With over 450 backers, Digital Manga’s Unico Kickstarter surpassed it’s original funding goal last week. True to their word, the company announced a secondary license for their backers to shoot for – Osamu Tezuka’s Atom Cat:
“This is a family reboot of Astro Boy drawn by Tezuka in 1986-87, about a little boy who has a cat with Astro Boy’s powers. It’s adorable, fun, and has some great art and action!”
Even with additional thousands of dollars required for this title, the number was reached in a matter of days. Another Tezuka was added, this time a two volume series, Triton:
“It’s the story of Triton, a boy living in modern Japan who discovers he is the last survivor of the destruction of Atlantis by the god Poseidon. With his dolphin comrades by his side once again, he goes on a quest to avenge his family and, more importantly, begin to understand where he came from.”
Currently the Kickstarter is just over $30,000 with the current goal for the publication of Triton set at $47,000. Digital Manga continues to set some hefty goals indeed. I’m not sure how they’re working out their ‘pricing’ – going from approximately $20,000 to $6000 then shooting back to $20,000 – but backers seem keen on following the path regardless. Whether or not they reach the nearly fifty-grand total by July 21st remains, of course, to be seen.
Page Counts: 200
Release Date: Unknown
Page Counts: (Vol.01) 488 | (Vol.02) 440
Release Dates: June 2013/August 2013
I’m always glad to have the potential for Tezuka (or manga in generally,really), especially in this instance as Atom Cat sounds like a fun spin-off of Astro Boy – this coming from someone who doesn’t like cats too. I still really wish, however, that Digital Manga would have enough faith in the material to publish it without relying on this method of repsonsbility shift. I don’t think it’ll ever sit right with me watching a for-profit company requesting these kinds of upfront funds from its audience. Kickstarter as an extras potential – such as allowing a digital-only release to go to print or bring an old book back as a reprint, such as they did with Swallowing the Earth – seemed considerably more appropriate use of the service for them. If a financially backed, for profit organization with almost a decade of publishing experience is going to use a Kickstarter, I would hope they could show the confidence to use it as that kind of bonus offer system and not a do-all-end-all crutch. Maybe then asking your readers to shell out $45,000+ towards mostly unknown costs might go down a little easier… but who’s to say?
But I digress (surprise surprise!). Despite my previous post and podcast on the topic, I still feel I could go on rambles in regards to these Kickstarter projects for pages more so I’ll withhold myself here. I really do adore Digital Manga as a company for their taste and consistency over the years, but these Kickstarters and DM Guild activities have me really on the fence about their current direction. There’s a lot good about the intiatives, but a lot of negatives too.
Ultimately I am glad to see more Tezuka potentially hitting the market and both Atom Cat and Triton will be on my bookshelves when they’re available to actually purchase. Time will tell if it’s one or both, as Triton‘s fate in English seems to now lay squarely on an audience who could already be understandably maxed out.