EDITORIAL: COMICS & MANGA

My editorial experience includes Marvel Comics (1989-1996), Tokyopop (2003-2008), Blizzard Entertainment (2008-2009), Disney Publishing Worldwide (2010-2012) and freelancing for various companies in between and since.

Rob Tokar's Marvel Business Card

Marvel Comics

1989-1996
Started as a college intern and was hired as an assistant editor. Promoted to Associate Editor (Special Projects), Editor and then Senior Editor when I moved to Los Angeles to work directly for Stan Lee on a new imprint called Excelsior Comics.

Comiculture

Comiculture

2000-2003
Marvel alums founded Mad Science Media, the publisher of Comiculture Magazine

Rob Tokar's TokyoPop Business Card

Tokyopop

2003-2008
Started as an editor and was promoted to Senior Editor and then Editor-in-Chief.

Phineas & Ferb Magazine #14 cover

Disney Publishing Worldwide

2010-2012
Full-time on-site contractor working on Marvel Superheroes Magazine, Phineas and Ferb Magazine, Disney Comics translations for their app, Pixar licensees and more. When the contract expired, I became a freelancer contributing to Phineas and Ferb Magazine, Frozen Movie Magazine and others.

"Editor" can mean a lot of things depending on the field and the medium. In my seven years at Marvel Comics (five in New York, two in Los Angeles under Stan Lee), a comic book editor is the caretaker of the property / characters under their control as well as the project manager for their books. The editor hires the entire creative team (writer(s), penciler(s), inker(s), letterer(s) and colorist(s)), sets and enforces their schedules, approves storylines and artwork and coordinates with design, production, sales, marketing, manufacturing and accounting to help get the comic print-ready, printed and sold.

In my five years at Tokyopop, editors worked on English Adaptations of manga (comics from Japan) and manhwa (comics from Korea) and also helped to create original manga based on licensed properties (like Star Wars and Warcraft) or from entirely new concepts.

Following is a small selection of my editorial work:

Spectacular Spider-Man vol. 1 #200 cover

Spectacular Spider-Man

Volume 1, issues 194 - 203

My mantra on this title was, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!" J.M. DeMatteis and Sal Buscema made an extraordinary team and I thought that the best thing I could do was to keep them happy and stay out of their way. My favorite example of their collaboration is in the super-sized issue 200. The last few pages the issue are a dramatic, tragic, heartbreaking scene that ended up being entirely silent because when the writer saw the pages, he thought the story was being told so well that it was better without any captions or dialogue. And he was right: it's a powerful scene.

Alpha Flight vol. 1 #130 cover

Alpha Flight

Volume 1, issues 107 - 130

I loved Alpha Flight as an X-Men fan before AF had their own series and I was a loyal reader when this series was released. When I was told I'd be inheriting the series, I was thrilled even though sales were weak. There are things about this run that I am proud of and things I wish I would have done differently but one decision I am glad I made was to keep the team alive. We had seriously considered killing them all off in the end but I thought it would be too cruel to fans (like myself) who had grown to love these characters. Additionally, Marvel's Executive Editor Mark Gruenwald told me that he regretted killing off so many "lame" villains in his Scourge of the Underworld storyline as even the weakest character has the potential to become interesting in the right hands. With that in mind, I thought it would be best to leave the entire team for potential future use throughout the Marvel Universe. Of course, we had fun scaring the fans with the possibility that we would kill them all and the last three issues featured covers with strong death imagery.

Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy vol. 1 cover

Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy

Volumes 1 - 3, Deluxe Collected Edition and Kaplan Vocabulary-Building Edition

These were a lot of work behind the scenes but worth it all. Working on this project introduced me to award-winning fantasy writer Richard Knaak, super-talented artist Jae-Hwan Kim and Blizzard's Sorcerer Supreme Chris Metzen. My work on this title is what got me a gig at Blizzard Entertainment when Tokyopop laid off over half its staff, myself included.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Cine-Manga cover

Star Wars Cine-Manga adapatations

Episodes IV - VI

Retellings of the original Star Wars trilogy using frames grabbed from the films themselves. To anyone who read them, I apologize for the too-busy design on the interior pages... the designer and I were overruled. A simpler, cleaner design would have allowed the images in the frames to stand out more.

Transformers vol. 1 #71 cover

Transformers

Volume 1, issues 50 - 80

I started on this series as an intern to editor Don Daley and assistant editor Kelly Corvese. I was fortunate to work with the Transformers legends Simon Furman, Bob Budiansky, Geoff Senior, Andrew Wildman and Jose Delbo in addition to commissioning covers by John Romita Jr and Bob Layton, Jim Lee, and Bill Sienkiewicz among others. I learned a lot working on this title and it gave me my first taste of licensed publishing with many important lessons on licensing relationships.

The New Warriors vol 1 #44 cover

The New Warriors

Volume 1, issues 29 - 53

This was another series I already loved before being assigned to it. I'll add more about this later but for now, this photo cover features my good friend Martrese Beck who got an extensive makeover (in the days before photoshop could do it) to show off the big make-over being given to the character Namorita.

A.I. Love You vol. 1 #5 cover

A.I. Love You

Volumes 1 - 8

Created by Ken Akamatsu before he made the hit Love Hina series. As a new editor at Tokyopop, I only worked on the last few volumes of Love Hina though I ended up making revisions to every volume as they were reprinted. I was fortunate enough to get Adam Arnold (who wrote the English Adaptation for Love Hina) to work on this series as well. Adam brought a lot of knowledge, insight respect and creativity to the adapatation and I think it directly contributed to the book's success in the English-reading market.

RoboCop vol. 1 #19 cover

RoboCop

Volume 1, Issues 14 - 23

Another licensed title and more great learning experiences. Writer Simon Furman had already been assigned to the title and it was a pleasure getting to meet and work with artist Lee Sullivan. I only wish the title hadn't been canceled when it was... we had some exciting stories planned!

The Toxic Crusaders vol. 1 issue 3 cover

The Toxic Crusaders

Volume 1, Issues 1 - 8

Having edited the last few issues of The Toxic Avenger, I was excited to continue my working relationship with Troma Entertainment by editing the Toxic Crusaders comic. Based on a very funny animated show and a toy line, these comics contained original stories and artwork.