NY Comic-Con 2013: Vertical Adds New Anno, Attack on Titan Novels
At their Friday morning panel at New York Comic-Con 2013, Vertical announced two new titles for 2014: a one-shot about eating disorders by Moyoco Anno (creator of Sakuran and Insufficient Direction, also from Vertical), and light novels based on the bestselling sci-fi/fantasy/action manga, Attack on Titan.
Attack on Titan: Before the Fall, by Hajime Isayama, Suzukaze Ryo, with art by THORES Shibamoto – Summer 2014
This three-volume light novel (illustrated novel) series takes place 70 years before the events depicted in the Attack on Titan manga. Since the action in the novels happens well before Eren, Mikasa and other members of the Survey Corps were born, the story focuses on two new characters: a weapons maker, and a child born with a strange connection to the Titans, who grows up to fight against them.
Kodansha Comics will be publishing the manga version of these stories in March 2014, (along with a whole lot of other Attack on Titan-related titles).
In the Clothes Named Fat (Shibou to Iu Na no Fuku o Kite) by Moyocco Anno – Summer 2014
Moyoco Anno has never shied away from depicting women and women’s issues with brutal honesty. While her stories are often laced with humor and matter-of-fact sexiness, Anno isn’t afraid to delve into the not-so-pretty side of women’s lives.
In The Clothes Called Fat (Shibou to Iu Na no Fuku o Kite) by Moyocco Anno © Moyocco Anno / SHODENSHA
In the Clothes Called Fat is a one-volume story about a young woman who suffers from low self-esteem. She’s overweight, and surrounded by women who are slim and glamorous. So when she decides to go on a crash course to lose weight, her quest lands her on an emotional rollercoaster of bingeing and purging that leaves her wondering if the end really justifies the means.
Besides these two titles, Vertical also spotlighted some of their Fall 2013 releases, and another title for 2014 that was announced at Anime Weekend Atlanta.
Prophecy (Yokokuhan) by Tetsuya Tsutsui – September 2014
Going against the N. American licensing truism that manga published by Shueisha are almost always published in North America by VIZ Media (which is partly owned by Shueisha), Vertical raised a few eyebrows when they picked up the license to publish this three-volume action/suspense series that was originally serialized in Jump Kai, one of the many magazines geared to different readers in Shueisha’s Jump line.
Prophecy Vol. 1 by Tetsuya Tsutui | © Tetsuya Tsutsui / SHUEISHA
While this is one of the rare exceptions to that “rule,” other publishers have published Shueisha and Shogakukan titles in the past (Dark Horse publishing GANTZ being another notable example). If this opens the door for Vertical to publish more manga from Shueisha, well, that would be pretty swell. But I digress.
Prophecy is set in modern-day Tokyo, where a cyberterrorist is taking to the airwaves to predict horrible crimes and tragic events, that become news when his prophecies come true. Why is he doing this? What does he hope to accomplish? When authorities track the terrorist to a cybercafe, things get… complicated, as the terrorist inexplicably gains online support from other misfits and outcasts.
BESTSELLERS AND COMING ATTRACTIONS FOR FALL 2013
Besides chatting about Vertical’s latest acquisitions, Vertical Marketing Director Ed Chavez also talked about some of their recent bestsellers, notable Fall 2013 titles, and an idea for a subscription service that Vertical is considering implementing in the months to come.
- The 10th volume of Chi’s Sweet Home, Konami Konata’s charming all-ages manga about a curious kitten was recently released to strong sales. Chavez also noted that thanks to its success overseas, this series is now slated to be 13-volumes long, rather than the originally planned 10-volume run.
Tropic of the Sea by Satoshi Kon | © Satoshi Kon / KODANSHA
Tropic of the Sea, an early manga by anime master Satoshi Kon (Paprika) is also enjoying strong sales. Kon had worked as an assistant to Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira), and the influence shows in Tropic of the Sea, an early work that Kon had created in college. “It’s been doing really well for us, we’re getting a lot of re-orders,” said Chavez. “We’re looking into publishing more Kon”
- Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin is “our best seller this year,” Chavez reported. When asked about the possibility of publishing any Gundam novels, he replied, “We are not looking into them at this time, but Gundam is on our mind. We’re definitely thinking of doing more with Gundam.”
- Continuing with their releases of manga with anime ties, Vertical is also publishing the two volume adaptation of Summer Wars, Mamoru Hosoda’s award-winning anime about a teen and a tight-knit family who bands together to fight a malevolent artificial intelligence. Look for Volume 1 to hit bookstores on October 22, with Volume 2 to follow on December 17.
- Loosely based on a novel by Swedish philosopher Soren Kirkegaard, Sickness Unto Death is a two-volume story by Hikaru Asada and Takahiro Seguchi about an award-winning violinist whose promising career comes to an end due to an unfortunate accident. When she welcomes a boarder into her home, her relationship with this young man transforms the both of them in dark and unexpected ways. Volume 1 is available now, and Volume 2 will be released on November 19.
Pink by Kyoko Okazaki | © Kyoko Okazaki / MAGAZINE HOUSE
Pink: Love and Crocodiles is Vertical’s second release from josei manga creator Kyoko Okazaki (the first was Helter Skelter, a dark tale about a famous model/actress who undergoes plastic survey to become beautiful and becomes increasingly unhinged as her body decays due to the drastic reconstruction she endured.) Pink is about “a modern day woman who is willing to do anything for love.” This is an earlier work by Okazaki from the 1980’s that was somewhat of a touchstone for young women at the time, for how it promoted the idea of a young single girl just doing whatever she thinks will make her happy, conventions and social expectations be damned. “We’ve got good response to our josei titles – especially from bookstores,” said Chavez. “They’re very intrigued by this category! We’ll see how this pans out.”
- From the New World is another new Vertical manga with an anime tie-in — but this time with more of a sci-fi bent. As Chavez described the plot of this series, “a group of teens in the distant future are sent to another planet train their ESP. To prevent chaos, they try to form bonds with each other, to relieve built up tension.” I flipped through this book at the show and I saw a bit of what those teens do to “relieve built-up tension,” and it’s not by playing a rowdy round of foosball. (cough, cough). Look for the first volume of this series in November.
SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR VERTICAL BOOKS?
Besides talking about their upcoming releases for 2013-2014 (including What Did You Eat Yesterday? by Fumi Yoshinaga), Chavez also floated out a new way to buy Vertical titles: by subscription. The idea is that readers would sign up in advance to buy an entire manga series, or receive all titles that Vertical releases that fit in a certain genres (like, say all josei titles, or all sci-fi titles).
“When we get them at the warehouse, we’ll then send them to you. You’d get them at a discount, and get promotional swag like bookmarks, etc. if it’s available,” said Chavez. Why is Vertical considering this very different approach to selling manga? “There’s been a situation in US market about series length,” explained Chavez. If you’ve gone to a Barnes and Noble, you’ll notice that their shelf space is limited for manga. For a title like Chi’s Sweet Home, which is a very strong seller, you might go into a store and only see three copies of volume 10.”
Vertical polled fans via their Tumblr site — but what do you think about this idea? Is it something that you might sign up for, to ensure that you get every volume of a favorite series? Chime in with your comments at Vertical’s Tumblr blog — it might be pretty interesting if they decide to go through with this!