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Fanboy Entertainment Status/Open Letter

posted on 2001-06-29 15:26 EDT
The "Head Fanboy" (C.B. Cebulski) of Fanboy Entertainment talks about the future of the company, as well as the state of the manga industry.

Quoted from C.B. Cebulski's e-mail:

I hate rumors... especially when they are about me. And I know a lot have been circulating about Fanboy Entertainment recently. Forget what you've heard. I am going to clarify mattters here and now.

We are not bust. We are not bankrupt. We are not dying. We are not dead. Yes, as I discussed at Anime Central, we are scaling back our publishing operations. But truth be told, Fanboy is growing and expanding in other areas actually. Our focus has shifted.

As I have mentioned, we will not be publishing as much ourselves anymore and many of our planned projects have been postponed or cancelled. We are currently making alternate plans for their publication through Fanboy, looking at co-publishing them with other companies or, in some cases, seeking to sublicense them out. There are a number of reasons for this.

First off, I believe the monthly manga market here has become stagnant. (I specify "monthly" here as I do believe that manga graphic novels and special projects have a bright fututre ahead of them.) It is no secret that the U.S. comic market is not as healthy as it could be. Manga is an even smalller part of this already small market. Every manga publisher is competing for the same pieces of the pie. While the popularity of anime increases exponentially, the same growth is in no way reflected in manga sales. New fans aren't flocking to the comic shops to buy black and white manga like they are to the video shops to purchase DVDs. We are only selling books to the same fanbase month after month. And those fans only have so much money. As publishers, we are only cutting each others throats by putting out new titles every month to compete with one another for the fans' dollars. Additonally, the bigger and more established publishers have more money and staff to invest in promotion!
and advertising and they also have their long-standing reputations to ride on. I cannot directly compete with them.

Secondly, as anime sales increase, newer and bigger companies have jumped into the manga game looking to make a quick buck. They do not neccessarily understand the market and their presence here hurts. They have succeeded in driving up prices and licensing fees to levels that are hard for smaller publishers like me to match. They also have the funds to do mulitple title deals for large sums of money which the Japanese publsihers are more than happy to accept. Over the course of the first four months this year, I have had three manga titles I had agreements in place for bought out from under me for riduculous licensing fees AND I saw the price tag on one deal triple as I was forced to enter a biddding war I eventually backed out of. I know manga and I do not see how any of these deals could possibly be profitable for the publisher who agreed to pay these exhorbitant amounts of money.

Lastly and most importantly, other opportunities have presented themselves to us and something had to give. I now have lots of new and exciting projects lined up that will not only keep me busy day in and day out, but will also serve to push manga more into the mainstream market. This is what I originally set out to do and it looks like I will now be able to accomplish this is ways I think will surprise people. I have always prefered working directly with the creators and artists themselves anyway and that is what I will continue to do in the future in an even greater capacity.

In the meantime, here is the run down of what I can tell you so far:

Dark Angel in color will continue from Image. Issue four should be shipping soon. However, subsequent issues may not be out until 2002.

The Copybook Tales Collection has moved from Fanboy into the good hands of another publisher. Expect to see more on this soon from them.

Möbius Klein has been postponed for now as we look at alternate ways of releasing it.

Spellbound has also be postponed while we evaluate its future.

Feather has been postponed as we look for a new home for it.

The Kia Asamiya Sketch Collection has been canceled.

The Silent Möbius 10th Anniversary print is shipping now.

WHITE RAIN has been delayed until July but is coming.

Sidekicks stays. We will also be publishing a new Sidekicks one-shot, The Substitute, in November. It is written and laid out and Takeshi is now penciling and inking it.

We will continue to publish special projects in the future as well. The surprise success of ESSENCE was unexpected but totally welcome. Expect to see more of books like that from us. We have already signed two new artists very familiar to fans whose work we will be releasing in 2002.

But NO, Fanboy is in no way folding. Again, I hate rumors, but they are understandable in this case as I had yet to comment on the situation. Things couldn't be better really. You will be seeing a lot more of us in the months to come on a number of different projects, again, many which will surprise people. My main goal in starting Fanboy was to get more people exposed to manga and Japanese artists. However, month after month, I discovered the manga market here was so closed, so self contained. I had to change to accomplish my goals as the market remains status quo. I have now found ways to really break manga out into the public eye and that is where are efforts are directed now.

As a fan myself, it is heartbreaking to have to cease publication of some of these titles. I offer my sincere apologies to people who picked up the first issue of both Spellbound and Möbius Klein. I also feel terrible that fans will have to wait to see the marvelous comic that is Feather. I will do my best to see you get the rest of these stories as soon as possible in one way or another.

If anyone has any questions, comments, suggestions or inquiries, do not hesitate to contact me. I am being totally open and honest about the siutation. When things don't work out one way, you change and take them in another direction better suited to your ultimate goal. That is exactly what I am doing here. I do hope I have the support of everyone who has believed in me and what I have been doing with Fanboy over the past two years. There are lots of exciting things in store for manga in America and I intend to be right there in front leading the pack!

Now go read a comic....

C.B. Cebulski
Fanboy Entertainment
June 29, 2001

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