After handily meeting their initial Kickstarter goal of $20,500 to publish a full-color edition of Osamu Tezuka's kid-friendly comic series, Unico, and their first stretch goal of $26,000 to publish AtomCat, Digital Manga Publishing's second stretch goal pushed the goalposts just a bit farther than ever before. This time, they asked manga fans to chip in an additional $21,000 to publish yet another Tezuka title, Triton of the Sea.
Up until the last hours of their Kickstarter, when DMP was several thousand dollars short of their $47,000 stretch goal, many wondered if this goal was almost too ambitious. Even DMP told fans that if this Kickstarter failed to meet its $47,000 stretch goal, any funds raised over the $26,000 AtomCat stretch goal would go toward publishing Triton, with the difference would be made up with a future Kickstarter campaign.
But in literally the last hours of the fundraising campaign, Tezuka fans came through in a big way. By the time all was said and done, thanks to 715 supporters from all over the world, DMP not only made their $47,000 goal to publish Triton, they made an additional $2,411 that pushed them way over the top to their final total take, $49,411, which is probably a new record for manga-centric Kickstarter campaigns in North America.
OSAMU TEZUKA'S HIGH SEAS ADVENTURE TALE: TRITON OF THE SEA
Originally published as a four-volume series in Japan, DMP Platinum's edition of Triton of the Sea will be presented as two double-sized volumes of over 400+ pages each. Triton Volume 1 will be published in June 2013, while Volume 2 will be available in August 2013.
As Digital Manga describes this action-adventure fantasy series, Triton is "a coming-of-age tale set again the background of an epic adventure."
"In Volume 1, a baby is found abandoned by the sea, bringing in his wake a terrible tsunami. As he grows up in urban Tokyo, he discovers his true identity: Triton, the last survivor of the destruction of Atlantis by the god Poseidon. With his dolphin Luka by his side, Triton sets off on a journey to discover the truth behind his origins, and avenge his family."
"Eventually, in Volume 2, Triton starts a family of his own, but he doesn't have time to enjoy domestic bliss. A final battle is brewing between the god of the sea and the prince of the mermen. Meanwhile, Triton's people face the specter of extinction at the hands of human hunters."
Also known as Umi no Toriton, Triton of the Sea was originally serialized between 1969 - 1971. It was also adapted as an animated series for Japanese TV in 1972, directed and scripted by Yoshiyuki Tomino, who would later go on to direct the first installments in the Mobile Suit Gundam anime franchise.
You can find out more about Triton of the Sea by checking out the backgrounder on the Tezuka in English website. You can also get a taste of Triton by checking out over 10 preview pages posted by DMP on their Kickstarter page.
DMP HITS A FEW SPEED-BUMPS ON THE ROAD TO KICKSTARTER SUCCESS
While Digital Manga succeeded in reaching (and exceeding!) their Kickstarter goal, they had their share of speed-bumps to endure along the way. For one thing, after Triton was added to the mix, there was a fair amount of confusion about the rewards levels. Eventually, DMP had to post a color-coded chart explaining which books and what kind of extra goodies supporters would receive when they chipped in different amounts.
Next, they had to deal with some grumbling from the blogosphere about whether 'real' publishers use Kickstarter to fund their books. Ben Applegate, manager of DMP's three Kickstarter campaigns answered many questions via Twitter, and responded to DMP's critics in a lively episode of the Manga Out Loud podcast.
On top of all that, in the week prior to the end of the Unico/AtomCat/Triton Kickstarter, Applegate announced that he would be leaving Digital Manga to take a new job as editor at Kodansha Comics in New York City. Applegate promised to continue his work as translator for all three Tezuka books, which is a big relief, but this change, in addition to DMP being short almost $10K of their goal in the last week before the end of the campaign made more than a few Kickstarter watchers wonder if DMP's funding goal for Triton would be met.
Thankfully, all's well that ends well for now, as Tezuka fans all over the world can now look forward to getting a new edition of Unico in December 2012, followed by AtomCat in March 2013, and two volumes of Triton in June and August 2013, respectively.
Can't wait to get your fix of new Tezuka tales? Check out the results of DMP's first two Tezuka Kickstarter campaigns: the recently reprinted edition of Swallowing the Earth, and the new/coming soon edition of Barbara, two very different, very grown-up tales of flawed but fascinating women, all-too-human goddesses and the men who love them.
Did you chip in for the Unico/AtomCat/Triton Kickstarter? What did you think of this campaign to get more Tezuka manga published via crowd-sourced funding? Add your comments below!
Image credits: © Tezuka Productions, © Digital Manga Inc.