The Beat links to an interesting discussion on TheEngine regarding the huge wave of OEL (original english language) creators (mostly new, unpublished talent) siging with rising manga publishing giant Tokyopop and the interesting contracts they're siging, that turn over a substantial percentage of rights for their properties to the publisher. It seems they're not as creator-friendly as what's to be found in comics.
Check it out HERE
After reading through the thread, it’s clear that there’s a difference in viewpoint here that’s driving a chunk of the huge debate (that features many big name talents) - the folks from a comics/small press/self-publishing draw largely from a background in comics (generally episodic or franchise driven), while the OEL creators mostly come from a manga background (which is generally finite and story driven). Therefore, the comic creators are concerned by TPops contracts and their implications on a property, while the OEL creators see their work more as a stepping stone.
I’m not really too concerned with the points of these contracts one way or the other, I can see both sides, but I do find it alarming that the OEL creators can be so dismissive of their abilities or potential at this stage, in defense of their acceptance of the terms. Sure, we all strive to continue to improve our craft (I’d hope), but my perception is that creative types often have an arc to their abilities or potential, and it’s usually earlier in their career as opposed to later when they’re at their peak. Selling ones self short out the gates seems short sighted.
Or worse, they’re openly admitting they’re not striving for something special per se, just, ya know, doing what’s required of them (and that’s perhaps simplifying what’s been said, but it’s almost what many comments from the OEL creators seem to boil down to).
All of which drives home one point that was brought up that is perhaps the most telling, in that publishing contracts of this nature almost seem to build in a cap on creativity. But then, perhaps the stories they’re telling, and the audience they’re aimed at, for the most part, don’t ask more of them.
I’ve recently noticed many exciting creators from comics joining TPop (in addition to the vast array of new creators they’re bringing in) and have been keeping an eye out for all them. I also think if successful, this venture could really do good things for the medium, and the industry here in the US, something the comic book publishers have been unable to accomplish. I know many people are unsure about this move, and whether the bookstore/mainstream market will support it, but those are the same concerns people had about manga's growth in general, so I'm hopefull.