In 2007 a simple open source program was written called “Right+Click Comix” for turning scans of comic book pages into PDF files for printing and Comic Book Archive files for sharing. It was later renamed “Comixer” and development began on a custom Linux Live Disc distribution, called “ComixOS” (later “DAB – Digital Art Box“), to offer a zero-install option for using Comixer and other open source programs of interest to artists.
Ryu Maru was launched as a web site in 2008 for the purposes of documenting and distributing those projects, as well as web hosting and maintenance services for clients of KMH Creative design (our sister site). Ryu Maru began with a simple mission: to support the independent publishing creator community, and build a trust that fosters new properties to our mutual benefit.
It is our belief that the best and most innovative properties originate in the minds and from the pens of truly independent creators. However, these days it can be difficult for people accustomed to photocopiers, paper, and long-arm staplers to break into the digital marketplace while still maintaining that Indie spirit, or not having to surrender their intellectual property to corporate interests. “Comixer” was our first product aimed at self-publishers and designed to make it as easy to produce a PDF file ready for Print On Demand publishing as it was to photocopy and staple pages. Our latest product is “Ryuzine” – a publishing platform that allows publishers to target desktop and mobile devices in a savvy “app” style as easily as making a simple web page.
In the future we will be working to develop new products, titles, and continue to provide affordable resources for independent creators to rock!
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Ryu Maru is based in the Minneapolis-St.Paul metro of Minnesota, USA. Unless otherwise noted properties are licensed from their respective owners.
About our name: In Japanese Ryu (竜) means “dragon” and Maru (丸) means “circle” but is often appended to the end of a ship’s name (thus the sail shape behind the dragon’s head in our logo). Ryu Maru started with the idea of a small, independent, creative community – sort of like on a ship, but also as a social circle. Why is the name in Japanese? We like anime and manga a lot, sure, but mostly because the web domain was available while our alternative choices were not. There is some disagreement among English-speaking people regarding the correct pronunciation of “ryu” but we prefer to say our name Rye-oo Mar-oo (dictionary pronunciation: \ˈRī-ü ˈMär-ü\). As for the dragon part? Well, dragons are just cool!