Tokyopop Garage Sale, Free Comic Book Day, Thor and Manga in Vienna

Apologies for the lack of posts lately, things became extremely busy right before I left for Vienna and while I was there, we were quite busy with our sight-seeing.

But! Right before my trip was the Tokyopop garage sale, Free Comic Book Day and the opening of Thor. I managed to hit up all three on Saturday, May 7th, so since it was a manga and comic book-filled day, I thought I’d share it with you.

First, was the Tokyopop garage sale. When I got there, around 9:30 a.m., there were already a significant amount of people in line in the building’s lobby and the line more than doubled before anyone was let in at 10 a.m.

This was only a small part of the line at the Tokyopop offices.

While most got there around 10 a.m.,  Tokyopop had let in people who showed up around 6:30 or 7 a.m. Inside, half the offices were cordoned off (where there were still desks for the remaining employees) and the other half was filled with books, some DVDs, merchandise and various office supplies for sale.

The collection was impressive, but picked through. Still, I managed to find many large bags full of manga to buy for myself and a few friends who couldn’t make it. I also got a large, framed Kare Kano poster and my boyfriend got an extra monitor. I wound up paying less than $200 for it, not a bad deal at all. The sale was perfect for filling in manga collections you might have been too lazy or financially stressed to keep up with.

Apparently, to my surprise, a college friend came down and bought one of the Japanese-language manga resource libraries for all of $50. I didn’t see the transaction go down, but found out about it later.  Her pictures only give you a vague idea of how much manga she bought. (A friend still working there later told me they just wanted to get rid of as much as possible since they won’t have the room to store it any more.) The function of the room was pretty much to provide a library of potential licenses at hand. Anyway, bravo to my friend for getting the best deal of the day.

After lugging all of our purchases to the car and then up to our apartment, my boyfriend and I needed little rest before we headed off to Meltdown Comics for Free Comic Book Day. When we got there, most of the action was taking place behind the store. The line for the Grilled Cheese Truck was longer than the line for free comics! No surprise as food truck culture is so popular in L.A. I wound up getting all the free comics I wanted (Dark Horse’s Avatar the Last Airbender and Yen Press’ Witch and Wizard samplers), plus some extras for a friend who was too ill to make it to a comic book store. Meltdown had a very nice booth set up in the back that looked like an old newsstand. You could take a look at copies of the available comics and then the booth workers would bag your picks.

And you thought I was kidding about that line.

The event had a variety of things to do. On loan from the Jim Henson company (only a mile or two down the street and around the corner) were two original Skeksis from The Dark Crystal next to a free showing of the movie. On hand to sign comics were Brian Holguin (The Dark Crystal comic), David Petersen (Mouse Guard), Shane and Chris Houghton (Reed Gunther), Jeff Cahn (Red Spike), Owen Wiseman (Samurai’s Blood), and Studio JFish, in addition to Q&A sessions and a few other events. L.A. Weekly has a post up with much nicer photos than mine.

One of the Skeksis from Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal.

Later that evening, we decided to check out Thor, which had opened the evening before. I don’t know much about Thor the comic (although there are some recent Thor titles I want to read), but I was a bit disappointed by the movie. Everything was fantastic but the story, which just fell flat for me when it came to the titular character. Loki, the movie’s villain, had a wonderfully written story and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s role when it came to everything happening on Earth was perfectly done. But when it came time for Thor himself to shine, all I saw was a guy who had a simple revelation presented in the most boring way possible. It was basically: Thor meets girl, Thor and girl fall in love at first sight, Thor realizes he must fight to protect and not just to fight because he wanted to protect the girl when she was in danger. And then we hit the “happy” open ending! While I realize Thor is traditionally not supposed to be witty or smart, it felt like he was just there for eye candy and fighting, not to be a part of the story. I wasn’t super-excited about seeing the movie in the first place, but I felt pretty let down. These movies are part of a larger franchise that viewers are supposed to buy into for the long run and I think that should mean making each and every one of them extraordinary in every aspect. I can only hope the stories and characterizations won’t continue to be boring.


Manga at a shop in Vienna near St. Stephan’s Cathedral.

Finally, during my trip to Vienna, I was determined to find some manga in German as I have a small collection of manga published around the world in different languages. Unfortunately, I missed the European Free Comic Book Day while I was there due to our busy schedule and rain. The next day, I did manage to pop into one small shop in a touristy area to take a quick peek. They had a fairly large selection of manga (for the shop’s size), including titles from Tokyopop Germany. I wound up buying one volume of Fruit’s Basket (not published by Tokyopop Germany) and Happy Marriage?! (Hapi Mari) by Maki Enjoji (a Tokyopop Germany title), which looked hilarious enough to read despite the language barrier.

