Today marks the 1 year anniversary of manga pioneer Toren Smith’s death (April 12, 1960 - March 4, 2013). Toren Smith was one of the first people to encourage Japanese publishers into licensing manga to North American publishers. Without him, we wouldn’t have some of those first English-translated titles from him and his studio, Studio Proteus (such as the first editions of Akira, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Appleseed, Oh My Goddess and Ghost in the Shell, just to name a few). Without these handful of successful early titles, we might not have the wide variety of manga available to us in English that we do today.
He was also friends with the founders of Gainax, and was immortalized by them in their 1980s series Gunbuster when they named a character after him and had him voice a nameless bridge operator in one episode.
While he may not be a household name to some, he was once (and still is) regarded by many as one of the “godfather of manga in the US”, and should never be forgotten.