DC Comics' manga imprint CMX was shut down earlier today. On one level, the lack of any bestselling titles, low buzz, and general lack of promotion from its parent company didn't make it seem like much of a surprise. On the other, the fact that it lasted six years despite all of these issues made the news surprising to me.
Personally, I'm not too broken up about it as I only bothered to collect three series from them. As I mentioned on my year-end podcast, Kaoru Mori's "Emma" was excellent and judging from what I've read about it on the internet, most people would agree that it was the line's crown jewel. Many people liked marginal and Syuji Takeda's "Astral Project," while I talked about it in a podcast entitled "Interesting Failures." The last one, Yu Yagami's "Go West" fell in between the two in terms of quality as it was an amusing look at the American "Old West" from a creator with a truly nutty sense of humor that didn't match the comic heights of his other series, "Hikkatsu" (published by the now equally departed Go!Comi).
The irony of their demise today is that I'd still be reading one of their titles if they had decided to release it unedited. I speak, of course, of Oh! Great's "Tenjo Tenge." Much as Kentaro Miura's "Berserk" has a story and characters strong enough to support and justify all of the violence in that series, "Tenjo Tenge" was the same for sex. (Not surprising when you consider that the creator's first work released in English was the "Silky Whip" hentai manga.) When CMX announced that they'd be releasing it in English, I was thrilled to no end. Then when it was revealed that they had edited it for content, I vowed to put my money where my mouth was and not buy from them.
Now I can imagine the laughter that last remark is getting because the internet is filled with plenty of vindictive fanboys who swear the same thing and wind up not changing anything or they go out and buy the series anyway. I had a much easier time of things because CMX never released anything that I had much of an interest in. Their stock-in-trade was mainly (as I saw it) generic shojo titles or gender-neutral action or fantasy titles. Even when I broke down and offered to read some titles as thanks to a friend (who was a big fan of the imprint) as thanks for a favor, I wasn't too impressed by two of the titles she loaned me. "Oyayubihime Infinity" had two narratives competing for space, and the one I was less interested in appeared to be the one that would be the focus of the series. "Penguin Revolution" on the other hand was a harmless tale about the talent industry in Japan. The other title was "Emma," but that wasn't my introduction to the series as I had seen the first season of the anime a while back. I did break down when volume seven came out (and wrapped up the core story) and picked up the entire series after it was becoming apparent that I was denying myself a good thing.
As for the rest of the imprint? Meh... I might get around to picking up the other Yu Yagami series that they published, "Dokkoida!," but he fact that "Tenjo Tenge" and many other series won't see completion doesn't really fill me with rage. (For an example of that, you'll want to listen to my podcast on Hiroki Endo's "Eden: It's an Endless World" tomorrow.) In the end, I'd like to say that it was admirable that DC stuck with the imprint all these years, but they never seemed to really care about it. Their commitment to publishing manga seemed to be nothing more than a token nod to the prevailing trend at the time, and if they had spent half as much, or more, of the effort they spend publishing their superhero titles, they might've made something more of the imprint. As it is, we can at least be thankful that some good titles made it to the U.S. while they still pretended to care.