Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hetalia Axis Powers Gets Simultaneous Print and Digital Release

TOKYOPOP & comiXology Debut Hetalia Axis Powers in Industry's First Simultaneous Print and Digital Manga Release

comiXology Introduces First Japanese Manga Series in Partnership with TOKYOPOP

In a first-ever simultaneous print and digital release for a major manga title in North America, TOKYOPOP, the leading independent manga entertainment company in the U.S., has partnered with comiXology, the number one digital comics platform for the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and the Web, to release the digital editions of Hidekaz Himaruya's hit manga Hetalia Axis Powers at the same time as the graphic novel print version.

Hetalia's mobile debut in the U.S. is a key part of TOKYOPOP's simultaneous print and digital releases on all popular platforms.

The first volume of Hetalia has been divided into six issues and will be available through the Comics by comiXology app and on the Web for $0.99 each. The first issue will be free.

Also coming soon is a deluxe teaser app that fans can download from the iTunes App Store, which includes a preview of the first chapter, manga trailer, and photos of elaborately dressed fans in Hetalia cosplay (short for "costume play").

"TOKYOPOP is thrilled to have comiXology join us as a partner in bringing this phenomenal new manga to every popular platform so fans can read it whenever and wherever they want," said Stu Levy, CEO of TOKYOPOP. "comiXology is a crucial part of our campaign to engage our fans in innovative new ways."

The release of Hetalia represents comiXology's first-ever manga offering. The manga reads from right to left in the authentic Japanese format, using comiXology's patent-pending Guided View™ Technology to create a fluid experience for dedicated manga fans and new readers alike.

"TOKYOPOP has developed a first-to-market track record in bringing manga to digital," said David Steinberger, CEO of comiXology. "Hetalia presents an incredible opportunity for comiXology to introduce more readers to the style and richness of manga storytelling through mobile. Working with such a pioneering publisher as TOKYOPOP is truly an honor. We look forward to bringing all of their titles to our platform."

Hetalia Axis Powers has swept the Internet worldwide as a Webcomic, and the graphic novel has already sold more than a million units in Japan. A humorous and often politically-incorrect retelling of actual historic moments, Hetalia focuses primarily on the relationships between the Axis and Allied Powers during the World Wars. The story follows Italy, Germany, and Japan from the fall of Rome up through World War II, with each country personified by bishonen characters (archetypal Japanese "pretty boys").

Hetalia is available through the Comics by comiXology app on the iPad, iPhone and iPod now.

Founded in 1997 by international media entrepreneur Stu Levy, TOKYOPOP established the market for manga in North America, introducing the term to the English language in the process. Over its history, TOKYOPOP has published over 3000 books, distributed anime and Asian films on home video and television, licensed merchandise to consumer goods companies, created graphic novels of major brands such as Warcraft, Star Trek, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Hannah Montana, and led the way digitally in social media, e-commerce and user-generated content.

TOKYOPOP's brand expanded internationally with offices in Europe and Japan and a network of over 160 partners in more than 50 countries and 30 languages. Taking its Manga Revolution beyond the page, TOKYOPOP has begun producing live-action and animated film and television content based on its extensive intellectual property library, including Priest, Van Von Hunter, and another 20 projects currently in development, along with America's Greatest Otaku, an 8-episode reality show filmed during its 2010 summer-long, 28-city national tour.

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About comiXology
Since 2007 comiXology has been developing the technological infrastructure to bring comics into the digital mainstream and expose new audiences to the rich history and culture of the industry. Through partnerships with top comic book publishers including Marvel, DC, BOOM! Studios and Image Comics as well as their own mobile and web apps which hosts nearly 3000 digital titles, comiXology has become a leader in comic book proliferation. Also focused on creating strong ties with retail stores through its technology solutions, comiXology continues to transform the previously fragmented comic ecosystem into a vibrant and cohesive marketplace.

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