Tokyopop returns from the grave with <i>Hetalia: Axis Powers</i>

More than a year after Tokyopop pulled the plug on its publishing division, the one-time manga giant is returning from the dead to release the first three volumes of Hidekazu Himaruya's popular series Hetalia: Axis Powers through an arrangement with distributor Right Stuf and Japanese publisher Gentosha Comics.

This will mark the first time the third volume has been published in English; production had just been completed on the book when Tokyopop shut down its North American operations.

"The North American publishing market has been changing rapidly, and I am proud to partner with Right Stuf and Gentosha Comics to finally bring the long-awaited latest volume of Hetalia to our fans," Tokyopop founder Stu Levy said in a statement. "Thanks to everyone for your patience!”

The return of Hetalia doesn't come as a total surprise, as Levy began teasing the possibility in September, saying that the series could be released through limited channels. It was even suggested last night on the Tokyopop Twitter account that similar arrangements may be made with other titles. ("But no promises yet!")

Reprints of the first two volumes will be available immediately on the Right Stuf website for $15.99 each (they originally sold for $10.99). The third volume will be released in late June, also with a $15.99 cover price; however, fans who pre-order can get theirs for $10.99 for a limited time.

Hetalia: Axis Powers debuted as a Japanese webcomic personifying the countries of the Axis and Allies of World War II as cute boys in spiffy military uniforms. The original comic, and subsequent manga and anime, use satire and lighthearted comedy to reinterpret historical events and poke fun of cultural stereotypes.

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