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Posts with tag tokyopop

Cryptozoic interviews Micky Neilson, James Waugh

Cryptozoic Entertainment recently began digital distribution of Blizzard's manga titles, as announced last month. This month, the company interviewed two of the big names behind the manga and its development. Micky Neilson, publishing team lead for Blizzard, and James Waugh, senior story developer for Blizzard, should be familiar to those that have read the manga, comics, and various Warcraft stories available. Most recently, they teamed up to write the five-issue comic series Curse of the Worgen, a look into the background and origins of the worgen in Warcraft.

The Q&A itself delves into the behind-the-scenes of manga development; how stories are created and who develops those stories, the purpose of the manga series and how it incorporates into the overall canon lore of World of Warcraft. And for those wondering, the question of whether or not the manga series is official canon is addressed as well.

The only minor disappointment with the interview is that the future of the Blizzard manga titles isn't really addressed. Whether or not any brand new titles will be published in the future wasn't touched upon, leaving the fate of the manga as a solid question mark. Regardless, the sheer enthusiasm of Neilson and Waugh during the interview is a nice reminder that those behind the story really do cherish the properties they're working with. Check out the full interview on Cryptozoic's website.

Filed under: News items, Lore, Interviews

Are Blizzard and Tokyopop going their separate ways?

The folks over at Lorehound are reporting that Blizzard and Tokyopop are, after six years, ending their licensing agreement. This would be the agreement that has given us a great deal of lore development over the years with licensed products such as Dragons of Outland, the various class manga such as Shaman, and the Warcraft Legends series.

With no official announcement from either Blizzard or Tokyopop as of this writing, the Lorehound piece and its sources indicate that Blizzard may have pulled out of the deal due to a lack of ability to properly oversee the projects. Meanwhile, Lorehound is also reporting that the recent difficulties of the Borders bookstore chain may have caused problems for Tokyopop, with several people including Troy Lewter being downsized from the company. Troy Lewter, who was the editor of the Warcraft Legends series, was definitely important in the production of the various Blizzard licensed manga.

What this means for the average lore junkie is still up in the air, but I know if it's true, I'll definitely miss the Legends series.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Lore

Manga Review: World of Warcraft: Shaman

I have to say I was a little leery, to say the very least, about picking up the latest in the Warcraft class manga series from TOKYOPOP, largely because their last offering was a pretty lackluster affair. However, I am really, really glad I picked this one up, because Warcraft: Shaman is an excellent piece of work. The book marks the return of artist Rocio Zucchi, whose artwork graced the Warcraft: Death Knight manga. Penning the story for this volume is Paul Benjamin, whose other works include the StarCraft: Frontline series as well as work on Marvel Adventures. So right away, we've got an artist whose work I like and an author who knows the ins and outs of writing comics. Good combination from the start!

The story follows the shaman group the Earthen Ring as they try to come to terms with the elements' sudden refusal to cooperate and the appearance of a shaman thought lost to them over 250 years before who has some surprising things to say -- and new shamanistic techniques that border on heresy to the ages-old organization. Warcraft: Shaman covers what exactly it is to be a shaman, what it's like to work with the elements, and what happens when one is torn between the old ways and the new.

Please note: This review may contain some small spoilers for The Shattering as well as the upcoming Cataclysm expansion. If you'd like to remain unspoiled, turn back now!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

Manga Review: World of Warcraft: Mage

I'm going to take a moment here, before I start, and talk about Warcraft: Death Knight. Death Knight was the precursor to the book pictured above, part of the "class" series of manga that TOYKYOPOP is releasing for Warcraft fans. Death Knight made a really, really good first impression of the series, outlining the lore behind the death knight Thassarian, who has been featured heavily both in the death knight starting area and later in Icecrown as a member of the Valiance Expedition. That's right, the Alliance forces -- and the book goes into his past and how he came to be, as well as expanding a little on the lore behind Koltira Deathweaver. That said, I was incredibly excited when I heard there was going to be a new "class" book coming out, and even more so when I heard it was going to be the mage class. I was hoping to see a book about Jaina, or maybe even something about Antonidas and his history.

