I wanted to add a separate links section with these, but for some reason I wasn’t able to. This is mostly for my benefit when I’m cruising around looking for new releases. I decided that I couldn’t live without a list of them this week, and since I have to do this in a page format, you get light commentary too. I ranked them roughly by volume published, though I may have skewed things towards the bottom.
Viz – Largest and one of the oldest English-language manga publishers, they release many, many volumes a month. They’re partnered with a couple large Japanese publishers, and publish many of the most popular shounen (boys) and shoujo (girls) manga in English. In addition to a massive back catalog, current popular series include Vampire Night, Naruto, One Piece, Skip Beat, Nana, Otomen, Inu-Yasha, and Ouran High School Host Club. They publish the English edition of Shonen Jump, currently the only print manga anthology in English, and they also have digital versions of Shounen Sunday and Ikki. Their catalog is heavily focused on general mass appeal shounen and shoujo, but they’re also one of the few publishers of what might be called “underground” adult-oriented manga, with their Ikki and Signature lines.
Tokyopop – Second largest publisher, and also the ones that started the whole direct-to-graphic novel thing. They used to have a huge catalog with dozens of volumes published a month, but recently they’ve shifted to a solid list of wonderful mid-range titles. Monthly output is around 10 volumes. Flagship titles include Fruits Basket, Gakuen Alice, Battle Royale, and Maid-sama. In the past, they published quite a few of CLAMP’s series in English as well as Sailor Moon and Paradise Kiss. They have a catalog heavy in shoujo and shounen currently, but in the past they also published an impressive number of wonderful josei (women’s) titles, many solid Korean manhwa series, and a handful of really extreme and entertaining seinen titles.
Dark Horse – One of the oldest publishers of manga in English along with Viz. The company’s focus isn’t manga-centric, so their monthly output is only a couple volumes. Their output has slowed down in recent years, and they’re unfortunately not shy about cancelling titles that don’t perform well. They do publish the longest-running manga in English, Oh My Goddess, and are home to a number of very popular titles, including Blade of the Immortal, Berserk, Hellsing, Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, and Trigun. They specialize in seinen manga.
Del Rey – On a death watch, Del Rey was recently taken over by Japanese publisher Kodansha and will continue publishing a handful of their most popular titles until the licenses expire within the next year or two, with many titles getting transferred over to Kodansha USA. Well-established as an English publisher, at the height of their production, they published around 10 volumes a month. The number slowed to a trickle and many less popular series were cancelled just before the Kodansha merger. They have a number of titles in the shoujo and shounen categories, and even a handful of seinen (Me and the Devil Blues, Parasyte) and a little josei (Nodame Catabile). They also publish the current and very popular CLAMP titles Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle and XxXholic. Other favorites of mine include Guru Guru Pon-chan, Gakuen Prince, the fiction anthology Faust, Moyasimon, and My Heavenly Hockey Club.
Digital Manga Publishing – This is the main publisher, but the bulk of their material appears under their various BL (or boys’ love) imprints. They publish very few titles themselves, though generally the titles are odd but wonderful choices when they do appear. They don’t seem to have a focus or type of series they prefer, and the strange variety of titles they’ve published only gets more odd every year. When first launched, they released a number of volumes monthly, but currently their annual output is about a dozen volumes. Titles in the past have included Flower of Life and Antique Bakery (both by Fumi Yoshinaga), Heroes are Extinct, Knights, and Itazura na Kiss.
Juné – One of the above-mentioned Boy’s Love imprints of DMP. At this point, the largest and oldest purveyor of BL (boys’ love) series in English. They’ve got a huge back catalog, and publish around a half dozen books a month. Their series tend to be more romantic than hardcore. They’ve got a wide range of popular titles, including Yellow, Kizuna, Finder Series, Kabuki, and more one-shot books than I can count. They also have a surprisingly fun BL novel line. Try Lonely Egoist.
Kodansha USA – The large Japanese publisher makes a move to US shores. They debuted a year or two ago with reprints of Akira and Ghost in the Shell that… well, were exactly what Dark Horse released years ago. They recently announced the takeover of Del Rey, and will be picking up several of their series, along with new titles, this summer. I’m looking forward to the reprint of Until the Full Moon.
Netcomics – The largest publisher of Korean Manhwa in English (though the title might be a draw with Yen Press currently), they have a number of long and very classic Korean series under their belt as well as a smattering of Japanese series. Much of their content is digital-only, but cheap and worth reading on their website. Most of what they publish is the Korean equivalent of shoujo, but they also have some of the only shounen-esque Korean series in English, and a few for women as well. They used to publish a few chapters a day, five days a week on their website and a few volumes a month, but recently they’ve grown very… quiet. Support them, because they have a number of wonderful titles. Try Let Dai, Totally Captivated, Click, Let’s Be Perverts, Adventures of Young Det, and 10, 20, and 30.
DramaQueen – A publisher who is just barely holding on to life, they went underground for a couple years and emerged last year with a few new volumes. They publish primarily BL series, but also have a few excellent Korean shoujo-esque series. DVD, Audition, and The Summit are not to be missed, and they promise that Peter Panda is coming soon. They’ve also published the BL one-shots Empty Heart and Lies and Kisses by Masara Minase. Their books are quite beautiful.
Blu – The BL branch of Tokyopop, the two really are very thinly affiliated. Blu publishes a handful of volumes a year. They’ve got some fairly high profile series mixed in with other good titles, which makes for a strong catalog. They publish more long BL series than anyone else, including Love Mode, Junjo Romantica, Earthian, Love Pistols, Black Knight, and the Takumi-kun series, and a good number of one-shots as well.
