When I first heard the news that Viz Media was releasing a limited-edition pair of Bleach shoes (only 360 pairs being made!), my first thought was, "That's pretty cool." Take a hot property in animation, video games (and what amazing timing, new Bleach games for both the Wii and the NintendoDS are released today), and comics and create a snazzy looking piece of clothing around them. (The full press release is after the jump.) And these shoes? They look great.

And then it hit me-why aren't we seeing more higher-end comic-book tie-in clothing items?

Sure, there are tons of t-shirts related to comics, more than I can count. (I've certainly had my own collection of them over the years.) And who can forget the superhero Underoos for little kids, where they could be Superman or Spider-Man under their clothes? But I'm thinking a little nicer than that sort of thing, to be honest.

I do remember, about a decade ago, there being a really nice silk bathrobe with a Superman shield on the back available at the Warner Brothers Store. That was a great piece of merchandising, because let's face it, what man doesn't want to feel like Superman when he's down to just a robe? It's one of those clothing items that I now kick myself for not buying (although since I can just imagine my other half cackling at the thought, perhaps it's just as well I didn't), since it's nowhere to be found on the internet these days.

But think about a nice leather jacket with an X-Men circle-and-X logo on the breast, for instance. Or snazzy designer sneakers with the Green Lantern logo patterned across their sides. The sort of thing that at a glance just looks trendy and well-put-together, but for anyone who has half an inkling about what the logo is, there's that added sense of, "Hey, that's really cool" added to it.

With limited-edition runs on designer clothing items becoming more and more common (did you think that episode of Entourage about Turtle trying to get the rare sneakers made that up?) I can't help but think that most companies are missing out on a chance to make money, as well have really happy fans. Our credit cards are waiting. What are you ready to buy?

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Limited Edition Design Will Only Be Available Via VIZ Media Online Store at Store.viz.com

San Francisco, CA, October 9, 2007 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry's most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has teamed with alternative footwear manufacturer T.U.K. Shoes to offer limited edition BLEACH street shoes that will be offered exclusively through the VIZ Media online store at store.viz.com. The shoes will have a suggested retail price of $65 (USD) and will be limited to only 360 pairs. Pre-orders will be accepted only through the web site beginning today. Orders will be shipped to customers in mid-February 2008.

The BLEACH shoes will have a black and white smooth leather upper featuring a distressed white raised Shinigami logo on the outside, blue and red nylon stripes, and a plastic sole with a textured tread and a BLEACH logo insert. The inner lining is a black fabric mesh and each pair will include two sets of laces. The BLEACH shoes will be available in men's sizes 4-13. Women may purchase sizes by scaling down men's pairs by two sizes.

"T.U.K. Shoes is known for innovative, high quality designs with alternative appeal and we are proud to offer BLEACH fans a high quality item that will make a unique fashion statement," says Linda Espinosa, Vice President, Content Management. "The continued success of the BLEACH brand has created new opportunities for a variety of related products, and we are happy to offer fans this special item. Fans are encouraged to pre-order early to ensure availability of desired sizes."

BLEACH is a popular manga and anime series, distributed domestically by VIZ Media, that follows the adventures of Ichigo, a fifteen-year old student with the ability to see ghosts. When his family is attacked by a Hollow-a malevolent lost soul-Ichigo encounters Rukia, a Soul Reaper, and inadvertently absorbs her powers. Now, he's dedicating his life to protecting the innocent and helping tortured souls find peace. The pair encounters plenty of action as they investigate an intriguing range of spiritual mysteries and frequently run into all manner of malevolent and usually violent spirits and demons that are reluctant to return to their own world peacefully.

About VIZ Media, LLC

Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), is one of the most comprehensive and innovative companies in the field of manga (graphic novel) publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content. Owned by three of Japan's largest creators and licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan Production Co., Ltd. (ShoPro Japan), VIZ Media is a leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America and a global licensor of Japanese manga and animation. The company offers an integrated product line including, magazines such as SHONEN JUMP and SHOJO BEAT, graphic novels, videos, DVDs and audio soundtracks and develops and markets animated entertainment from initial production, television placement and distribution, to merchandise licensing and promotions for audiences and consumers of all ages.