What I got was Warcraft: Mage, a book written by Richard A. Knaak, illustrated by Ryo Kawakami. The book tells the story of a young mage in training named Aodhan, who we've never seen in game before, and an assault by the blue dragonflight on Dalaran that nearly led to the city's destruction, which we've also never seen referenced in game. This already had me questioning the book, but the premise seemed interesting enough given that the blue dragonflight did have their own story going on in Wrath, so I picked up the book and gave it a read.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

Blizzard manga giveaway from Lorehound

Lorehound.com once again continues to offer up all things good and manga-related by putting up a fun little contest. Look at your bookshelf. Is it barren of any Blizzard/Tokyopop manga titles? Does it weep silently in the night, wishing it could be graced by the volumes of Warcraft Legends and the Starcraft titles? Hope no more, dear bookshelf, for if you enter Lorehound's Incredibly Short Story contest, you have the potential to win every single Blizzard manga title in existance.

Put on your robe and thinking cap and write a 150- to 300-word story on why you think you deserve the book collection. It can be anything: sob story, comedy, thoughtful introspective, a shopping list or whatever. Submit your story, and Lorehound will narrow down the runner-ups. From there, the community will vote on which one is the best.

Considering this is nearly $70+ worth of manga, I'd say that's not a bad deal. Best of luck to all who enter!

Filed under: Contests, Lore

New Warcraft manga previews available

Warcraft: Shadow Wing, Vol. 1: Dragons of Outland, the new Warcraft manga written by Richard A. Knaak and illustrated by Jae-Hwan Kim, now has a preview available online at BlizzPlanet.com. Shadow Wing follows the continuing story of Jorad Mace and the blue dragon Tyrygosa, who parted ways with Kalecgos and Anveena at the end of the Sunwell Trilogy. Jorad and Tyri meet up in Outland -- and hopefully the manga explains what the two have been doing out on Celestial Ridge all this time, and how Tyri's research eventually ties in to Malygos' efforts up in Northrend.

In addition, there is also a preview available for Warcraft: Mage, the second in the series of class-based books that began with Warcraft: Death Knight. Unlike Death Knight, which detailed the untold story of Thassarian, Warcraft: Mage seems to be taking a different route and telling the story of a character as yet unseen in World of Warcraft. Aodhan is a young man who comes from a lineage of paladins and warriors, but finds himself drawn to an entirely different path. While training to become a mage in Dalaran, Aodhan and the rest of the city abruptly find themselves under siege by Malygos and the Blue Dragonflight. Warcraft: Mage is also written by Richard A. Knaak and illustrated by Ryo Kawakami, who has also done work for the Warcraft: Legends series.

While the manga novels still aren't available for pre-order, it looks like both novels will be released on June 1, 2010, from TOKYOPOP, and will be available at bookstores across the country.

Filed under: News items, Comics

Upcoming WoW manga releases

Two new releases are coming from Tokyopop's Warcraft manga line. Both will be written by Richard A. Knaak, touching upon subject matter he's dealt with before in licenses Warcraft releases. The first is Warcraft: Mage, another class-specific WoW book (following on the heels of the successful Death Knight manga). It certainly looks like Rhonin's on the cover there, although the story purports to be about "a young mage who faces his greatest challenge when he is forced to confront a foe only he can stop." Presumably Rhonin gets to be the Yoda this time.

Also coming out is Shadow Wing, volume 1, titled The Dragons of Outland. It's about the dragons of Outland. It's also about Tyragosa and Jorad Mace following the events of the Sunwell Trilogy, how they ended up in Outland giving folks quests in Netherstorm, and how Malygos got his groove back.

Filed under: News items, Comics

Death Knight manga is as good as it gets

The first of Tokyopop's class-themed manga hit the shelves early in December. World of Warcraft: Death Knight written by Dan Jolley and illustrated by Rocio Zucchi, the manga is a self-contained 166-page story detailing the life of a notable Death Knight, Thassarian, the first of the Lich King's rune-wielding champions to join the Alliance. I'm a huge fan of Tokyopop's comics made for the Warcraft universe and think that the Warcraft Legends series contain some of the best stories told about the Blizzard franchise.

