Friday, October 10, 2008

Two new Naoki Urasawa series in English in 2009

I discovered today, with much excitement, that Viz is going to be releasing two long-running manga series by creator Naoki Urasawa, whose Monster is finishing up serialization with its eighteenth volume this December. It's long been known that Viz would release Urasawa's mystery/suspense/occult masterpiece 20th Century Boys, which they held back at the request of Urasawa himself, who wanted Monster published in English before the later and, in his opinion, more mature series. Viz has also announced now that they will be publishing Pluto, Urasawa's adult reimagination of Astro Boy, Osamu Tezuka's seminal children's manga about a boy robot. Both series will begin their English serialization in February 2009, with new volumes coming on a bimonthly schedule. It's obvious that Monster must have done well for Viz since they're going ahead with not only the series that everyone knew was next, but also the one that everyone was hoping would be coming soon. It's gratifying to see their commitment to this phenomenal creator bearing such rich fruits.

Pluto (volumes 1-3 of ? in February, March, April 2009)

20th Century Boys (volumes 1-2 of 22 in February, April 2009)

And anyone new to Urasawa should certainly get caught up with his remarkable series Monster, which will be complete by the end of this year with volume 18. The thriller storyline focuses primarily on a Japanese surgeon living in Germany, who saves a young boy in an operation and inadvertently becomes a murder suspect when the boy grows up to be a monstrous killer and a shadowy underground political figure. It's an addictive page-turner that blends politics, social commentary, and pulpy genre elements.

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