The leading publishing industry trade, Publishers Weekly, has selected Tokyopop for the top spot on the latest edition of Fast-Growing Independent Publishers. According to the PW article, the manga and graphic novel brand’s sales in 2022 doubled over 2021, and were up 580% from 2020.
The article (PW edition March 20, 2023, pg-41) notes that Tokyopop’s impressive performance has been due to the overall surge in demand for manga. The boom has led longtime Tokyopop accounts like bookstores, libraries, and comic shops to increase their manga footprint, while allowing the publisher to add key new retailer partners such as Walmart and Hot Topic.
Tokyopop also expanded its global retail reach though digital initiatives and developed more subscription partnerships. In addition, in January 2021, it moved its trade distribution from Diamond to Independent Publishers Group.
The publisher’s new title count, which includes books as well as single-issue comics, rose from 45 in 2020 to 61 last year, as Tokyopop focused on signing and releasing titles based on high fan engagement. A big success last year were the Disney manga titles, led by Marcy’s Journal: A Guide to Amphibia and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
“Credit for the phenomenal growth and success of Tokyopop is due entirely to readers and fans, who make all this possible, and to an incredible team of people that work very hard to curate, edit, produce, print, ship, and stock our titles,” says Tokyopop founder, Stu Levy. “Now more than ever before, the factors that will drive the continued success of Tokyopop rely on diversity and a lasting commitment to quality and to publishing content that celebrates the best aspects of humanity – creativity, inclusion, empathy, love, and courage.”
Popular licensed series based on well-known entertainment IP from brands such as Disney and Ubisoft endear Tokyopop to legions of readers and several new top tier properties will be licensed in 2023. The publisher is also forging fresh connections with a vast and underserved range of readers eager for diversity and a new era of characters and stories.
Tokyopop’s LOVE x LOVE imprint is tailored for the substantial romance reader market, which generated over $1.4 billion in 2022, making romance the highest-earning genre of fiction. LOVE x LOVE celebrates straight and LGBTQ themed romance with a colorful rainbow of acclaimed straight, shojo, BL, yuri and josei themed manga with an emphasis on quality. The imprint was born from commitment to represent stories, characters, and voices as diverse as the readers and manifests a core Tokyopop belief that “love is love” and all types of romances deserve to be celebrated.
In 2023, Tokyopop also forged a publishing initiative with Noir Caesar Entertainment, a Blackowned indie creative company founded by self-proclaimed “blerd,” pro athlete, and entrepreneur, Johnny O’Bryant III, that supports and nourishes content from marginalized and BIPOC communities for a burgeoning range of fans eager for wider representation in comics.
Utilizing Tokyopop’s extensive channel distribution network, digital marketing resources, and production expertise, Noir Caesar kicks off this collaboration with the release in July 2023 of the coming-of-age martial arts drama, XogeNnasys, and the sci-fi adventure, Primus 7. This will be followed in August 2023 by the launch of the gritty crime and redemption saga, Try Again.
Finally, Tokyopop’s “Comics That Matter” initiative uses graphic novels to raise awareness about important causes and social issues. Guardian of Fukushima, which was named an official selection by the Junior Library Guild, is the second and latest title in this catalog that also includes 2022’s release of Victory for Ukraine, an impactful collection of nine stories by Ukrainian creators focusing on the heroism of the Ukrainian freedom fighters in the face of overwhelming forces. More details at: https://www.tokyopop.com/comicsthatmatter.