The Death Knight manga kicks off a new direction in Tokyopop's Warcraft manga series, taking a break from short story compilations and focusing on a lore character representative of a specific class. The story of Thassarian, as previewed in October last year, explores the World of Warcraft in-depth through a biographical story that follows the hero's origins as a soldier of Lordaeron who falls and is raised as one of Arthas' minions. To make things simple, I'll give my thoughts on the book right before the break and explain it afterward -- it's a wonderful, well-written and beautifully illustrated comic that I highly recommend to any fan of Warcraft comics. It's good. Now that we've got that out of the way, let's dive into the meat of the manga after the break.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Lore, Death Knight, Comics

Sneak peek at Tokyopop's Death Knight manga


Not long after Tokyopop announced its 2010 schedule, which actually includes a late 2009 release, BlizzPlanet unveiled scans from the first chapter of Dan Jolley and Rocio Zucchi's World of Warcraft: Death Knight. The story features Thassarian, an NPC first encountered in Ebon Hold and later in the Alliance airship flying above Icecrown. Jolley delves deeper into Thassarian's past, telling his history as a human Alliance soldier with dreams of rising through the ranks but who eventually becomes ensnared under the Lich King's employ.

Intended to give insight into the different World of Warcraft classes, the Death Knight manga is the first of a series of class-focused full-length stories. Rocio Zucchi is a 22-year old Argentinian female manga artist, and her work on this book is simply sensational, if the first pages are any indication. Jolley employs a lot of flashbacks in the preview, and Zucci handles the storytelling transitions deftly. The book hits the shelves on December 1, 2009, and if you enjoyed Tokyopop's take on the World of Warcraft universe, Death Knight looks to be an equally entertaining read.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight, Comics

Tokyopop announces 2010 schedule for Warcraft manga


If you're a fan of Tokyopop's take on the World of Warcraft -- I know I certainly am -- then you should be excited to know that the line-up for 2010 has been announced. The first series from Tokyopop was the Sunwell trilogy, written by Richard Knaak and drawn expertly by Kim Jae-Hwan. It dealt with the events of the Sunwell and featured characters prominent in the game such as Kalecgos and Anveena Teague. The second series was called World of Warcraft: Legends, a recently concluded five-volume affair that uniquely told various stories of Azeroth's lesser-known folks.

For 2010, Tokyopop plans to kick off class-based stories starting with the popular Death Knight, featuring Thassarian, the first Death Knight to rejoin the Alliance. According to BlizzPlanet, this full-volume comic written by Dan Jolley and drawn by Rocio Zucchi is slated for December 2010 although they probably mean this coming December, 2009. This will be followed by World of Warcraft: Mage, written by Richard Knaak and drawn by an as-yet-unrevealed artist, which will be available on June 7, 2010. Would Knaak + Mage mean more Rhonin? I certainly hope not -- I think we've just about had enough of the super-heroic, time-traveling, ultra-powerful Mage who actually taught Illidan Stormrage how to use magic (don't ask). Rhonin is kind of like the Chuck Norris of Mages.

The most curious of the three volumes is World of Warcraft: Shaman, which is due for a "late 2010" release. Blizzard works closely with Tokyopop for all its manga, and all the stories are considered canon (Trag Highmountain even made it into the game). The Shaman book is rumored to be Cataclysm-related, although it's a good bet that the game's third expansion will be out by late 2010. There is no official word yet on who will write or draw the comic, but I personally enjoyed Tokyopop Warcraft editor Troy Lewter's stories in Legends so much that I look forward to him writing a full-volume comic. How about Carlos Olivares for the art? I appreciated his unique, almost whimsical style in Legends. He also draws wonderful Goblins, whom as we all know can roll Shamans in the next expansion. As always, stay tuned to WoW.com as we bring you the latest on Tokyopop's Warcraft manga.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Comics

BlizzCon 2009: Wow.com interviews Richard Knaak

On the second day of BlizzCon 2009, I got the chance to sit down with Richard Knaak, best selling author of countless novels, including many in the Warcraft universe, such as the War of the Ancients Trilogy, Day of the Dragon, and Night of Dragon. His upcoming projects include the Stormrage novel, as well as the Dragons of Outland manga trilogy. We talked about all this and more, and you can read our conversation below.

So of course, the big thing on everyone's mind is the new Stormrage book. How's it coming along? Is it near completion?


It's near completion, we're in the editing process, getting the OKs from Blizzard. You can find an excerpt in the latest volume of the Legends Manga, along with a story I wrote, sort of a Prologue that ties in with the book.

Can you give us a sneak preview of what to expect lore-wise?

