The Web in Print

From my stint as Content Manager of WirePop (, I can personally attest to a growing trend in webmanga. Publishers are actively looking through online comics for potential to publish. TokyoPop alone has contacted nearly every person on the WirePop roster at one time or another. Seven Seas has also contacted numerous webmanga authors (one, too, from WirePop). What's interesting is the vastly different approach the companies are making.

So far, TokyoPop seems to search for talent, not content. Queenie-Chan and Niko Geyer — Fantasy Realms was then hosted on WirePop — were both solicited to work with a writer of TP's choosing. Svetlana Chmakova created a new comic project instead of translating WirePop's NightSilver to print. Most of the rest of TP's OEL manga also seem to follow this trend. Rivkah's Steady Beat was the only WirePop comic to make a straight transition, but even it was entirely redrawn.

On the other hand, Seven Seas is actively looking for webcomics that currently have established fanbases. Inverloch, Earthsong, and Chugsworth Academy are all the same stories published on the internet. Even Hollow Fields, the comic plucked straight from WirePop, is seeing print as it was.

Which approach is better? On one hand, Tokyopop is theoretically pairing the best combination of writers and artists to create stories specifically targeted at the audiences they want to reach. Seven Seas, however, is taking stories that have already proven themselves.

The result is mixed. The story I saw presented to Niko was nothing I'd want to read, while Svetlana's DramaCon was a joy. Likewise, Inverloch is a captivating fantasy tale, but Chugsworth's popularity bewilders me.

I guess only time will tell which approach finds the most success (and produces the best manga).