New York ComicCon 2007
by Mikhail Koulikov,
Go! Comi's first visit to NYCC was led by David Wise, the company's founder and CEO, and Audry Taylor, Creative Director. And despite being one of the newer manga publishers in the US market, David and Audry used the opportunity Comic Con presented to show that Go! Comi's 2007 plans are nothing less than ambitious.
Adding to the eight titles that are either currently being published or scheduled for the first months of 2007, Go! Comi has licensed four new manga: Kana, King of the Lamp, Love Master A, and Hikkatsu!. King of the Lamp is the new work of Tenshi ja Nai author and artist Takako Shigematsu. Hikkatsu!, which David described as “one young man's fight to save the world from evil appliances” was created by Yu Yagami (Those Who Hunt Elves). The fifth manga title David mentioned, “Black Sun, Silver Moon”, had been announced several months ago, but is now confirmed to hit store shelves in April. Without delving into details, the panelists described it as a “cross between Saiyuki and Loveless.”
After announcing the new licenses, David and his colleagues opened the floor to questions and talked about some of the ways Go! Comi will be growing through the year. With a relatively small number of licenses, one question the company is always concerned about has to do with keeping properties fresh and accessible between volume release dates. One potential solution that David mentioned would be a magazine or anthology – this would also allow Go! Comi to translate and publish manga in individual chapters a short time after it is serialized in Japan, rather than waiting several months until a Japanese collected volume becomes available. A more realistic and immediately feasible alternative will be to make individual manga chapters on the Go! Comi website, under some kind of login/password system. And, moving right along with one of the dominant manga licensing trends of 2006-07, the company is actively looking to license and publish shounen ai titles, with a preference for longer series rather than one-shots.
Throughout the panel, Go! Comi's staff were joined by Wendy Pini, the legendary creator of ElfQuest, probably the first-ever American comic with a distinct manga influence. The reason for her presence became known with the announcement that in 2007, GC will begin looking beyond manga for its upcoming projects. The first one will be a three-volume series written and drawn by Ms. Pini and based on the classic Edgar Allen Poe short story “The Masque of the Red Death.” This will be a significantly edgier work than what ElfQuest fans are used to, and again taking advantage of the current popularity of shounen-ai themes.
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