Given the resurrection of Tokyopop, I’ve found myself looking at some other publishers who have died. I thought I’d pick out some of my favourite and have a bit of a remembrance post on them. My hope is to resurrect some fond memories for these publishers, since it’s unlikely we’ll see another Tokyopop.
CMX really was a short lived publisher, but what’s really strange is that it didn’t fail, it’s parent company (DC Comics) just gave up on it and closed it down.
I never picked up a lot of CMX titles, Monster Collection, Sword of the Dark Ones, Fire Fighter Nanase, Drothea, Emma, and Shirley. By the time i started to get interested in some of their other titles it was to late to get the complete versions, so i didn’t bother.
CMX launched in 2004, but not to good reviews. Their first release was Tengo Tenge by Oh! Great, but to increase sales CMX heavily edited the series so as to avoid having to sell it with shrink-wrap. This caused a split within the fan base, some not minding the edits claiming the removal of the sex scenes didn’t interrupt the story. Others however were really annoyed by the edits, even calling for a boycott on CMX titles. Despite this launch problem CMX did do fairly well, though they never had another series that could be considered ‘major’.
CMX however were able to garner some popularity as a niche licensor, they picked up titles that were shorter, or considered niche titles; in fact CMX seemed to be going from strength to strength over the years. This was despite the apparent lack of attention that DC Comics gave the imprint. Their website was atrocious, a sub-site of DC, with nothing more than a long list of titles and hardly any navigation.
This apparent neglect came to a head in 2010 where DC announced they were closing the imprint. This came as a shock to many who felt CMX were doing well with good prospects for the future. DC it seemed however had decided to pull away from manga and thus didn’t need CMX anymore.
CMX closed, but not before a mass release of volume ones for new series, series which were now left in limbo. this again caused some surprise since it was obvious the series would not be completed, and there was further confusion over the incomplete series CMX already had.
While i never really liked the CMX release quality, especially since they proved they could do a high quality release in the form of Emma and Shirley, they were a good publisher one i would have liked to get more titles from.
Infinity Studios is sadly another publisher i was late in getting to. In the end i was only able to pick up Iono-sama and Chun Rhang Yhur Jhun, both of which were left incomplete. Infinity was a great publisher, their releases were superior quality releases with honorifics left intact, a rarity in manga. The releases were slightly over sized and printed on high gloss paper with dust covers. This high quality was probably a significant contributing factor to their disappearance, as the volumes were significantly more expensive than normal.
Infinity were also one of the first publishers to try digital distribution, after a fashion. They sold PDF versions of their books for around £6, about half the cost of the print volumes. However rather than offering them as downloads or even email, they shipped them on CD’s to people.
What’s weird though is that Infinity just disappeared, with no announcements or anything. Though in fairness the signs were there for a while that they were dying. Hopefully someone else will rescue the titles they had.
I never picked up anything by Go Comi, in fact the only thing i ever had of theirs was their online Visual Novel attempt, Dragon Academy. This endeavour may have contributed to the fall of Go Comi, since it was apparently very expensive to make, sales were not up to what they were hoping, and they never released beyond the first chapter. Not long after this Go Comi offered a gift voucher to anyone who paid for the chapter, but this voucher was next to worthless for anyone not in the US/Canada.
A few months after this things started to die, their forum activity dropped to zero and then finally they died altogether.
The most notable thing about them is that someone took over the domain and tried to use it as a way of fleecing money of the fans by pretending to coming back as a publisher and asking for donations. It was quickly shut down, and so far there’s no sign of Go Comi returning.
I’ve a lot of titles from Del Rey and it’s British imprint, Tanoshimi. Overall i rated them reasonably high. Their releases were generally pretty good with only a few minor problems. However they were tied to a single publisher Kodansha. This relationship meant they had access to some really amazing titles, XXXHolic and Tsubasa Resevoir Chronicles for example. Titles that most likely would have been picked up by Viz. these series are long running titles and are good earners. However because Del Rey were reliant on Kodansha for the vast majority of their releases the company ended up closing it’s doors in 2010 when Kodansha decided to enter the western market directly.
Rather than look around to either form a partnership with another Japanese publisher, or go independent, they decided to close their doors, leaving a lot of series incomplete. Kodansha does intend to finish these series themselves, but of your OCD about collecting series from a single publisher this is going to raise a few hackles.
Again I’ve a few titles from here, both their light novels and their manga. They have a turbulent past. Their first release of the Tsukihime series was met with contempt due to the bad quality. This quality is even more evident in their light novel releases. Both the RahXephon and Junk Force novels are no better than engrish that, require a lot of work to read, but are worth it.
They did turn around and re-release the Tsukihime series in a better quality, and this edition is the one i have and frankly i love the series. However Dr Master hasn’t published anything in a looong time and the latest volume of Tsukihime has been stuck on ‘coming soon’ for ages. Dr Master have gone into a period of dormancy in the past, and then resurrected to release a volume or two. however i don’t think they’ve had one this long before. However the fact they keep their website online does fuel the hope that they’ll return at some point and finish the series they have.
There’s quite a number of other publishers that i could add to this list, but i don’t really know a lot about them. So i couldn’t really add them (Broccoli for example)