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I first saw news about TP laying off eight employees, including sales and distro VP Steve Kleckner, in yesterday's Publisher's Weekly daily newsletter.
Also gone, says today's Beat, is senior OEL editor.
Beat also says there's some "chatter" about OEL creators being told to stop work. I know some of them read this LJ. Queenie, Svet, care to comment?

Over at Bob DeJesus' (banzchan) LJ, there's discussion, with Toren Smith making one pointed (and correct remark, gilgrim weighing in, and a smattering of anthology discussion.
My own remarks are:

"Wow, that's a much more intelligent discussion than I'm used to seeing at ANN (Anime News Network) forums! People saying "100% authentic manga" is bullshit, someone pointed out TP's unsustainable internal growth curve, still another pointed out that the OEL is a strategy born out of a lack of licensing opportunity (mainly because Viz and Del Rey are now direct conduits for translations).

The TP implosion has actually taken longer than I expected, but I wonder if this is finally it, or if it's the cleaning that precedes a sale.

And the Beat says there's chatter about OEL creators being told to stop work. Now, that would SUCK ASS, considering that for almost all of them, stopping work for TP doesn't neccessarily mean they can move their books elsewhere, since all but one (as far as I know), are partially owned by TP. And it'd be a shitty way to pay back the trust many of them have placed in TP.
(Not that I have ever thought TP merited it, or have changed my mind about how foolish creators were to give it.) I sure hope, if this is true, they negotiated escape clauses into their contracts.

Which makes me wonder if my speculation that TP was fattening its value (with properties it could exploit) to make itself more attractive to buyers was correct.

Personally, I remain stunned that an industry can be so willfully blind to the signs of top-heaviness, a lack of focus, bloat and free spending that have been seen so many times before. Extravagant trade booths, extravagant promotions, a schedule of books the current market can barely accomodate (the translated manga), a full-blown slate of brand-new (I mean the OEL) books, MangaPods.

Within the last seven years, Crossgen, financed by a millionare, came and went. At the end, what did we see? Mad shuffling of personnel. Bills unpaid. Weird stabs at entering other markets. Reorganization. Spin.

Venture capital, in spite of its bottomless appearance, eventually runs dry. There comes a day when the people pouring money into a company want to see a return. From IICV2.com's report on all this: "[Mike] Kiley explained the [laying off, and promoting from within] by saying that like any company, Tokyopop 'wants to show an adequate return on investment for their stakeholders.'"


Lastly, can anyone tell me what this means:
"Before joining Tokyopop, Kleckner was a sales executive in consumer electronics for more than 15 years."

Where was he a sales executive?


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 27th, 2006 11:36 pm (UTC)
Promoting Microsoft Bob, perhaps?
Feb. 1st, 2006 02:16 am (UTC)
Jan. 28th, 2006 12:02 am (UTC)
TP has always smelled to me of being somewhat shysterish - while by no means am I down on World Manga (indeed, all of these new kids coming in wanting to draw in japanese style bodes well for the US comics scene IMO), the whole push with Takuhai and other OEL stuff smells to me of TP getting desperate for cheap content. The recent anime and manga boom was based on Japan's recent recession, and personnel from ADV I spoke with at panels at last year's Otakon noted that TV show rights now cost about 10 times as much now as they did at around 2000. Yay for Japan, I thought, with shows being valued what they're really worth. Take that with salt - and I'm not sure if that applies to manga, but I suspect that there's still no doubt been a several hundred percent increase in the prices for rights between now and the opening of the decade, as the form has increased in popularity.

As to who may buy them? Hm. Not sure. Depends on what they're rights are worth, I suppose.

Jan. 28th, 2006 02:23 am (UTC)
I can't say this surprises me, although it couldn't have come at a worse time personally. But I'll leave that stuff for my OWN LJ. ;)

I wonder if we'll see a consolidation in titles?
Feb. 1st, 2006 01:50 am (UTC)
So it comes to this.
Could the giant fall? Wow. Who'd have imagined? Then again, if you remember ye olden Mixx Zines, it's not that hard to imagine Tokyo Pop crumpling to the ground. Well, maybe not to the ground. Disney is making W.I.T.C.H. graphic novels (which I actually like, inspite of their sketchy trapping). Maybe they'll want to buy yet another comic publisher.

One thing I have learned from comics: the entertainment industry is rife with bullshit. Every actor, every label, every publishing house acts like a bird, hiding the symptoms of illness carefully. Everyone fears showing weakness. Everything is always great! Business is booming! They're not worried at all! But, one morning, you're going to wake up to find a stiff bird at the bottom of its cage.

Damn me and my flowery metaphors!
Feb. 1st, 2006 01:57 am (UTC)
Re: So it comes to this.
Hey, Rachel, tell me why your name is familiar.

Excellent comics. Everyone go look!

Feb. 1st, 2006 02:01 am (UTC)
Re: So it comes to this.
I run MangaPunk.com. (No, no, go to mangapunk.com/test! The main site is still a mess!)

Thanks for the compliment on my comics!
Feb. 1st, 2006 02:17 am (UTC)
Re: So it comes to this.
That's right. Duh.

MangaPunk is gorgeous. I love the girl at the top of the site. Is that your art? I would so wear a t-shirt of that.
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 1st, 2006 02:32 am (UTC)
Re: So it comes to this.
In fact, I do.
There's also the option of color transfers on paper for dark fabrics, which are true DIY punk. Cost about $1.50 to make, can sell 'em for $5.00.

Feb. 1st, 2006 02:35 am (UTC)
Re: So it comes to this.
This is the post that I accidentally deleted that was replied to:

"Yeah! I made that picture a year ago. If you're on again, try changing the theme to "oldskool" from your account preferences page. Same mascot, different look. (Drew it a week ago.) I love how many variations I can make off pink pigtails :D

I might make a t-shirt of it... if I knew of a shirt manufacturer/customizer that could do it good-n-cheap. (Please tell me you know someone out there like that.)"

Now all I need to know is, where can I buy uber cheap (yet hopefully flattering) t-shirts? (100%cotton!!) Unless you mean just sell the transfers...
Feb. 1st, 2006 02:37 am (UTC)
Re: So it comes to this.
Just the tranfers. Cheaper to ship, lower overhead, and people can pick their own shirt. The transfers I used to make shirts for my kids worked great, and were very much like the custom tees I used to buy when I was a teenager.
Tres' oldskool.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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