First post back, let's talk Tezuka. As announced about a month ago, Vertical's Spring 2008 line-up includes a 3-volume release of Dororo. The covers for Volumes 1 and 2 are online at Amazon, and I'm happy to report...
Before we check them out, let's take a quick look back... Here is what we've gotten from Chip (to date):
BUDDHA. Sleek and simple hard cover books with continuous spines depicting Buddha's entire life. Set the standard for fancy, high price point manga editions and won tons of awards.
ODE TO KIRIHITO. A crazy cover for a crazy story, this cover featured a vertical obi that could be slid back and forth depicting the transmutation of Dr. Kirihito. The inside flaps depicted menacing, shadowy scenes and the entire volume was thicker than the bible. He even used that font everyone seems to use before it got played out.
TO TERRA: For each volume, Chip juxtaposes one of Takemiya's detailed and emotional close-ups with a battle/earth scene. The author and book details are a bit busy on the front and back covers, and it's hard to tell each indvidual volume apart. They're good but not great.
APOLLO'S SONG: Well, the color scheme is bold and sort of fresh, but I don't feel any immediate connection to the contents of the book. The crying close-up face is actually a fake obi (glued-on) that gives the illusion of a nude female below. The image underneath is actually tame, and the obi on my book got caught on something in my bag and tore. There's a lot going on here, but it didn't come together for me.
ANDROMEDA STORIES: Dude, it's just.. faces? All in profile looking to the left? I like the idea behind sticking Takemiya's usually breath-taking art front and center, but these covers seemed kind of flimsy to me. The typography and entire bottom bar look more like an advanced preview copy.
OKAY, NOW FOR THE NEW STUFF
MW: OH SHIT, CHIP. This is more like it! The black and purple is totally striking, and the rectangular panels with parallel MW = ムウ totally works. This cover drips of depravity and bad morals and I love it. Tezuka's art provides so many raw images and options, and Kidd chose well here.
[[UPDATE: As noted in the comments below, the Dororo covers were done by new Vertical Art Director, Peter Mendelsund! He posted to say,
wow- i ended up on this page totally by accident- and saw your post. Actually, I designed the Dororo covers, all three- and now am hard at work on Tezuka's magnum opus "Black Jack" for Vertical press, where I just started as Art Director. I figgered, as long as i landed here, I might as well set the record straight!
Keep on keeping on,
DORORO: When I saw these covers on Amazon my first reaction was, HOLY SHIT! NO WAY! That's the kind of design I'm talking about! Dororo seems like a cute adventure, but it's basically about a warrior traveling around killing demons to reclaim forty-eight (48!!) missing body parts.
These covers include lots of imagery NOT from inside the book, depicting limbs, organs and tissues, like a grisly Invisible Man toy set meets Phoebe Gloeckner's Atrocity Exhibition illustrations.
Here are a few other incarnations of Dororo, a cover from a Japanese release and the live-action adaptation poster:
And if you can't get enough, here is the trailer to the Dororo film (released in Japan earlier this year. I hear that Sony has the US rights for the movie but isn't sure yet how to market and release it for American audiences...