Recently, I was invited to see the office of CrownRoot Publications, who we wrote about a while back here on GeekOut. It’s been a long time since we checked up on them, so after chatting to the organiser of the company, Vincent, I went down to his office and got to understand what the company is all about. Join Timlah as we look at CrownRoot Publications and what they’re hoping to do for the UK manga scene.
I love manga – That much should be obvious. However, in the UK, we don’t really have an incredibly strong presence for it. Okay, so we have some really cool anime conventions and we have a lot of comic cons, but have you noticed I’ve not said anything about manga? Video game conventions, cosplay conventions (as in specifically cosplay), comic conventions, LARP conventions, literature conventions and just general geek conventions. But there’s very little for the very specific medium of manga. In fact, I remember getting my very first Shonen Jump at the age of 16… isn’t that a bit late to be introduced to Shonen Jump? A manga magazine primarily aimed at boys under the age of 18? Growing up, manga was a hard thing to really be into as it literally just didn’t exist over here.
There were some shops that stocked manga, such as Waterstones, Forbidden Planet and a few independent shops. I didn’t know about Excelsior comics back then and Area51 didn’t feel like it stocked manga from an outsiders view. It looked like a traditional comic shop, so I figured I wouldn’t get my fix for manga there either. It was not until I found a shop called Forever People that I could find my beloved manga, but it wouldn’t be long before that also disappeared from my life. Back to nothing, I was looking for my manga fix once more and still absolutely nothing. I didn’t really get manga until I started going to anime conventions in 2013, as well as being the driving force behind why I started GeekOut South-West, did I find out about a lot of other things.
One thing that always struck me about manga and even the comics industry in general is how people get published. How do people get their comic or manga in their respective interests biggest compilation magazines? How do you get noticed? What can you do as a Mangaka or a story writing enthusiast to get your story told? I mean, it’s all well and good making your own mangas: I remember I used to doodle back at school (Terribly, might I add?) and occasionally I’d get some people ask me to do a small piece for them (They were terrible pieces, might I add?) but that’s not exposure. I needless to say stopped doodling and became way more techy, a field that was incredibly open.
Meanwhile, in the past few years in Bristol without knowing about it, at the same sort of time as GeekOut South-West, a company called CrownRoot Publications begun. I met up with Vincent who told me a little bit of his companies history as well as his involvement in the community scene for years and how he’s been doing it ever since he was a teenager. It was a really interesting discussion we had, where we spoke about everything from manga and comics, to anime and video games. We delved into Steam and more and the more we spoke, the more we had in common. As a geek who wants his brand to work, I saw Vincent who is incredibly passionate about his brands and I liked hearing what he was aiming to do.
Crownroot Publications has two routes: the Crown Publications route, which is for ventures such as their highly successful comic Indigo Babies. The big ones will go through the Crown Publications route, whereas the Root Publications route will be more for the aspiring Mangaka and comic writer. But there is something way more important that CrownRoot offers other than a route to publication – They’re editors. Vincent has been working on these kinds of projects for a very long time, so he acts as an editor for the usually enthusiastic Mangaka’s. I remembered an anime which actually showcased the exact behaviour he was on about – and I shared the anime (ahem, it was a yaoi of all things, ) with him.
CrownRoot Publications work in collaboration with other companies, such as Reach Robotics, in order to produce comics and explore new niches for the small UK-based scene to get into. Because they’re local to Bristol as well, CrownRoot Publications have worked with companies like Watershed. It’s refreshing to see a new company who is seriously trying their best to help out the UK Manga scene – a scene that’s very much dominated by the big players in the market. It’s their goals to be the next Shonen Jump for the UK – I wish them the best of luck and of course, I’ll be keeping in contact with Vincent, who hopefully will come and see what we’re all about at our GeekOut Bristol Meets, including the one today! What are your fondest memories of collecting or reading manga? Are you the sort of person who loves to discover new and unrecognised talent? As always, leave your comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.