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Digital Manga Stretches for the Tezuka Goal with Updated Kickstarter

Digital Manga Stretches for the Tezuka Goal with Updated Kickstarter

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.

Atom Cat
Paperback (B/W)
Page Counts: 200
Release Date: Unknown
Price: $12.95/US
Triton
Paperback (B/W)
Page Counts: (Vol.01) 488 | (Vol.02) 440
Release Dates: June 2013/August 2013
Price: $19.95/US

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.

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of Kuriousity.ca. Residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia she takes great joy in collecting all manners of manga genres, regretting that there's never enough time in the day to review or share them all. Along with reviews, Lissa is responsible for all the news postings to the website and works full time as a web and graphic designer.



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2 Responses

  1. I know we have discussed this ad nauseum, but I always find your position of “I will buy the book once it hits the direct market but I refuse to support the Kickstarter,” somewhat baffling.

    • Lissa says:

      In return I find that so many people being entirely alright with this publishing method rather baffling, but as you said we\’ve discussed it rather thoroughly already!

      Though I\’m not a fan of their methods, being the company that they are, I won\’t \’punish\’ the book or my want to support & read it by not purchasing it the same way I always have through the market. I don\’t approve but it\’s not enough to blacklist a title. If I held my manga morals for certain things that high, I wouldn\’t be able to buy a lot of books because of their publication resulting almost entirely from scanlation popularity (as an example). Starting sources can often fall in gray areas, but I\’ll keep supporting the methods and markets I want to see succeed just as you will.

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