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NYCC 2012: Vertical Publishing Announces "Helter Skelter", Tezuka's "Twin Knights", Talks Upcoming Manga

Vertical Publishing’s Friday panel unveiled a pair of new announcements as well as discussion of Vertical’s publishing lineup for 2013. In July of next year Vertical will release Kyoko Okazaki’s Helter Skelter, a Josei manga (targeted toward older women) about the fashion industry and a leading character that will go to any lengths necessary to stay on top of it – including a full body makeover. The first volume will be 320 pages long, costing $16.95. Also coming in July 2013 is Osamu Tezuka’s Twin Knights, a sequel to Tezuka’s gender-bending children’s adventure tale Princess Knight. It tells the story of Princess Sapphire’s twin children, a boy and a girl, who have to fend off threats posted by Sapphire’s old enemies and deal with the competing agendas of those who have their own ideas about which sibling should lead their kingdom. The book will be 248 pages long and sell for $12.95.

Vertical’s Ed Chavez also discussed details regarding other upcoming releases. In regard to Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, Chavez explained that author Yoshikazu Yasuhiko removed “filler” and comedy and toy-driven elements from the classic anime to create a “hard-boiled space drama”. It was also made clear that Vertical’s premium hardcover release of the comic would be a true “limited edition”, as there are no plans to reprint the books and Vertical considers this release an experiment. As such, there will be a “short window” to collect the books. Each volume will include color pages spaced throughout the book similar to Vertical’s release of Sakuran, and they will also include essays from “luminaries of the industry”. Chavez identified Hideki Anno as an example, as well as CLAMP and the original mecha designer for Mobile Suit Gundam, Kunio Okawara. The first book will number 440 pages with a retail price of $29.95.

For Ai Yazawa’s Paradise Kiss, Chavez remarked that if the title did well the company would be looking into picking up more Josei manga. The first of three volumes released this month, with the second volume coming in December with more color pages included.

Also newly released is Heroman, which tells the tale of a boy whose toy robot transforms into a far larger robot warrior that he uses to fight back against an alien invasion. The manga is illustrated by Tamon Ohta, with the story written by Stan Lee. Chavez noted that the final volume would be much larger than the others as in Japan, but that Vertical would keep the price point consistent. He also asserted that while it looks like a kid’s title at first glance it “reads quite well” and takes a different direction from the animated series done by studio BONES.

Mtsuhisa Kuji’s medieval fantasy story Wolfsmund is dated for release in July 2013. Because the manga comes out slowly in Japan, Vertical will catch up to the Japanese release relatively soon. Chavez noted that Kuji was a former assistant to Kaoru Mori (A Bride’s Story) and Kentaro Miura (Berserk), going on to praise him for “impeccable” attention to detail and excellent research.

Other manga highlighted at the panel follow below:

The science fiction mecha action manga Knights of Sidonia volume 1, due February 2013.

Keiko Suenobu’s Limit, volume 4 in March 2013, a shojo manga that focuses on topical themes regarding bullying and cliques.

Asumiko Nakamura’s UtsuBora – A Story of a Novelist, a murder mystery with “numbers and numbers of layers” concerning a murdered author, a witness to the murder that somehow ends up publishing her last work, and a lookalike of the author that appears in the aftermath of that. Vertical is collecting the two-volume work into a single omnibus in June 2013.

The second and last hardcover omnibus for Osamu Tezuka’s Message to Adolf will be released in December 2012. Vertical’s release features a new translation for Tezuka’s historical fiction tale of two boys named Adolf from very different walks of life that become mixed up in a web of intrigue regarding a secret about the lineage of Adolf Hitler himself.

Volume 5 of Shuzo Oshiimi’s Flowers of Evil, described as a surprising “sleeper hit” for the company, is due in April 2013.

Finally, Vertical will continue to release Tohru Fujisawa’s GTO: 14 Days in Shonan throughout 2013. Chavez would like to do more with the Great Teacher Onizuka property, but the company will focus on this particular title alone for the coming year.

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