General exhaustion, the economy tanking, and the two day school break for Roshashana have got me scrambling to catch up. (Note: watching the Dow plummet is not recreational time well spent.)
I am woefully behind schedule with pretty much all of the below links, but still think it’s worthwhile to point out some of the cream from the crop that’s risen to the top.
First off, Brigid is back! Mangablog is in full effect yet again! So all manga or comics bloggers/journalists/speculators beware: if you’ve got something to say, if you’ve got some dirty little manga secret that you think is safe in the blogosphere, Brigid is going to find it and out you.
Here’s the latest link from her blog to Lissa Pattillo’s blog, Kuriosity, that made me thoughtful: DMP’s layoffs. I got a good-bye message from Rachel at DMP sometime last month, sharing news of her plans to leave the company. Apparently she wasn’t the only one.
“On a more negative note regarding DMP, while I posted a little while ago about the letting-go of the core staff of 801Media, word on the internet is that some of Digital Manga’s main imprint staff have been let go as well. While I can’t give names until I can confirm this news heard at the con, for now I can atleast say that this looks like a sudden belt-tightening by DMP that my indicate a few more troubles than initially thought. All speculation at this point but I’m sure we’ll hear something more conclusive in the coming weeks.”
I would say that boys love publishing has gone through it’s own belt-tightening with publishers shutting down or going quiet. Interestingly, the enthusiasm for BL is still going strong even if it’s not translating to revenue. Something that I found odd during NYAF took place at the Yaoi panel which I was on and presided over as “resident crotchety old lady.” All the girls in the audience were squealing with delight at the dirty boys in the slideshow that moderator Abby Denson put together while I was, essentially, the rain on the happy, anal-rape parade. Frank Pannone of MediaBlasters was the other speaker on the panel, and while I believe that yaoi is doing well for them, the health of the overall market for boys love is, well, unhealthy. I encouraged audience members to buy the books (scans are great, but buy the books) because that’s the only way the industry is going to survive. I swear a gasp rippled through the audience and I could see the fire ignited in every yaoi lover in that room. But that strange disconnect, the one between consumer and market, of not clearly understanding their role in the market or that they have a role to begin with, was a curious one to see.
Another curious belt-tightening observation took place earlier this week when I was, ahem, doing some research and found quite a few scanlations pulled down off the web.
Scans is one of those issues that kind of just goes in a loop. Harmful or helpful? Scans are illegally scanned, translated manga that’s distributed online courtesy of bittorrent (or other shareware). Time was, the unwritten code of scanlation forbade scanlators to continue scanning properties that had been licensed by American publishers; the whole idea being that the scans were the initial phase of building property awareness, an introduction to a product that we were aspiring to own. What makes it even more interesting is that the current culture of scanlation doesn’t observe that rule at all. All sorts of Naruto is available online, as is NANA and others.
But I just noticed that a number of scans have been pulled from sites at the request of publishers like Dark Horse, TokyoPop, ADV, and Dr. Master. One site, a mainstay in the scanlation community, has even gone dark, pulling all remaining scans of properties that have yet to be licensed (or, in the case of Freesia, probably will never see shelfspace on American shores). Obviously, this may not have anything to do with belt-tightening. Scanlation is illegal and it’s a violation of copyright to have unauthorized scans on the web. But publishers cracking down – or scan sites actually cooperating and observing the C&D requests from pubs – can’t help but make me wonder.
Of course, some properties online give way to kids buying more affiliated merchandise. But it don’t always work like that.