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G4 Presents San Diego Comic-Con 2008
G4 Presents: Comic-Con '08 - Yen Press

Rich Johnson, co-publishing director
Kurt Hassler, publisher
Tania Biswas, assistant editor
JuYoun Lee, senior editor
Abby Blackman, intern

Comic-Con International was essentially the launch party of Yen Plus, the new anthology magazine from Yen Press. Copies are available at the convention, and it will be shipping to newsstands by Tuesday. (Subscribed copies will arrive soon after.) The panelists highlighted Atsushi Ohkubo's Soul Eater and James Patterson's Maximum Ride, which adorn the two covers on the magazines. (As in Korean anthologies, the Japanese manga are printed right-to-left in one half of Yen Plus, while the comics from other countries are printed left-to-right in the other half.)

The first Yen Plus issue effectively announces the acquisition of two new Korean manhwa within its pages: Sarasah by Ryan Ruy and One Fine Day by Sirial. The Yen Press tagline for the Sarasah series is: "Would you want the chance to go back in time to get back the love you lost?" In the story, a young girl is desperately in love with a boy who hates her. When she confesses to him, he accidentally pushes her down the stairs to her death. But she get a chance to go back in time to fix things so that the boy can fall in love with her. As it turns out, the boy is actually part of an archery unit of pretty boys in the past. The first compiled volume ships in July of 2009.

Sirial depicts the everyday adventures of a magician named No-Ah, the dog Nanai, the cat Guru, and the mouse Rang. The first compiled volume ships in July of 2010, since it is being serialized at only a few pages per magazine issue.

Outside the magazine, Yen Press announced several new manga, novel, manhua, and European comic titles. Yukako Kabei's original Kieli novels will ship in April of 2009. The story follows a young girl named Kieli who can see ghosts, and an immortal soldier named Harvey who is pursued by the Church's enlisted immortal-hunting assassins. Yen Press released the manga adaptation, but only two volumes were made. The novel's story continues beyond where the manga ended.

Another new license is the Step manhua from Yanshu Yu. In the story, an orphaned vampire is taken in by a vampire and monster hunter — who secretly plans to use her to gain unlimited power. The full-color title will ship next April.

In Akira Ishida's Oninagi manga, a young high school girl who happens to be descended from demons fights for her life against a demon hunter. However, the demon hunter then becomes her protector against a bigger foe. Houbunsha originally published the manga in Japan, and ships in the United States in April.

Also shipping in April is GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class, a four-panel manga by Satoko Kiyuduki. The title revolves around slice-of-life stories of an art class. Like Oninagi, it is a Houbunsha title.

Mikage's Ichiroh! manga is an another four-panel work that ships next May. The main characters are high school students who struggle to meet their college goals. Two of them fail the college entrance exams, and so they move into a dorm to prepare to take the exam again. It is another Houbunsha title, and it will include several pages in color.

Yuji Iwahara's Cat Paradise (Gakuen Sōsei Nekoten!) deals with humans and their cats who unite to stop an ancient cat demon bent on destroying the world. A girl discovers there is an ancient demon sleeping under her school, and the school's students fight the demon. Akita Shoten's Monthly Champion RED magazine has been running the manga since 2006, and the American version ships in July of 2009.

Yen Press emphasized that it is looking beyond Asia for its titles by announcing Toxic Planet, David Ratte's ecologically themed title from France's Paquet. The publisher's tagline for the manga is: "What if An Inconvenient Truth became a reality?" A young married couple is trying to live their lives in a world with encroaching pollution, but the husband Sam is pressured to join a group to fight the producers of pollution. Before the manga is published next July, Yen Press will run it as a web comic on its website. There are three small volumes in france, but they will be compiled one regular-length volume in the United States.

Finally, Yen Press ended its panel with its biggest announcement: the manga version of the Darren Shan's Cirque de Freak novel is coming to North America. The novel is the first of Darren Shan's popular series of stories about a vampire who turns his back on his family and survives in the world in a freak show. It is being made into a major motion picture by Universal Pictures. Takahiro Arai drew the manga version for Shogakukan, which rarely licenses manga to companies besides Viz Media. 7 million copies of the manga have been sold in Japan.

During the question-and-answer session, Yen noted that it will release B. Ichi, the 2002 debut work from Soul Eater creator Atsushi Ōkubo. The first compiled volume will launch in October, and the manga will also be previewed in the October or November issue of Yen Press. Yen Press subscriptions will cost US$49.95 yearly, and the magazine may be shelved in bookstores' magazine section or young adult fiction section (due to the Maximum Ride cover) instead of the manga section. Yen has no plans for Soul Eater anime, since anime is not Yen's area of focus. Licensing from Europe is different from licensing from Japan in that Western publishers tend to talk just about money advances. Japanese publishers expect a more exact financial estimate before making the deal. Trading cards and other giveaways will come from the Yen Plus magazine in the future. The first Nightschool graphic novel is due in April of 2009.

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