Tor Books Partners with Seven Seas to Form New Manga Imprint and Announces Publication of Afro Samurai, the Basis for the Hit Spike TV Anime Series

Dec 6th 2007
New York, NY—Thursday, December 6, 2007: Tor Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC—the largest publisher of science fiction in the world—has formed a new manga imprint with Seven Seas Entertainment, LLC. Seven Seas, founded in 2004, publishes manga, manga-inspired novels, illustrated juvenile fiction, and more, and is one of the only publishers that produces original manga content in the US.

The new Tor/Seven Seas imprint will showcase the efforts of both companies working together to jointly acquire and co-publish some of Japan's best-selling and most exciting manga series, light novels, and other fiction. Beginning with books scheduled for publication in early 2008, Tor will also be distributing new Seven Seas titles every month, under the Seven Seas imprint.

Tor Publisher Tom Doherty says of the partnership: “We are so pleased to be working with Seven Seas; their mix of science fiction, fantasy, humor, romance, and adventure is an excellent complement to Tor's bestselling and award-winning genre fiction publishing program.”

Through its relationship with Seven Seas, Tor makes an exciting entrance into the world of manga publishing; manga, the Japanese version of comic books, is a publishing phenomenon that, in 2006, represented a $4.4 billion market in Japan and a $175-200 million market in the US. The distribution and publication of select Seven Seas titles will also give Tor an opportunity to become a flagship publisher of “light novels,” a type of book new to American manga and genre-fiction fans. The light novel launch will feature Ballad of a Shinigami, Pita-Ten, and Strawberry Panic!, and will debut in March 2008.

“It's an exciting time for the manga industry,” says Jason DeAngelis, president of Seven Seas. “Our partnership with Tor will enable us to push the envelope even further and expand the manga market, bringing all sorts of new and varied content to fans.”

In August 2008, Tor and Seven Seas will publish their first collaborative venture under the Tor/Seven Seas imprint, the manga Afro Samurai, written and illustrated by Takashi Okazaki. Afro Samurai—created in Japan but releasing here in the US for the first time—was the basis for the popular Spike TV anime series that premiered in 2007 and featured the voices of Samuel L. Jackson, Ron Perlman, and Kelly Hu. The publication of Afro Samurai will kick off a multi-platform promotional campaign, including an Afro Samurai video game by Namco and the launch of Spike TV's second Afro Samurai season, both slated for fall 2008.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Afro Samurai's author, Takashi Okazaki, explains that Afro's character was inspired by musicians he saw on old episodes of the television program “Soul Train,” which aired in the 1990s in Japan, and that “I also loved Japanese samurai flicks. So one day, I combined the two.”

The show has received rave reviews from press such as the Washington Times, which praises Afro Samurai for its “hip and very cool animation” and says, “in the most Quentin Tarantino of ways, [Afro Samurai] highlights a story of revenge set in futuristic feudal Japan.” Top gaming website IGN.com raves: “Samuel L. Jackson's new action anime show kicks ass!”

About Seven Seas
Jason DeAngelis, founder and Chief Creative Officer at Seven Seas, lived, worked, and studied martial arts in Japan for six years. His fluency in Japanese brought him work translating such prominent manga titles as Berserk and Gundam Seed. Jason oversees the production of Seven Seas' original projects.

Two other key members of Seven Seas include: Yayoi Ihne, Head of Licensing, who worked at Viz and with Del Rey, and has translated numerous manga, including Sugar Sugar Rune and Adam Arnold, Senior Editor for licensed properties, who created the webzine Animefringe and has worked as a re-writer on numerous manga, including Pita-Ten and Love Hina. Adam currently writes Aoi House and runs the Seven Seas website, www.gomanga.com, which has become a daily stop for thousands of visitors eager to read manga online and contribute to an ever-growing forum community.

Some of Seven Seas' most popular manga series are:
Aoi House (http://www.gomanga.com/manga/aoi.php)
Boogiepop (http://www.gomanga.com/manga/boogiepop.php)
He Is My Master (http://www.gomanga.com/manga/heismymaster.php)
Hollow Fields (http://www.gomanga.com/manga/hollow.php)
Kashimashi (http://www.gomanga.com/manga/Kashimashi.php)
Strawberry Panic! (http://www.gomanga.com/manga/strawberrypanic.php)


About Tor Books
Tor Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, is a New York-based publisher of hardcover and softcover books, founded in 1980 and committed (although not limited) to SF and fantasy literature. Between an extensive hardcover and trade paperback line, the Orb backlist program, and a stronghold in mass-market paperback, Tor annually publishes what is arguably the largest and most diverse line of science fiction and fantasy ever produced by a single English-language publisher. Books from Tor have won every major award in the SF and fantasy fields and Tor has been named Best Publisher in the Locus Poll, the largest consumer poll in SF, for twenty consecutive years.

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