Originally published in two volumes in 1968 as Tikyuwo Nomu, Swallowing The Earth was published as a single 520-page paperback edition by Digital Manga Publishing in 2009. Since then, the DMP edition has gone out of print. The current going price for the book is $60 or so (a significant mark-up from its original $24.95 cover price).
Now Digital Manga is putting out a call to Tezuka fans to help finance another trip to the printer for this early seinen manga tale by the Godfather of Manga. With a donation of as little as $30, you'll get a copy of Swallowing the Earth, plus $10 in online credit at DMP's eManga online manga shop. With a donation of $45 or more, you'll also get your choice of two volumes of manga from DMP's list on their Kickstarter page (including choices like Itazura na Kiss, Flower of Life and Countdown 7 Days). Pledge $125 or more, and you'll get even more exclusive extras, like a copy of Vampire Hunter D, autographed by author Hideyuki Kikuchi.
DMP's Kickstarter campaign is hoping to raise at least $3,950 before December 11, 2011. If they reach their goal before the deadline, everyone who pledges are promised to get their rewards by February 2o12. If the goal is missed, then the project will not be funded.
Many comics creators have successfully used Kickstarter to fund their self-publishing projects, but this is the first time that an established manga publishing company has opted to use this online fundraising site to raise monies to reprint a title.
According to their Kickstarter page, DMP explained their rationale this way:
"Fans are constantly asking us to print more of the book, but simply put, we're a small company, this is an expensive book and we can't afford to put up the cash for another print run. Because we love this book so much and we want Tezuka to be around in English for everyone to enjoy, we are hoping to raise funds for another printing of this important book through Kickstarter instead."
"We're here because we believe Kickstarter can be a new way to fund niche manga titles in the United States. If this campaign is successful, you WILL see more, including premium editions of other older books and even new titles that would NEVER make it over to the U.S. without fan support."
So what is Swallowing the Earth all about? Here's the plot summary from DMP:
Amidst the chaos of World War II, two Japanese soldiers hear of Zephyrus, an utterly captivating woman rumored to exist on an island in the South Pacific. The tales of this bold enchantress seducing men to their dooms are both chilling and fascinating.
Over twenty years pass, and Zephyrus resurfaces in Japan, seemingly unchanged, to wield her mysterious power over men once more. The one man immune to Zephyrus' charms is simple drunkard, Gohonmatsu Seki, son of one of the wartime soldiers. Employed to spy on Zephyrus, what will Gohonmatsu uncover about her ultimate plot to create international discord and consume the world of men? What brought this woman to conspire for decades against patriarchal society - against an entire gender - and can anything be done to stop her plans?
You can read a 25-page preview of DMP's edition of Swallowing the Earth on Tezuka en Francais.
So what do you think of DMP's move to use Kickstarter to bring back this Tezuka title? Add your comments below!
Image credits: © Tezuka Productions, © Digital Manga Inc.