Earlier this month Brandon Graham announced on his blog that King City, the first volume of which was published by TokyoPop, would return as an over-sized 12-issue comic series from Image Comics this August.
That first volume will be reprinted as the first six issues in the series, followed by six issues that would have made up the second volume. While it's fairly common to see comics collected into trades nowadays, King City is essentially doing the opposite -- starting as a collection and becoming a series. Not by design, of course, but it's interesting nonetheless.
Comic Book Resources spoke with Graham about the title (as well as his Oni title, Multiple Warheads). I followed up with TokyoPop and Image on the deal itself.
According to TokyoPop, this licensing deal came about because all three parties -- Graham, TokyoPop and Image -- really wanted it to happen. Image will manufacture, sell and promote the individual issues, while TokyoPop will direct the creation of the comic and retain graphic novel rights.
"Brandon has always been interested in seeing his work in the oversized format," said TokyoPop Senior Vice President Mike Kiley. "He reached out to Image, who are great fans of his work. We all then got on the phone and hammered out an agreement."
Joe Keatinge, PR and marketing coordinator for Image, credited Eric Stephenson, Image's publisher, with helping the deal to come together on the Image side.
"Brandon's been a friend of mine for a really long time, but Eric Stephenson is the one who masterfully orchestrated the deal to co-publish King City with TokyoPop and Image Comics," Keatinge said. "Without him it's very likely the series may have never seen the light of day again. Everyone here is very enthusiastic to see King City return to the stands."
The deal is specifically for King City and doesn't include any other TokyoPop books. However, both parties said they were open to discussing similar deals for other titles.
And finally, you may recall that when TokyoPop canceled several of their original English language, or OEL, books last year, they said they were planning on moving some of them to the web. That's still part of the plan and will be announced in the coming months.