If any one is wondering, German-language manga costs about the same in euros as it does in dollars.

That’s all for now, as I recover from the jet lag and begin to get ready for Fanime. I bought a few extra volumes of stuff I already had at the Tokyopop sale, so expect a giveaway or contest in the next few days!



About Daniella Orihuela-Gruber

Daniella is a freelance manga editor and blogger. She likes collecting out of print manga and playing with her puppy. Yes, someone got her a puppy already.
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10 Responses to Tokyopop Garage Sale, Free Comic Book Day, Thor and Manga in Vienna

  1. Ahavah says:

    I’m glad you got to go to the Tokyopop sale. Not only am I *very* upset that Tokyopop closed down their American publishing arm (American movies and German manga are still in production, IIRC), but then they go and make their “garage” sale exclusive to people who happen to be in California.

    I have a feeling that the plane ticket alone would negate all the money I saved on manga! 😉 (or maybe not. If they had super rare titles available for pennies and then I re-sold them on ebay…how much did they charge for the manga? Did they have any Kodansha titles left? I love +Anima, Beck, etc)

    I’m looking forward to that give-a-way (if & when you get to it)!

    Buying all of Tokyopop’s Japanese potential license library? Nice. I wonder how many titles she got that aren’t available in America yet…

    The state of the German manga industry in Vienna looks good. I’m drooling at those shelves (I’m sure I’d drool if I saw those Vienna pastries and desserts you described, too!)

    My local comic book store was super nice! I went on Friday and told a saleman there that I am Sabbath observant. He said that they try to save some books for Sunday, but when I mentioned that I *really* wanted Avatar, he slipped the book in my bag with my manga purchase! 😀 I was thrilled!

    I came back on Sunday and they gave me two regular comic backissues from the early nineties (I can only assume it’s because they’re nice, because they explained that they had run out of all their official Free Comic Book Day books by 6pm on Saturday). They really are a Friendly, Local Comic Book Store! My heroes!

    (The Avatar comics were fun but silly. I’m hoping to see a lot more variety when Dark Horse publishes “The Lost Tales” in July! I can’t wait!)

    • Well, it only makes sense that they kept it to whomever could make it to their offices. For one, they’re shutting down completely in a matter of days. Also, it takes a lot of time to set up and process a big sale like that. The people still remaining at the offices probably have a lot more stuff to do in order to close out the company. The garage sale was just the easiest way to take care of all the stock they had lying around.

      The manga were priced from $2-4 usually, with some exceptions. I wouldn’t say they had too much super-rare stuff, but there were a few things here and there. I didn’t see any Beck there. I would have snapped it up, if I did. I only know that my friend got that room because the man running the sale really, really just wanted to get rid of stuff and didn’t expect to do so easily at the sale.

      Presumably the majority of titles my friend bought are unlicensed, especially as she said they are mostly yaoi. Since Tokyopop was the only US publisher working with Gentosha, I imagine a large number of books are Gentosha titles that haven’t made the cut.

      Oh god, the pastries and desserts in Vienna are sooooooo good. Totally gained weight there. I’m not sure how strictly you keep kosher, but if you ever go, I’ll tell you where they had the best stuff. If you are pretty kosher, I did see at least one kosher restaurant and since it’s Vienna, they’re sure to have desserts. :3

      Also, I’m glad you got the FCBD books you wanted! That’s really sweet of the people at that store to do those things for you. ^_^

  2. Jade says:

    I agree with you on the Thor movie. I read some of the Thor comics, and he was a lovable character at least. But in the movie, it seemed that Loki was more important, though a bit wimpy compared to the usual diabolical antagonist. I’m not particularly sorry to say that Thor was a fail. Anyone who says it was good can’t possibly understand the disappointing track record of Marvel movies.

    • Oh thank goodness. I keep hearing how people say it was such a great movie and I totally disagree. It wasn’t a bad movie, but it was pretty mediocre when it came to Thor himself. And the movie is called THOR, not Loki, not Sexy Scientist Meets Norse God. THOR! I want to know what’s so cool about him if I go see a movie based him.

      The people who made it are lucky that pretty much everything else was done well because they really dropped the ball on Thor’s character and story.

  3. Evan Ralston says:

    Had a great time at the garage sale. Picked up several boxes of manga, a signed GTO poster for $100. Oh not to mention the room Phyllis bought and I helped move the next weekend 😉

    • I still can’t believe you guys did that. >_< I'm glad you had fun though. I did too and I expected to be depressed! (Since I basically lost a lot of work and money with their closure.) I guess retail therapy really does work? 😀

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  6. Justin says:

    *sniff* no fair…you had a great day…

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