Most of my time spent this past weekend at the Jacob Javitts Center consisted of hanging out with various people; I didn't go (or want to go) to very many of the organized events. Nevertheless, here's my report (which is mostly about hanging out with people ^^; ). Enjoy!
Yuri guru Erica Friedman could be found at DramaQueen's table gamely hawking Yuri Monogatari Vols. 3-5 and offering unsolicited instruction in common courtesy to hapless young otaku. Though most of our conversation was not industry-related, she mentioned gearing up to go to Winter Comiket in a few weeks and that ALC will be electronically reprinting the first volume of Yuri Monogatari (which had a very limited print run).
After three-odd years of writing for this magazine, I at last got the chance to meet the current editors Summer Mullins, Todd Ciolek, and Angela Hanson in person. Now, the editor with whom I currently work is not the editor who first hired me, and the only way we have ever communicated is via email. So suffice to say that I was not in the least surprised when, after introducing myself, one of them gasped, "I thought you were a dude!" Even "my" editor hedged a bit when I asked if they'd known. They shouldn't think that I hold it against them, though; I have one of those gender-ambiguous first names, and I'd often wondered. (And given the way that the world prefers men--even on paper--this might not be a bad thing.) In any case, I manned the AI booth for an hour on Saturday while they were busy giving their panel, so if you went by and saw an Asian female in a blue sweater sitting there, that was me.
CENTRAL PARK MEDIA
To the surprise of many, CPM was present and accounted for at NYAF, there to give an account of the ongoing dispute between BeBeautiful and Libre. The short version: Both sides are stubborn, and neither side is willing to be the first to blink. My main interaction with them, however, was at the exhibition hall, where I was looking for the cheap purchase that would net me a much-needed large shopping bag, and they were offloading their books (especially their manhwa) at fire sale prices. (They may have actually been giving their books away by Sunday's end, but I'm not sure.) In any case, after standing there awhile, pondering the selection, and asking them if they had titles that (as it turned out) they did not have, the poor CPM people were visibly terrified that I was going to walk (which was not the case--I needed a bag, dammit). So I was offered an autographed, hardcover edition of Asamiya Kia's Dark Angel plus any other book of my choice for $5. I chose Couple Vol. 1. This was the only purchase I made the entire weekend.
DEL REY MANGA
At least they gave off less of a "walked straight off the Matrix" impression at NYAF than they did at MangaNEXT. This was most likely in part because Dallas Middaugh was present and accounted for, and he has not yet perfected his Agent Smith impersonation. (For the record, this is not to his discredit.) Notable Del Rey-related events included a panel with Ota Kasushi, Faust editor. Ota repeatedly expressed a desire for cute girls (as readers, employees, and creators), so cute girls, take note! ^^; In other news, Del Rey announced a partnership with Marvel Comics to produce X-Men: The Manga and Wolverine: The Manga for 2009. The former is to be a "shoujo" manga...and Magneto was looking especially dishy. ^^;; The latter is to be "shounen." Whadda joke. There is a very good chance that this will piss off everyone and go down like a sack of bricks in the Hudson. Oh, and for those of you who have been dying to know if Sailor Moon will ever be republished in the US, the answer is most likely NO. Takeuchi Naoko "isn't interested at this time"...I encourage you to read inbetween the lines.
Unfortunately, I didn't really make it to either of DramaQueen's panels this weekend, so you'll have to look elsewhere for any specific announcements that they may have made. Although I arrived just in time to the tail-end of their second panel to answer one of Ed's trivia questions and win Vols. 1 and 2 of Audition. ^^; But I did hang out with Tran at their booth, where their beautiful BL manga, sunjeong manhwa, and manhua appeared to be selling briskly. I met DramaQueen for the first time at Onnafest, and it's been a pleasure to see the company succeed and expand in the years since then.
I spent a lot of time chatting with the delightful Lime Manga (Mary Hildebrandt and David Boller) about manga and life. (Wait, manga and life are separate things? XD ) They had copies of the TOKYOPOP Germany editions of Evergrey and Yaru, which they plan to publish independently in English for 2008. They also had several doujinshi for sale, including two books available at MangaNEXT last year and two new diary volumes based upon their original series first posted to Livejournal. (So Yaru takes place in Oldwick, NJ? Really? ^^; )
On Sunday morning, I caught up with Frank Pannone, who is super-excited about their upcoming release of the manga that they have retitled Fujoshi Rumi, a hilarious tale--and one long in-joke--about the life and times of a female otaku (and yaoi fangirl). He showed me some proofs...and the six pages of footnotes. Frank also generously (re)introduced me to Zac Bertschy of Anime News Network, who first hired me as a freelance writer back when he was with Anime Insider.
I should note that some stupid shmuck involved with the layout of the exhibition hall located the two magazines present directly across the aisle from each other--much to the ire of both, needless to say. I'm pleased to report that the February 2008 issue of Otaku USA is out, and my 2000-word BL article, which they have titled "Flower Sounds and Beautiful Boys," is present and accounted for...though on hold is the interview it was supposed to accompany. Random aside: Patrick Macias bears a remarkable resemblance to Javier Bardem...
I didn't catch much in the way of events that TOKYOPOP organized throughout the weekend, alas. However, the publisher's impressive, oversized booth and Maid Cafe (which I sincerely hope does not signal future directions for the company) were among the first things attendees were likely to see upon entry into the exhibition hall. Its main flaw involved locating the information desk directly in front of a speaker that blared announcements and advertisements non-stop. Still, I managed to shoot the breeze there throughout the weekend and over dinner on Friday with various employees. I say "shoot the breeze" because I don't think any of our conversations really bear repeating, actually. >_< Still, meeting Senior Editor Lillian Diaz-Przybyl was definitely a highlight of the festival, and it was a pleasure to finally hang out with her in person after chatting away for years online. By the way, for those of you who were wondering this past weekend, word on the street is that Stu Levy's hair is real. ^_^;
At their panel, Yen Press announced a large number of new properties, which, barring three BL titles by Hoshino Lily, appeared to be predominantly of the bishoujo and moé genres. They also plan to begin publication of a manga magazine, slated to include Svetlana Chmakova's Nightschool. Yen's newly-minted Assistant Editor got a good laugh from the audience for professing to want to promote both their tearjerker title With the Light and their *ahem* jerk off title Sundome with little packs of tissues--since, presumably, you'll need tissues for both. Her mortified coworkers had already shot down that notion...but I think it's a great idea. Promotional schemes don't have to be tasteful, but they do have to be memorable--and boy would tissue packs be memorable! (Fight for your convictions, Tania!) Anyway, the Yen Press crew is down-to-earth and funny, though they boast a perhaps self-destructive passion for karaoke. A certain TOKYOPOP Senior Editor thinks that they ought to sponsor a karaoke box, which would be sure to impress the socks off of any visiting Japanese and/or Korean publishers. And I think that's another great idea.