This week's fun at San Diego's Comic-Con International isn't just about stuff you can buy. I mean, yes, that's kind of the entire point of the convention, but in addition to new and exclusive products, plenty of publishers are offering unique experiences to lure you into their booths, and Viz Media is going the extra mile. In addition to new books like the Hello Kitty 40th Anniversary hardcover and The Art of Princess Mononoke, they're giving attendees the chance to take photos with characters like Doraemon and Hello Kitty.
That's right: a photo op with Hello Kitty. If you see me crying with joy on the con floor, that's why. Check out the rest of the exclusives belo
If you weren't aware that Edge of Tomorrow -- the new Tom Cruise movie that opened in American cinemas last weekend -- was based on a Japanese illustrated novel (or "light novel"), it'd be pretty understandable. For one thing, the title is different. The 2004 book by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and illustrator Yoshitoshi ABe was called All You Need Is Kill. For another, the book -- as Japanese science fiction often does -- featured Japanese teenagers in the midst of a gruesome war for Earth's fate, rather than a caucasian actor in his early 50s.
Publishers of the original work, Viz Media is making a big effort to make sure you know the truth. The publisher is releasing a new manga adaptation of the novel for digital download June 17. The new version comes courtesy of Takeshi Obata, who you may know as the creator of the super-popular Death Note and Bakuman series.
Good news for people who like keeping their digital comics in one easily accessible location: Today, Comixology announced that its going to be distributing digital comics from Viz Media, the publisher of a truly massive library of manga titles. Viz manga will now be available through the Comixology site, meaning that the comics can be downloaded to the popular (if controversially scaled back) Comixology app for Android and iOS devices, joining... well, pretty much every publisher on the block and keeping Comixology as a central destination for folks who want to buy digital comics.
The announcement is accompanied by the release of over 500 volumes of manga on Comixology today, including ComicsAlliance favorites like One Piece and One Punch Man, as well as a somewhat obscure title called Dragon Ball.
Though Kodansha will remain the publisher of Naoko Takeuchi's Sailor Moon manga, Viz Media announced last Friday that they've licensed effectively all of its anime adaptation, including the never-before-released-in-America Sailor Moon Sailor Stars seriesand the franchise's upcoming anime reboot, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal. Episodes will be available to watch on Viz's Neon Alley streaming service and Hulu beginning today, with additional content added every Monday. It's true; scouts honor.
This April Viz Media will follow up 2009's Starting Point: 1979-1996, its initial batch of essays, interviews, memoirs and illustrations chronicling the career of manga creator and animation film director Hayao Miyazaki,with Turning Point: 1997-2008. While the first book followed Miyazaki's early life and career well into the founding of Studio Ghibli, many North American fans will be most familiar with the time period this new 400 page hardcover given that it covers the creation of award-winning films like Spirited Away, The Cat Returns, Howl's Moving Castle, Tales From Earthsea and Ponyo.
Listen, I realize that I'm a little late to the party when it comes to Echiro Oda's One Piece. It's literally the best-selling manga of all time, but I've only just gotten into it over the past few months, on the recommendation of former CA writer David Brothers. I was hooked right away -- the book's signature mix of action, character, slapstick comedy and insanely over-the-top violence was fantastic right from the start, blending in a way that I find completely irresistible.
Then I got to volume 10, and the characters arrived in Arlong Park for a single fight scene that literally lasted for over 250 pages. And as someone who loves fight comics, I can say pretty confidently that it is quite possibly the best fight scene I have ever seen in comics. Not in manga, in all of comics. And believe me, I've seen a lot of 'em.
Under normal circumstance, a publisher announcing that it got the rights to a foreign series with plans for a US printing later in the year wouldn't be cause to get more than the usual amount of excited, but when the series is a classic from Naoki Urasawa that's described as a "post-Cold War thriller" about a world-traveling archaeologist/insurance investigator? I mean, that's like six different things that I'm into in one sentence, so rest assured that I am pumped about this news.
The series in question is Master Keaton, which debuted in 1988, set for release in 12 deluxe edition volumes as part of the Viz Signature line this December, and cannot get here fast enough.
One of my resolutions this year was to widen my comics reading horizons and try to get a little more into manga, and one of the titles that came most highly recommended, particularly from former ComicsAlliance writer David Brothers, was One-Punch Man. It sounded good, but I'll admit that I was a little reluctant to dive in with a title like that. I mean, I like comic books about punching a lot, so I wasn't sure that I was going to be satisfied with a comic that only promised one. If I'm only getting one punch, I need at least a couple of kicks and maybe someone throwing auto parts at another person. That's just the rules.
Fortunately, last week saw the release of a $6.99 digital collection of the first 200 pages of One-Punch Man, and when I took the risk to see what it was all about, I learned a very valuable lesson: It's not the quantity of punches that's important, it's the quality. And also the quantity of internal organs that go flying out of whoever's getting punched. That's a pretty big deal too.
After decades of being one of the most popular manga and anime series in the world, Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball, or at least the portion that was made into the anime Dragon Ball Z, is finally being released as a full-color comic in North America.
Viz will release the first volume, which it's calling Dragon Ball Full Color, on February 4 (It looks like it's actually Vol. 17 of the original manga/vol. 1 of Dragon Ball Z). It'll be $19.99 in print and $12.99 as a digital download from VIZManga.com and the Viz smartphone and tablet app.
The manga business has seemed like a rocky sea over the several years, but if there's one publisher that's gotten in front of the waves to surf with the changes it's been Viz Media. The first major manga publisher to debut a content-loaded app with less-than-print pricing on the iPad back in 2010, Viz continued to expand its efforts in the digital space on top of its print foundation and now offers a continually growing list of material on everything from the Kindle to Google Play. The business has continued to shift, however, and the following year Viz implemented a digital price increase to facilitate its own needs as a publisher as it looked ahead to 2014 and beyond. To learn more about how Viz spent 2013 and its publishing plans the coming year, CA got in touch with Eric Eberhardt, Senior Digital Marketing Manager and Kevin Hamric, Sr. Director Publishing Sales & Marketing. Read the full interview, after the jump.
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