You know Blizzard likes to keep these secret, so I am going to be very limited in what I can talk about. It is Malfurion. It is about the Nightmare. And it is very current. That's the three biggest things I can say about it right off the bat. You'll see characters you know from the game and obviously from other books, and places you know from the game, and it's very current, very relevant. Of course, that's about all I can say. You know Blizzard, they love their secrets!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, WoW Social Conventions, News items, Lore, RP, NPCs, Interviews, BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2009: Tokyopop creates stories about the little guys

While wandering about the floor at BlizzCon, I stopped over at the TokyoPop Manga booth and spoke a bit with editor Troy Lewter, who we've talked to before.. Currently, the big series they write for the world of Azeroth is the Warcraft Legends series, which is on its 4th volume with a 5th due out next month.

Talking with Troy and other members of the Tokyopop team at the booth, what I was most struck with was the passion for the work and the universes of Blizzard's games that they display, and, perhaps more importantly, to the art and stories they tell.

Troy laid out three important concepts that they follow in creating the mangas: Telling a solid story, focusing on a few characters, and cross-pollinating with other forms of media.

In telling a solid story, the aim is to create the story such that you don't need to rely on the Warcraft world and characters, per se. In short, even if the story wasn't about Thrall or Varian or the Scarlet Crusade or anything else, you could still connect with the characters themselves.

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Filed under: Lore, RP, Interviews, Comics

BlizzCon 2009: The treasure-fishing quest


Just in case there weren't enough to do at BlizzCon this year, our goody bags included a quest:
Marcia Chase seeks your help. She has left instructions with a local merchant -- Brady Mercantile. She needs heroes to collect a set of 5 mysterious treasure-fishing lures. Brady Mercantile can be found in the Merchant's Quarter.
Brady Games provided a "Lure Bag" and a map of the locations of the lures, which were other vendors located in all of the halls. Obtaining the lures involved standing in line with your map and bag at the various vendor booths and then being handed a slimy lure. The sliminess did lend an authenticity to the procedure, while being mildly unpleasant.

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Filed under: Fan stuff, Quests, BlizzCon

Richard A. Knaak, other authors will be signing at BlizzCon

Part of the fun of BlizzCon is that beyond all of the dev panels and crazy mainstage stuff going on, there's also the big convention hall full of things to see and do. All of Blizzard's licensing partners usually show up, so Upper Deck usually has games going on, FigurePrints shows off their wares, and all of the computer companies usually have some fun rigs on display. And now we've learned that, as usual, Pocket Books and TokyoPop will have booths set up, along with their usual stable of authors and artists. Richard A. Knaak has confirmed on his website that he'll be there, so if you're going, be sure to bring along your copy of War of the Ancients, and maybe you can get it signed.

Our staff is hoping for a Christie Golden appearance as well, and while she doesn't have anything about BlizzCon on the website yet (she is at ComiCon this week, though), we're presuming that she'll be there. Medievaldragon of Blizzplanet is apparently also presuming it: he's included her with Knaak in his headline about the show (see update). So hopefully she'll be around, and Ziebart and Whitcomb can take their treasured copies of Arthas over and do some fanboy groveling.

Should be excellent. We'll be doing our best to get some interviews with these folks here on the site as well, so even if you're not with us in Anaheim, you'll still get a chance to hear from some of your favorite Warcraft authors. BlizzCon ahoy!

Update: Medievaldragon has gotten back to us, and he says that he's heard from Golden herself that she'll be at BlizzCon. Get those books ready for some signin'!

BlizzCon 2009 is coming up on August 21st and 22nd! We've got all the latest news and information. At BlizzCon, you can play the latest games, meet your guildmates, and ask the developers your questions. Plus, there are some great looking costumes.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Lore, BlizzCon

Dan Jolley talks about TOKYOPOP's Death Knight manga

Things have been a little bit quiet on the manga front, but not for long. Warcraft Legends editor Troy Lewter has pinned down Dan Jolley, writer for the forthcoming Thassarian-centric volume Warcraft: Death Knight, and posted the interview with him on the official TOKYOPOP site.

To be fair, the interview is not as focused on the manga as the one we did with Jolley a couple of months ago but it does look at how writing for the anthology volumes of the series compare with a longer story. Lewter also quizzes Jolley about how he got into the business and the last question about sharks and bears is also worth the read alone.

For those waiting on the release of Warcraft: Death Knight, it might give some new insight into how manga happens. Don't forget, you can also check out our interviews with both Dan Jolley and Troy Lewter.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Expansions, Interviews, Death Knight, Comics

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