Ed Chavez took to the Vertical Comics Tumblr page over the holiday to talk about the state of the company in 2014 with a look towards 2015. The last couple of years have seen a lot of growth and expansion from the company on its manga side, which as they noted back in October, came at the expense at least in terms of mindshare when it came to their actual core business of the cultural material and other books. That brought forth the new Vertical Comics imprint, which had some great debuts in 2014.
- What Did You Eat Yesterday? (Continuing in 2015)
- Insufficient Direction
- Cardfight!! Vanguard (Continuing in 2015)
- In Clothes Called Fat
- Witchcraft Works (Continuing in 2015)
- AJIN (Continuing in 2015)
- Garden of Words
- Prophecy (Continuing in 2015)
According to Ed, the best performing series from this batch for them are AJIN and Cardfight!! Vanguard. With the popularity of Cardfight!! Vanguard around the world, an English language adaptation of the manga definitely should do well. It was also noted that Witchcraft Works and In Clothes Called Fat also did very well for them.
In regards to previously running series, some of which are continuing onto 2015 as well, they saw an interesting range in regards to performance. Gundam: The Origin and 5 Centimeters Per Second were the best for them while others such as Chi and Flowers of Evil did well. It also seems like Knights of Sidonia had a bit of a surge at times during the launch of the anime, but it doesn’t sound like it was sustained.
- Flowers of Evil
- Mobile Suit Gundam: THE ORIGIN
- Knights of Sidonia
- Chi’s Sweet Home
- From the New World
A look forward into 2015 provided the reminder of what new series are coming from the publisher, which is always welcome to see – especially with teases of three new series not yet announced. Ed noted that he hopes to announce those at either KatsuCon or KamiCon and is looking to pick up two more series for late 2015 as well.
- My Neighbor Seki
- Satoshi Kon’s Dream Fossil
- Makoto Shinkai’s A Sky Longing for Memories (art book)
- New Series X
- New Title Y
- New Series Z
“In 2014 we were really fortunate to have a few strong titles that appeared to have found a foothold within manga circles. I think our mix of new and old, seinen and josei, with a dash of shonen seems to be working. I hope to someday do some more shojo again, but that category seems to just not click for us yet.”
Ed also touched on the social media side, which is always interesting to hear about in regards to what works and what doesn’t. “Social engagement continues to improve. Our tumblr in particular really took off over this year. The @vertical_ed twitter still appears to be the preferred way for people to get in touch with us, but this tumblr feed is not too far behind. I will say that the Facebook feed while not very active does attract its own readership – mainly for very specific titles (Vanguard and Chi do well there). We also started playing with VINE this fall. Some of those videos seem to get a lot of plays. Let me know if you’d like to see more of those. I hope to do more during con season and some more over future trips to Japan.”
There was also some talk about how the 2015 release year is shaping up in general compared to the previous year:
“Moving on to the future… Our 2015 is going to be a little different. In 2014 we launched a pretty high number of new series for us. It truly was a year of expansion. And in meantime, we only had a handful of continuing titles. Well most of those 2014 works will continue to run through most of 2015. That will limit our number of new debuts until we get to the 2nd half of the year. So outside of My Neighbor Seki most of what you’ll see from us are titles mid-run. Thankfully though there will be a few projects that might bump up the interest for at a couple of those continuing titles – Knights of Sidonia season 2 debuts this spring; whileGundam THE ORIGIN part 1 launches in Japan on Feb 28th. We hope both will be hits and that they’ll be available in English soon after their Japanese release.”
When talking about the fall, Ed went on to note something of interest for those that partake of the surveys that they put out every year: “During this season fans should be treated to the launches of all of our unannounced titles. As these titles have repeatedly popped up in our surveys over the years, we are pretty sure some of you all will be pretty stoked to read these!”
It’s definitely been a very good year for manga with what Vertical Comics has been adding to the narrative and helping to shape more of it with their works. Watching the company from how they started out in getting involved in the manga side a few years ago to where they are now, and to see the continued solid quality throughout all of it, definitely makes each new slate of announcements exciting to watch.