Tuesday, August 24, 2010

CMX Resuscitation?

I wasn't originally that interested in an interview with Lee and Didio about the future of their company, since I've considered Marvel & DC to be in a downward spiral catering to their hardcore fans. That was until I took a closer look and noticed they were going to address a certain issue that just recently came to my attention:

...DC recently closed its CMX imprint. I wonder if you’d maybe reflect (...) over the last five - ten years of growth in manga and now the shrinkage, and on why DC decided to pull out now.

Lee: We had put in a number of good years trying to make a real concerted effort to be in that business. It’s difficult because the licenses, the key licenses, are not easy to obtain. It’s a very long negotiating process where you have to work with lesser-known titles and work your way up to the key licenses. That hurt us from the get-go. We had great staff, and Asako Suzuki was instrumental in spearheading the CMX line. I think we had some relative success given the licenses we had. But if you look at what’s shaking out in the market right now, from what I can tell, it’s just a very few, very dominant licenses that account for the bulk of the business and everything else has fallen to the wayside.

We looked at a number of different alternatives. We talked to a number of key publishers there about alternatives and then we couldn’t make the numbers work. The numbers on CMX were, comparatively, super low compared to the rest of our offerings and just reached a point where it made more sense for us to be out of the business than to continue struggling with it.

Typical reasonable boilerplate corporate logic. However, this next bit, which was all I was interested in jumped out at me;

Do you know what’s going to happen to those licenses?

Lee: We’ve actually had interest from a couple of other creative studios that were interested in taking over the role on a couple of books. We’re talking to them. Right now I assume they’re going to revert back to the publishers and they’ll figure it out. I think Dark Horse had expressed interest…

There are some incomplete runs.

Lee: Exactly.

If true, this could be a boon for many bloggers who've lamented the loss of certain properties and unfinished Mangas, such as Apothecarius Argentum, From Eroica with Love and Swan. Not to mention that other recently translated properties could find a second life if transferred to another company with better brand name than CMX.

Of course, some CMX Mangas are easier to find in the bargain bin than the shelves, some properties may be less likely to be saved, especially if they're still in circulation. My guess is they're going to wait until the majority of a title is no longer available when they'll rush in to fill the void.

First there’s the titles that were announced, but never released:

51 Ways to Save Her
Shisso Holiday
Deka Kyoshi
Nadeshiko Club
Phantom Guesthouse
Polyphonica Cardinal: Crimson
Tableau Gate

Then there’s the titles that were aborted as soon as they hit the ground:

Diamond Girl
My Darling! Miss Bancho
Stolen Hearts

In fact, it’d be easier to list the titles that haven’t been completed, so companies can take notice of what’s missing, and which novices have likely avoided. (The knowledgeable customer’s not going to pick up a series that’s missing the last few volumes)

From Eroica With Love - 15 out of 19 (36+)
Swan - 15 out of 21

Apothecarius Argentum - 8 out of 11??
Broken Blade - 4 out of 9
Fire Investigator Nanase - 5 out of 7
Go Go Heaven - 9 out of 16
I Hate You More Than Anyone - 9 out of 13
Musashi #9 - 17 out of 20
Orfina - 7 out of 12
Seimaden - 10 out of 11
Teru Teru x Shonen - 7 out of 11
Two Flowers for the Dragon - 6 out of 7
Venus in Love - 8 out of 12
The Young Magician - 14 out of 15??

So far, the one license that Dark Horse seems most likely to pick up that would fit their overall Manga line would be Musashi #9 or 51 Ways to Save Her.


  1. Oh, sweet news. I'll keep my fingers crossed. I just ordered the first volume of Swan because several reviews convinced me it was a must read, and I was already resigned to buying an incomplete series. Hopefully it will continue!

    51 Ways to Save Her seems like a very Dark Horse type of series, so I wouldn't be surprised if they release that one.

  2. Heeyyyyy... as a knowledgeable consumer (with perhaps a less common perspective than many readers), I'm not too bothered by picking up an incomplete series or two, although I'd agree it makes sense to at least know what you're getting into. Actually, I picked up Diamond Girl in a fit of rebelliousness, knowing it was probably the only volume I'd ever get to read (on the positive side, it's not much of a commitment since I wasn't exactly picking up an ongoing series). I had read a bit of Eroica and Swan before the announcement, but only started really collecting them after CMX was closed. Plus, so many of the longer-running series that didn't finish are still soooooooo good. Even though I continue to deeply mourn the loss of some favourite titles, I'm glad I could read what I did of them, rather than to have remained ignorant. "I Hate You More Than Anyone" introduced me to Banri Hidaka's fantastic work, and I am so very happy for that.

    But I guess a normal person, hoping for a license rescue, might find it wise to wait and see what happens instead of buying up the CMX releases...

    For most of the CMX titles I read or hoped to read, I think Tokyopop would be the best match (cute Hakusensha-shoujo). Not so sure about the retro Eroica or Swan, though. Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts and bringing these bits of the interview to our attention!! I don't have much interest in reading the rest of the original article either. Grrrr, DC...

  3. Seimaden was only 10 volumes long and was completed by CMX.