Comixology.com, the internet's biggest retail outlet for American digital comics, has locked a deal with one of Japan's biggest comics publishers and the country's longest-running manga anthology magazine.
Yesterday, the Amazon-owned digital comics service announced that through its existing partnership with Viz Media it will be bringing Weekly Shonen Jump — one of Japan's longest-running manga anthologies — to English-speaking readers on the same day it goes to print in Japan. The ongoing series currently published through Weekly Shonen Jump include such titles as Bleach, One Piece and My Hero Academia.
Today, Comixology reveals a new partnership with manga publisher Kodansha — the company behind Sailor Moon, Akira, Attack on Titan and many other manga hits past and present — which will immediately add more than 350 Kodansha titles to Comixology's library, with more to come.
While Sailor Moon and Katsuhiro Otomo's incredibly influential Akira are not included in those initial 350 titles, readers will be able to find 10 volumes of Mushishi, 49 volumes of Fairy Tail and 16 volumes of Attack on Titan, as well as a healthy helping of its spinoffs. New releases will hit Comixology the same day as print.
"Kodansha is a publisher that Comixology fans have been clamoring to read on our platform," said Comixology co-founder and CEO David Steinberger. "I'm a huge fan of Attack on Titan and can't wait to gift the first volume to friends and family and have them experience this great series on our platform for the first time!"
When we talk about the "mainstream" comics market in the United States, we're usually talking about the properties of the Big Two, DC and Marvel Comics, and a selection of smaller publishers who likewise focus on science fiction and fantasy stories, some of which are set in interconnected universes. What this framework often ignores is readers' often much larger appetite for independent comics and manga.
In an increasingly digitally distributed comics market, those old walls are breaking down. Where once readers might find their manga most easily in a book store and their monthly issues most easily in a comic shop, a single digital outlet for thousands of titles from around the world is something the industry hasn't really seen before.