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Digital publisher Tapas Media is shifting its focus to original content.
The publisher, which made its name mostly with licensed anime from Asia, has launched Studio Tapas, a new division dedicated to producing and publishing original webcomics and novels. Gabrielle Luu, previously a content manager and acquisitions executive at the digital publisher, will be promoted to the newly created position of head of studio.
At the same time, in a bid to further leverage its original content, the company has hired Corey Sienega, a veteran producer whose credits include Frailty and Miss Potter, as head of business development where she will oversee film, television and cross-platform partnerships.
The company already has a catalog of more than 70 originals and is readying to launch several more in 2021. But the dedicated arm will allow for a point of entry for originals, a growing revenue base, and prime the titles for adaptation into other media.
At the same time it launches the new division, Tapas’ original webcomic Magical Boy is being optioned by Madison Wells, the production company run by Gigi Pritzker.
The webcomic centers on a young man coming out as trans to his parents, just as he learns from his mother that he’s from a long line of Magical Girls charged with saving the world from the dark Devoid. The webcomic has 117,000 weekly subscribers and 3.4 million views.
Madison Wells’ Rachel Shane and Amanda Morgan Palmer will serve as executive producers for the adaptation, which will be developed for television and other platforms.
“This is a story of good vs. evil, the importance of legacy, and what it means to come out as a trans teen today,” said Pritzker in a statement.
This year Tapas began a more concerted effort to exploit their titles, and Magical Boy joins a growing list of IP in development that also includes Yes, My Boss, also being worked by Madison Wells and Frolic Media; A Werewolf Boy, set up with CJ Entertainment; and Mnemosyne, with Zoic Studio.
As head of studio, Luu will direct development and strategy of original series projects, with a focus on forging new opportunities for top emerging talent through producing stories that not only perform well on Tapas, but also for Tapas’ global network of webcomic and ancillary partners to create “Super IPs” that can cross platform and geographic borders. Luu previously played an instrumental role in building out Tapas’ portfolio of hits in several genres such as The Beginning After the End, The Dragon Prince’s Bride, Born Sexy Tomorrow and His Barcode Tattoo.
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