Editor's Blog

Former Executive VP of VIZ, The Legendary Hyoe’s History of Manga in North America

Chapter 2: Hyoe’s Strategy, The First Major Awareness Campaign in North America

Last time, I described being met with various surprises when I arrived in the United States.

To quickly sum up the situation: manga wasn’t selling, it was expensive, and distribution was weird.

My secret plan I concocted to break out of this situation was to launch a manga magazine in North America. This is the cover of the first issue.

Pulp magazine
Source: Wikipedia

Now, some people might be thinking “What? Isn’t that such an obvious approach?” But in reality, although there were various magazines and even a few volumes of manga in North America, there were surprisingly no manga magazines. To be completely honest, there was one magazine called MANGA VIZION, but it was nearly dead, so I’m going to consider PULP as the first bona fide manga magazine in North America.

The title PULP has the connotation of “an inexpensive magazine using low-quality paper ” and was decided after consulting with the American staff members. I explained to everybody that manga should be a form of entertainment offered at a reasonable price. One of the staff members suggested, “What about PULP?” It fit the image I had in my mind to a T. It was an immediate yes. I proceeded to explain, consult, and negotiate with the higher-ups in Japan, and became the first Editor-in-Chief.

The magazine included about six to seven holy grail seinen manga at the time that were serialized in my old home Big Comic Spirits and Weekly Young Sunday such as Dance till Tomorrow, Black and White (the title was later changed to Tekkonkinkreet, a change for the worse in my opinion), and Heartbroken Angels. The magazine was also interspersed with “column pages.”

In short, I believed that manga wasn’t becoming popular because there were no manga magazines. If there were to exist a top-notch manga magazine, manga would become more widespread! And with my strong conviction, I took the know-how of Japanese manga magazines. After that, I also launched the North American version of SHONEN JUMP and became its first Editor-in-Chief as well. So, many people often say that Hyoe = SHONEN JUMP (North America) Founder, but I actually made PULP (and other magazines) before it all.

And so PULP was launched in North America in the winter of 1997.

By the way, one of the columns published in PULP was called “Can’t Asleep Japanese Manga Editor” written by Hyoe. So if I think about it, the last time I wrote something for an English-speaking audience like this was 25 years ago (it’s been a quarter of a century). 

…Oh, um… I reached the word limit without getting into the main topic. Sorry.

“Nope! [The topic of PULP] It’s not over yet!” (Kame-Sen’nin (The “Turtle Hermit”)’s words in the last panel of Dragon Ball Volume 16)

 

Next time… Chapter 3: The Anguish of PULP, North America’s First Seinen Manga Magazine

 

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