Seven Seas Entertainment – This is a small publisher that also does OEL, they’ve had their growth spurts and downsizing over the years and have stuck around where many other small publishers folded. Many of their series are more otaku-centric, but they have a good variety, including genuinely funny comedy series and a couple legit yuri (girls’ love) series. I love that they tend to release omnibus editions that compile out-of-print volumes. They do all things Boogiepop and have a few other series of note, including Kashimashi, Gunslinger Girl, Dance in the Vampire Bund, and Hayate x Blade.
801 Media – Another BL imprint of DMP, this one is smaller and focuses on sex-heavy titles. Their releases are not very frequent, but they’ve released a handful of great one-shots over the years. I recommend Maniac Shorts Shot, possibly the only BL book in English about novelty underwear.
DokiDoki Books – The third and newest BL imprint of DMP, this one focuses more on romantic hand-holding-type series. Light romances, I suppose, and some even verge off the BL path. The vast majority of what they have now is penned by Taishi Zaou/Mikiyo Tsuda and friend Eiki Eiki. There are also a few novels thrown into the lineup for good measure.
Fanfare – This is the English language branch of Ponent Mon. They do high quality, if not very frequent, releases… maybe a few volumes a year. Their titles are all fairly literary. They also tend to be hard to find. Jiro Taniguchi is their artist of choice, and you can read several of his series, including Walking Man, Summit of the Gods, and Quest for the Missing Girl.
Vertical – This is an awesome publisher who does a handful of volumes a year. They specialize in classic manga with a focus in Osamu Tezuka, but have recently branched out into oddball fan-favorite titles like Chi’s Sweet Home and Peepo Choo. Their gigantic Tezuka compilations are definitely worth checking out. Go for Ode To Kirihito or MW.
Yen Press – Currently one of the largest publishers of English-language manga, and the newest of the big companies. They publish a digital anthology called Yen Plus, and have license rescued several series including the entire catalog of ICE Kunion manhwa and fan favorite Yotsuba&! Their catalog is definitely very teen-centric, and includes some OEL content based on popular YA properties. Popular series include Black Butler, Haruhi Suzumiya, K-ON!, and Higurashi. I would also suggest checking out their Korean girls’ comics like Pig Bride, You’re So Cool, One Thousand and One Nights, 13th Boy, and Goong.
Icarus Comics – Your honest purveyors of porn since 2002. They, uh… haven’t been doing so well lately. Their former anthology, the long-running Comics A-G, is no longer being published, and the website hasn’t been updated in a long time. I’ll leave the link here for now, because the website is entertaining, but I do hope to see a comeback.
Fantagraphics – Fantagraphics does mostly things that are not manga (including The Comics Journal), but they do have a few eromanga series, including Silky Whip by Oh! great. Recently, they announced a line for classic shoujo manga that launched with A Drunken Dream and Other Stories by Moto Hagio. Things are looking good for Fantagraphics.
Last Gasp – I’ll just sneak these guys in right here. They only have a few series, but when Last Gasp sees fit to publish a manga, it’s almost always worth checking out. You have them to thank for Barefoot Gen and the oddball Hideshi Hino artbook that came out a year or so ago, and… uh, did you know that there was a movie made of Tokyo Zombie starring Tadanobu Asano with an appearance by Kazuo Umezu? I, uh… have to go do something else right now. Yeah, Last Gasp published that manga. It’s pretty rad.
Drawn and Quarterly – They’re more of an indy comics publisher (and also do some really nice historic compilations and facsimile editions), but they also publish some Yoshihiro Tatsumi stuff and other “gekiga” (or historic underground) manga. The volumes are always high quality, and appear once or twice a year. A Drifting Life is an absolute must-read pseudo-biography of the history of manga and a mangaka that happened to be in the right place at the right time.
Picture Box – They recently published a couple volumes of “underground” manga. If anything is an underground manga, it’s certainly Monster Men Bureiko Lullaby, which features more profanity per page than you would believe. Anyway. Picture Box also published “Travel” by Yuichi Yokoyama.
Kitty Media – Once an imprint, this is now the only functioning manga publisher at Media Blasters. They are on death watch as well, as they seem to only publish a couple volumes a year, and… not so much last year. They do publish some of the more “hard” BL titles in English, and have a varied selection of one-shot books, including Crimson Spell, Sense and Sexuality, Gay’s Anatomy, and Poison Cherry Drive.
Udon Entertainment – They launched with a strong manhwa lineup, including both girls’ and boys’ comics, but scaled back after the first wave. Mostly they publish non-manhwa focused artbooks and game books, and a few game-centric manga series on occasion. They also publish a wonderful line of manga for young children, a category that is sorely in need of expansion.
ALC Publishing – The only yuri-centric publisher in the world, they publish occasional collections called Yuri Monogatari, featuring yuri manga from all over the world. In the past, they’ve also released a couple standalone yuri volumes, such as Rica ‘tte Kanji.
Yaoi Generation – Another BL-focused publisher, they have a small catalog that consists mainly on the series Breath, by Chifumi Ochi. They do have nice books, so I’ll be looking forward to more from them in the future.
IDW Publishing – To my knowledge, they’ve only published one volume of manga, Reptilia by Kazuo Umezu. But since it was Kazuo Umezu, and since I liked it, I’ll just make note of them down here and hope that maybe they’ll try something else in the future, possibly Fourteen, also by Umezu. Unrelated, but I totally want those Terry and the Pirates compilations from them, too.
Top Shelf – Another publisher dedicated mostly to non-manga comics (and again, really good ones), they’ve recently started publishing the annual underground anthology AX. Check out their other stuff, but certainly check out AX too, if you have an interest in varied anthologies.
One Peace Books – A small publisher of fiction and non-fiction books, they’ve also recently released Tenken, an unusual title by Yumiko Shirai. Hopefully we’ll see more off-beat titles from them in the future.
Not Still Around, but Publishers of the Past For Reference: