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Tor makes the manga move

05/12/2007. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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US science fiction publisher Tor Books is getting together with manga house Seven Seas to form a new manga imprint.

Tor Books - the North American publisher of science fiction - has formed a new manga imprint with Seven Seas Entertainment. Seven Seas, founded in 2004, publishes manga, manga-inspired novels and illustrated juvenile fiction.

The new Tor/Seven Seas imprint will showcase the efforts of both companies working together to jointly acquire and co-publish Japanese 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 told SFcrowsnest.com, “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 is making an 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 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,” Jason DeAngelis, president of Seven Seas, told SFcrowsnest. “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 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.

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

More on Jason and his gang at www.gomanga.com (Tor is over at www.Tor.com of course).

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