VIZ announces ‘VIZ Originals’ imprint

New imprint will bring ‘original, creator-owned content’ to the manga publisher.

Dust off the “OEL” acronym — Manga publisher VIZ Media has announced a new imprint, VIZ Originals, dedicated to publishing original graphic novels developed by “manga-inspired creators.”

“VIZ Originals will be an incubator for innovative ideas and storytelling,” said Leyla Aker, Executive Vice President & Publisher. “There’s a demonstrated appetite for manga and manga-inspired content. With VIZ Originals, we have an opportunity to leverage over 30 years of experience in the industry to bring original, creator-owned content from top creative talents to fans worldwide.”

The imprint will be led by Executive Editor Fawn Lau, and the first titles will debut in 2020.

“We’re thrilled to support and contribute to the comics community through the VIZ Originals imprint,” Lau said. “There are so many extraordinary creators telling exciting stories in the style they love. We’re proud to be able to nurture this new generation of manga-inspired creators.”

No titles have been announced yet. If you’re interested in submitting something, Viz says on their website that they plan to hold portfolio reviews at various, as-yet-unannounced events, and they’ll launch a submissions portal later this year.

This is a big move by the media powerhouse; VIZ has been bringing manga and anime to America since the 1980s, and its portfolio includes Death Note, Naruto, Pokemon, Dragon Ball, One-Punch Man, My Hero Academia and Sailor Moon, among many others. While they’ve dabbled in original graphic novels in the past, this larger effort will be something to keep an eye on as they reveal more details.

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