In Praise of Tokyopop: They Opened the Door for Manga in America

Posted by Linda Yau on Apr 18, 2011 in Comic Books |


In a time before the iPad, or the streaming wonders of the internet and back in the late 90’s, there was Mixxzine later to be known as Tokyopop. At the end of last week, news broke out regarding about Tokyopop closing shop on American soil. This probably is a shock to many fans, and there are still questions about what would inevitably happen to their unfinished licenses. Things have not been looking great for Tokoyopop this year, so take this closure with a grain of salt. Consider the good and the influence that this company had generated for the field of manga and graphic novels.


Consideration of females as a viable audience for graphic novels.
Long before there were graphic novels, the safe target audience for comics has been male. Now with the late 90’s introduction of Sailor Moon, and subsequently Tokyopop’s foray into josei novels with Tramps Like Us or Suppli. It paved the way into American awareness that comic/graphic novels can be enjoyed by an audience member other than males.

Opportunities and publishing of Original English Language Manga.
At one period or another, Tokyopop was considered to be the largest manga publisher that supported and cultivated OEL manga titles to be in print. OEL is considered by many to be not manga, this did create opportunities for a niche group of artists that otherwise might not have been heard.


Championed reading right to left.
This is an Asian approach to reading, but to differentiate and set apart manga as a category of its own. Tokyopop definitely introduced the concept, since learning how to read from right to left is a curve on its own.


Popularized Manhwa.
Outside of Asia, and unless you study Asian cultures, you wouldn’t have realized that there were countries other than Japan that produced graphic novels for their populations. Tokyopop was the first English publisher that made people know that Korea also had a strong Manhwa culture. From the manhwa example above, this is a type of art that is easily mistaken for being manga. Yet there are subtle differences that have garner fans and followers.

Tokyopop has been a gateway for many Japanese manga fans, and to sum up the news of this publishing company closing is to note that is the end of a fandom era.

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.


Copyright © 2024 All rights reserved. Theme by Laptop Geek.