle Smith reads vol. 3 of Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind at Soliloquy in Blue. Casey Brienza warns readers away from vols. 1 and 2 of Laya, the Witch of Red Pooh but goes easier on vols. 1 and 2 of Astro Boy at Anime News Network. Emily reads Kamisama Hajimemashita at Emily’s Random Shoujo Manga Page.

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  1. Well, from the goodbye e-mail I got from Rachel, they DO have someone else who is supposed to take over for PR, someone who isn’t Michelle…but I e-mailed her and never got a response. :/

  2. Gombos was telling the truth. Manga magazines have long been an advertising expense in Japan (with—at best—razor thin profits), and that is the only model that seems to work in the U.S. as well.

  3. i was waiting for someone to mention yen+…and as of volume 3…i think the magazine sucks. hardcore. i don’t know if i’ll keep buying it, with such horibble stories…