Stu Levy - Business - Tokyopop

Tokyopop

Stu Levy founded Tokyopop in 1997. The company has offices in Los Angeles, California; Tokyo, Japan; Hamburg, Germany; and London, United Kingdom, as well as distribution and licensing arrangements with over 40 countries worldwide.

Tokyopop's first manga graphic novel release was Sailor Moon. Tokyopop engineered prominent book distribution via retail stores, standardized book trim size, created a basic industry-wide rating system, developed the first-ever retail manga displays and introduced the world of graphic novels to a previously untapped audience—teenage girls. In 2002, Tokyopop launched its line of 100% Authentic Manga (printed right-to-left). Tokyopop launched their Global Manga publishing program in 2003 via the introduction of its "Rising Stars of Manga" talent competition.

Tokyopop helped to pioneer the Cine-Manga format, a blend of cinematic properties and sequential art that uses imagery from movies and television series. Levy secured licenses to publish Cine-Manga with major entertainment brands including Disney, Nickelodeon, DreamWorks, Paramount, Universal, and the NBA.

In 2006, the company launched an international line of teen fiction and began syndicating manga to U.S. newspapers and teen fashion magazine CosmoGIRL!. That same year, Tokyopop entered into a publishing agreement with HarperCollins Publishing to distribute Tokyopop manga and to co-publish squential art based on HarperCollins' top youth novels.

Levy also expanded Tokyopop's property reach beyond publishing into television series and DVD distribution, with many of its shows broadcast in the United States on Cartoon Network, Showtime and G4techTV and released on DVD.

In 2007, Levy formed Tokyopop Media to focus on digital, film and television adaptations of Tokyopop's licensed manga content. Tokyopop Media chose William Morris to represent Tokyopop and Levy as writer, director, and producer of entertainment content. Under Levy's guidance, Tokyopop Media began producing a number of animated web shows based on Tokyopop properties including I Luv Halloween, by Ben Roman and Keith Giffen; Bizenghast, by M. Alice LeGrow; Riding Shotgun, by Nate Bowden and Tracy Yardley, and A Midnight Opera, by Hans Steinbach, which were launched in conjunction with MySpace.

In 2008, Tokyopop announced a major restructuring that will create two separate divisions—the Tokyopop Inc. publishing unit and Tokyopop Media, a digital and comics-to-films unit—under the Tokyopop Group’s holding company. The moves will result in the layoffs of about 79 Tokyopop staffers.

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