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TOKYOPOP to Shutdown in May

World of Warcraft: Shaman Tokyopop

World of Warcraft: Shaman TokyopopTOKYOPOP CEO Stu Levy announced the US Division located in Los Angeles, CA will shutdown this upcoming May 31, 2011.

Stu Levy wrote a farewell note recapping fourteen years of history. One can feel his love for manga and the japanese culture, a second home to him. Barely a few weeks ago, Stu Levy posted images of his trip to Japan where he helped a community sheltered in a school after the earthquake and tsunami disaster.

It was a great experience for Levy to interact and give so much to the culture that inspired him to found TOKYOPOP prior to shutting down. Live long and prosper.

A few months ago, many employees were laid off including the World of Warcraft manga Editor Troy Lewter and Hope Donovan. The staff was reduced down to only six employees.

It’s a sad day for millions of Blizzard fans who enjoyed many awesome stories which spawned tie-in characters and plots in the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty single player campaign, and World of Warcraft expansions: Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King.

In October 2010, TOKYOPOP and Blizzard Entertainment were proud to learn the World of Warcraft: Shaman manga by Paul Benjamin hit the New York Times Bestselling Manga List.

TOKYOPOP published several manga inspired in the StarCraft and Warcraft universes after signing a three-year contract with Blizzard Entertainment. Click the links to order them while supplies last. Now that TOKYOPOP is shutting down, thousands of fans will rush to catch up to gather the manga collections.

Below are the links to all the StarCraft and Warcraft manga, followed by Stu Levy’s farewell message.

Warcraft Legends Series

World of Warcraft Classes Series

Warcraft: The Sunwell Saga

StarCraft: Frontline Series

StarCraft: Ghost Academy Series

    “Dear TOKYOPOP Community:

    Way back in 1997, we set out to bring a little-known form of Japanese entertainment to American shores. I originally named our little company “Mixx”, meaning a mix of entertainment, mix of media, and mix of cultures. My dream was to build a bridge between Japan and America, through the incredible stories I discovered as a student in Tokyo.

    Starting with just four titles — Parasyte, Ice Blade, Magic Knight Rayearth, and, of course, Sailor Moon — we launched MixxZine, aspiring to introduce comics to girls. These four series laid down the cornerstone for what would eventually become TOKYOPOP and the Manga Revolution.

    Over the years, I’ve explored many variations of manga culture – “OEL” manga, “Cine-Manga”, children’s books we called “Manga Chapters”, the Gothic-Lolita Bible, Korean manwha (which we still called “manga” at the time), video game soundtracks, live-action films and documentaries, anime, and various merchandise. Some of it worked, some of it didn’t – but the most enjoyable part of this journey has been the opportunity to work with some of the most talented and creative people I’ve ever met.

    Many of you also allowed me the indulgence to not only produce works but also to take a swing at creating some of my own. I’ve learned that it’s much easier to criticize others than it is to create from scratch – but in doing so, I’ve also in the process learned how to better communicate with creators.

    Fourteen years later, I’m laying down my guns. Together, our community has fought the good fight, and, as a result, the Manga Revolution has been won –manga has become a ubiquitous part of global pop culture. I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished – and the incredible group of passionate fans we’ve served along the way (my fellow revolutionaries!).

    For many years Japan has been my second home, and I have devoted much of my career to bringing my love for Japan to the world – and hopefully in my own way, I can give back to the culture that has given me so much joy.

    In closing, I simply want to thank all of you – our incredibly talented creators from all over the world, our patient and supportive business partners and customers, our amazingly dedicated TOKYOPOP team – full-timers, part-timers, freelancers and interns, and of course the greatest fans in the entire world. Together, we’ve succeeded in bringing manga to North America and beyond.

    Arigatougozaimasu!!

    Stu Levy

    Founder, TOKYOPOP”

Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003 posting news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Next-Gen MMO, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers.

I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for Diablofans.com (formerly Diablo3.com)

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