Shogakukan ❤ Fantagraphics

Wandering Son Book One by Takako Shimura.
Wandering Son Book One by Takako Shimura. Fantagraphics Edition

Drunken Dream, by Moto Hagio.
 Drunken Dream, by Moto Hagio. Fantagraphics Edition

It's confirmed by Dirk Deppey and Matt Thorn: Fantagraphics has partnered with Shogakukan to publish its own line of manga titles that will be edited by Thorn, starting with the titles above. And to further whet our appetites, TCJ has posted their Thorn interview with manga legend Moto Hagio (pt 1, 2, 3, 4) online. Excellent! David Welsh has online reaction roundup. And here's the official press release.
To celebrate the launch of the new Fantagraphics manga, Moto Hagio is making her first ever visit to The United States to attend Comic-Con International 2010 as a special guest.

Awesome. That's such a great honor.

Judging from both titles, Fantagraphics manga offerings will skew closer to publishers like Vertical or Fanfare/Ponent Mon than to Viz or Tokyopop. Big surprise there. The critically acclaimed Wandering Son (Japanese: Hourou Musuko) is currently being serialized at seinen magazine Comic Beam (It was also originally scanlated by Kotonoha). The odd thing is that Comic Beam is published by Enterbrain, not Shogakukan; so the new line isn't limited to one partner. A Drunken Dream will compile several Hagio short stories, including the previously translated Hanshin.

Hanshin by Moto Hagio.
Hanshin by Moto Hagio

Follow up:

It'll be interesting to see whether the market can support yet another publisher promoting classic and/or less commercial titles. There are a number of things in Fantagraphics favor: Shogakukan's clout and immense back catalog; the knowledge and experience Matt Thorn brings to the table which will be a necessity in going through that catalog; and Dirk Deppey's unfailing support for manga - who else there has shown the same level of fanatical devotion needed to push the company in this direction, belated though it is? Drawn & Quarterly has been licensing alt-oriented manga (or gekiga if you prefer) during the last four years. But now that this is finally happening, the big question is: Has the market evolved enough for Fantagraphics to suceed in selling Moto Hagio where Viz has failed in the past?


via Tom Spurgeon is Fantagraphics rep Jacq Cohen's answer to his query on why it took four years to develop a manga line:
Good things take time. Fantagraphics likes to marinate on the books we publish. We want to make sure we hold up to to our slogan/mission/tagline/barometer, 'Publisher of the world's greatest cartoonists.' So, starting a line of manga (and I specify 'line' not an 'imprint') there was a lot of careful planning that went into what books, creators, content, etc. Also, everyone is really fucking busy around here.

Spoken like a true PR person; except for the 'f' word. I wonder if the parsing between 'imprint' and 'line' has something to do with the MangErotica subdivision of the Eros Comix imprint? Perhaps not using the imprint label signifies that the new line isn't being segregated or exiled from the company's more respectable published material. Eh, whatever.