From YouTube to Print

Gaming creator Jabrils dishes on his trending debut manga

Good morning. As the bar for high-quality YouTube video essays (spanning topics from how to build a road to unpacking Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto fraud) continues to rise, we’ve been wondering: What turns a video essay into a full-fledged documentary?

This question has spurred debate in the Publish Press newsroom—some argue it’s multiple POVs and expert interviews, while others believe it’s all in the archival footage.

Got a take? Hit reply to let us know what you think!

Gaming Creator Jabrils Tops Charts with Debut Manga

Jabrils (right) releases his original manga, HAXWARE: Paragon (left), with two versions of the printed cover / HAXWARE.io, JBJ Pictures

Gaming and software development creator Jabril “Jabrils” Ashe spent nearly four years writing and designing a manga comic book with the help of an illustrator—and his self-published first edition, HAXWARE: Paragon, reached the No. 2 spot on top manga platform Manga Plus Creators’ (MPC) trending charts last week.

“Everyone and their mother has a t-shirt…no disrespect, but I wanted a stronger merch item, and manga is that,” Ashe told us.

The backstory: Ashe said that he’s a “lifelong” fan of popular Japanese media like manga and anime. In 2019, he decided to spend less time on his YouTube channel (where he documents the process of developing video games for 500K subscribers) and more time learning how to create an anime cartoon show.

But as Ashe soon found out, animation can be expensive. One studio quoted him at roughly $500,000 for a single 30-minute episode.

So Ashe pivoted, working with an illustrator to take characters he’d 3D-modeled and design a manga. On August 24, he dropped the physical comic book on his online store and published a free digital version on MPC, where it steadily climbed the charts over the last two weeks.

Ashe told us he’s excited to continue building out “the HAXWARE universe” across his own social media channels, as he plans to transition the majority of his focus to creating content related to his manga (including new video games).

Big picture: A self-taught software engineer, Ashe believes that his eight-plus years of establishing a career on YouTube have greatly influenced his ability to learn new skills and take on entrepreneurial projects.

“There's a lot of traditional processes that you have to circumvent to get here, right? And I think that that experience [of starting a YouTube channel] really molded the person I am today,” he told us.

1 Month, 8 Million Views for Video Essay Channel fern

European creators Simplicissimus and Hoog investigates how “The Netherlands is Actually a Giant City.” / fern

Fern, a video essay YouTube channel, recently surpassed 8.7 million total views in one month across just seven videos.

Context: The channel, which has 350,000 subscribers, is a collaboration between European creators Simplicissimus and Hoog, who make videos on design and culture. Through fern, the two creators tackle big topics in under 20 minutes—like why McDonald’s is better in France than the U.S. and why the Netherlands operates like an oversized city.

How did fern catch on so suddenly? While the creators haven’t publicly shared their strategy, many in the space have suggested that YouTube’s algorithm is helping creators and channels to find unique audiences faster than ever thanks to its growing use of AI.

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Sports Media Creators Release Show on Amazon Prime

Zach Weiner and Dan Porter release their docuseries “One Shot: Overtime Elite” on Amazon Prime / Prime Video

Yesterday was the premiere of One Shot: Overtime Elite, a six-part Prime Video docuseries about high school athletes in the Overtime Elite (OTE) basketball league.

What is Overtime? A sports media brand with over 40 million followers across TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. It was started by creators Zack Weiner and Dan Porter in 2016 to share stories of athletes who haven’t yet gone pro, from high school football stars to esports gamers.

In 2021, Weiner and Porter started the private school and basketball league Overtime Elite, which has since sent two players to the NBA. Their new Prime Video show follows the lives of OTE players, including the NBA recruits.

Big picture: Overtime's OTE school, basketball league, and media brand are paving an unconventional route to the NBA for athletes—while also training them as creators. This comes at a time when 1) name, image, and likeness deals are becoming more widespread and 2) college athletes’ compensation are hotly debated.

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