In a open letter that was excerpted on the Anime News Service website, C.B. Cebulski, the founder and prime mover behind Fanboy Entertainment, announced that Fanboy is scaling back its publishing operations. Some projects will be delayed, others will be canceled, still others will be co-published or sub-licensed. Cebulski, who is one of the most knowledgeable American observers of the fields of anime and manga, provided three main reasons for his decision to back away from a very aggressive program of publishing English language manga: 'First off, I believe that the monthly manga market here (in the US) has become stagnant (I specify 'monthly' here as I do believe that manga graphic novels and special projects have a bright future ahead of them).' Monthly 32-page manga editions are a reflection of the U.S. comic market format, not Japan's, where stories do appear in installments, but in telephone book-size anthology magazines that cost just a little more than a single U.S. prestige format comic and contain up to 400 pages of comic stories. The majority of manga sales in Japan come from trade paperback collections.
Unlike the fast-growing market for anime and trade paperback manga collections, Cebulski sees the market for monthly manga comics in the U.S. limited to a finite group of fans, who simply can't afford to buy the increasing number of English language manga titles. The emergence of new publishers eager to put out more manga titles has created a bidding war for the rights to the best Japanese manga properties that Cebulski cites as his second reason for reining in his publishing program: 'Over the course of the first four months of this year, I have had three manga titles I had agreements in place for bought out from under me for ridiculous licensing fees.'
The final reason that Cebulski gave for changing the focus of Fanboy Entertainment was a desire on his part to take advantage of 'other opportunities' that will 'also serve to push manga more into the mainstream market.' Though he declined to specify what those opportunities entailed, Cebulski did provide the following list of changes and cancellations affecting the Fanboy Entertainment schedule:
Dark Angel in color will continue from Image with issue #4 shipping soon. However, subsequent issues may not appear until 2002.
The Copybook Tales Collection has moved from Fanboy to another publisher. Announcements will be made soon.
Mobius Klein has been postponed for now as Fanboy decides the best way to release it.
Spellbound has also been postponed while Fanboy evaluates its future.
Feather has been postponed. Fanboy is looking for another publisher for this title.
The Kia Asamiya Sketch Collection has been canceled.
The Silent Mobius 10th Anniversary print is shipping now.
White Rain has been delayed until July, but is coming.
Fanboy will continue to publish Sidekicks with a one-shot out in November.