Anime Expo 2013
Vertical Manga

by Carlo Santos, Jul 4th 2013

Editor-in-chief Ed Chavez led Vertical's panel at Anime Expo 2013, with translator Ko Ransom also sitting on the panel.

Recent releases this past June include Knights of Sidonia Vol. 3, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin Vol. 2, and Utsubora, while new releases for July include Limit Vol. 6 and Flowers of Evil Vol. 6. In addition, brand new titles debuting in July include Wolfsmund Vol. 1 (notably, Wolfsmund creator Mitsuhisa Kuji worked as an assistant on both Berserk and Emma), and Osamu Tezuka's Twin Knights.

Looking forward, Helter Skelter and Chi's Sweet Home Vol. 10 come out in August, and the novel A Dog in Water is due out this fall. September marks the release of Satoshi Kon's Tropic of the Sea and Sickness Unto Death Vol. 1, followed by Summer Wars Vol. 1 (based on Mamoru Hosoda's anime film) in October. New releases for November include the Sickness Unto Death Vol. 2, Kyoko Okazaki's Pink, and Volume 1 of the manga adaptation of acclaimed sci-fi novel From the New World.

Vertical's newest acquisition is Insufficient Direction, an autobiographical gag manga by Moyoco Anno in conjunction with her husband Hideaki Anno. This title is due out in February 2014.

The panel moved on to a brief but informative presentation about how manga licensing works. Chavez explain each stage of the process, which can take anywhere from weeks to years to acquire a particular manga title. The research and development stage involves reading and evaluating various untranslated manga, while at the same time, tie-ins with companies such as Funimation, Bushiroad, and others can present further opportunities for business.

After selecting titles for licensing, the process moves on to budgeting. Various costs include author royalties and licensing fees, production, and marketing. For older titles, there are also additional costs such as acquiring physical copies and digitizing them for production.

Next comes the bidding process, where the licensor negotiates with the original publisher over the terms of publication. This is often a challenge when the publisher or author has particular demands. Eventually, the parties involved will set up a contract, which includes specific terms such as the length of the license, rights management, distribution (through paper, online, or otherwise), territories where the books can be sold, and the production of derivative works (if any). Once the contract is set, there comes the actual production stage, followed by further scheduling of reprints, payments, and determining when a book goes out of print.

This presentation helped attendees gain a better understanding of the business, and afterward Chavez took questions from the audience about various titles in the Vertical catalog.

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