New York Comic-Con 2011
by David Cabrera,
The biggest announcement at Yen Press panel was a self-described “game-changer”: the publisher will be bringing the day-and-date release model to manga. Soul Eater Not, a more peaceful side story to the shonen fight manga, is presently available via Yen's Yen Plus magazine. In January, however, its serialization will catch up, day and date, with the Japanese release. The rep (Kurt Hassler) stressed the importance of this deal and strongly encouraged the audience to support Yen Plus if they wanted to see more of these kinds of releases going forward. The plan is clearly to make scanlations obsolete, to eliminate the excuses for piracy in anime fandom, and establish a rental-like standard in online manga reading. In Yen's words, “help us help you”.
New license announcements included the manga adaptation of the dark magical girl hit Madoka Magica (May), the Haruhi alternate universe story The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, and Square-Enix's Till Death do us Part, a story about a the unlikely bond between a blind swordsman and a girl who can see the future.
There was a trend towards large omnibus releases, and Hassler even expressed interest in doing more deluxe hardcover releases likethe recent Bride Story-- when the right title for that treatment comes along. A hint was dropped that Yen was looking into an unspecified artbook release.
The sudden departure and even more abrupt return of Tokyopop was also a running topic of discussion over the course of the panel, including a snap about Yen closing for the weekend. The abandoned Alice in the Country of Hearts-- a dating sim adaptation based on Carroll's Alice in Wonderland in a Wonderland populated with beautiful boys-- has been license rescued by Yen and will be released in the form of three double-sized omnibus volumes in the space of a single month. When asked about other rescues from the company, Hassler stated that Yen had expressed interest in some of these titles and that the Japanese licensors for them were still looking for a way to move forward.
Yen's line of manga-styled adaptations of young adult novels continues unabated with adaptations of Cassandra Claire's Infernal Devices (art by Gossip Girl's Hyekyung Baek) and Sherilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunters Infinity: Chronicles of Nick.
Once the Yen Q/A was over, Yen's in-house OEL authors Svetlana Chmakova and Rem were brought out to answer questions about their respective long, hard climbs up in comics and their current projects. Chmakova has an adaptation of James Patterson's Wizard and Witch, and Rem is adapting Gail Carriger's Soulless: both adaptations require constant contact with the original authors, and Chmakova described it as a “relief” to have a story's framework already placed down.Chamkova also confirmed that a sequel to her popular Night School was in the “we're talking about it” stages just before we ran out of time.
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