Monday, April 21, 2008

SECRET PROJECT REVEALED!

After many months, Evan and I are very excited to announce the publication details for our labor of love. The book is...


TOKYO ZOMBIE by Yusaku Hanakuma!

The release date of Tokyo Zombie is September 18, and the manga's being published by Last Gasp. Last Gasp is working hard to be able to debut the book at San Diego Comic Con, and we will be there promoting this manga with Colin Turner (our awesome editor at Last Gasp, who is behind this book, Barefoot Gen, Town of Evening Calm, Junko Mizuno's Pure Trance and many other gems).

Tokyo Zombie is a self-contained story featuring Yusaku Hanakuma's two characters Afro and Hage. It was originally serialized in AX Magazine in 1998-1999, and was collected and published the year after by Seirinkogeisha. Seirinkogeisha is an incredbile indie/underground manga publisher, and publish the vast majority of Same Hat favorites including Suehiro Maruo, Takashi Nemoto, Shintaro Kago, Kazuichi Hanawa and many, many others.

Tokyo Zombie was also made into a movie a few years ago, starring Tadanobu Asano and Sho Aikawa and features a short cameo by Kazuo Umezu! The storyline for the movie differs from the manga, but this is probably where most folks have heard of the book (but we hope to change that this summer).

Through researching this project (sitting around reading tons of awesome manga and learning Jiu-Jitsu terminology), Yusaku Hanakuma has become one of my absolute favorite contemporary cartoonists. I haven't gotten to gush about his work much yet on the blog, for fear of giving away the project, but over the coming months I'll be posting more info about him and his work. Tokyo Zombie is his first book to be released in English, and I'm hoping to be able to work on more in the future.



For the project, I've worked as the translator and editor, while Evan has beautifully handled all the lettering and retouching, along with designing an awesome cover for the English edition. It's been basically our absolute dream gig, and we had a blast working on such an hilarious and gross manga. I think you guys are gonna really, really like this one. In the comments and later on, I'll be happy to post more specifics about our work, but first I wanted to make this announcement as quickly as possible!

For your reading pleasure, here is the book summary and details, which will soon be on Last Gasp's site and the Amazon listing. Stores can pre-order the book directly from Last Gasp, and I definitely encourage you to ask your local shop to order you a copy (more details on doing that soon). I'd be supremely geeked if this book is an alternative manga success story... And you guys are gonna make that happen, right?

DESCRIPTION:
Tokyo Zombie is a horror-comedy manga about two blue-collar factory workers, Mitsuo and Fujio, whose plans for martial arts fame are sidelined when zombies take over Tokyo. In this gory and hilarious tale, the survivors of the zombie apocalypse have been enslaved by the wealthy ruling class, and must cater to their every depraved whim...or be thrown outside the city to fend for themselves. When some of the survivors are enlisted to fight in an undead gladiator arena for the amusement of the rich, Mitsuo and Fujio are locked in a battle for fame, freedom, and their very lives!

Years before Shaun of the Dead introduced Western audiences to the zombie comedy genre, Yusaku Hanakuma's hilarious and outrageous manga was already a cult classic in Japan. Tokyo Zombie's class-conscious storyline about the haves and the have-nots during a zombie uprising anticipated such films as George Romero's Land of the Dead. Now English-speaking audiences will have the chance to check out the genre-mashing tale that started it all.

PRAISE FOR TOKYO ZOMBIE:

"This book is fucking awesome. I laughed out loud several times even and I can't remember the last time a comic made me do that. Tokyo Zombie is retarded, weird, violent, bizarre, horrific, hilarious, and pornographic. In other words, everything a comic should be and then some."
- Johnny Ryan, cartoonist and author of Angry Youth Comix

"A cross between Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, 28 Days Later, Planet Terror, and Bloodsport, Tokyo Zombie is an epic tale that's either really dumb or an allegory of a twisted society."
- Eric Nakamura, publisher of Giant Robot

More details coming soon... I can't wait for everyone to get the chance to read this book!!!
PS: As a bonus, here is a gallery with images from Tokyo Zombie and paintings by Hanakuma, from a gallery show in 2005.

35 comments:

zytroop said...

haha wow, Yusaku Hanakuma in English :3 Congratulations!

What will the format of the book be in? I didn't think Last Grasp would touch Yusaku Hanakuma though, that seems more like a PictureBox kind of artist

bittermelon said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! this is huge (that's what she said), and i can't think of a more perfect duo to be trusted with this project. i'm so excited to get my grubby little paws on at least a review copy?! thanks for finally sharing, you turd. we should celebrate. soon.

vivian said...

Holy crap! AMAZING!!! Congrats to both of you!!!

Evan said...

Just to echo what my partner-in-crime Ryan had to say, Tokyo Zombie is a ridiculous / awesome comic that we think you'll all enjoy a lot. Please be sure to pick up a copy when it comes out and do your part to make sure things like this can keep being released! This was an incredibly fun project to work on, and I can't wait to see what everyone thinks of it.

John T said...

That is great! I have been hoping to see Mitstuo and Fujio in English (they can also be found in a mondo-bizarro 4-panel every month in EIGA HIHO magazine. Guess what just jumped to the top of my "looking forward to in 2008" list.

Congrats, gents!

kouros said...

I knew this was coming out, but I didn't know it was your secret project. Congratulations, and thanks for all the hard work. I can't wait. Plus, it's like a week after my birthday. Best gift ever.

Pedro Camargo said...

WHOOOOAAAA Awesome! I look forward to reading it, congrats!!!! I've seen the movie and it was greatttt.

ryan said...

@zytroop:
Thanks! The format of the English edition will mirror the Japanese book, and will be softcover and a similar size.

PictureBox is doing some really cool heta uma books, but Last Gasp has a pretty interesting manga track record too. I think you'll be seeing more cool stuff from LG in the coming years, if they decide to move ahead with some of the plans I've heard.

ryan said...

@bittermelon: thanks dude! I'll let you know when we get preview copies back from the printer (and hope to get approval to give some away via this site too).

Celebration on Wednesday at drawing night!!

ryan said...

@Vivian: Thanks viv! Evan and I had a really good time working on it.

ryan said...

@john t: Thanks John! I hope you really enjoy it (and it's not the last time we get to see those two in English). I have a collection of 4-panel manga by Hanakuma I got in Japan just now, maybe that's the Eiga Hiho stuff? I need to take a second look at it tonight (I bought more manga than I can process during this trip.. whoops!).

Can't wait for you to read it this summer :)

ryan said...

@kouros: Thanks for the support. Happy Birthday, dude!

ryan said...

@pedro: Thanks! I didn't let myself watch the movie while doing the translation, but I've seen some clips. Glad to hear that you guys are into this. It's basically the perfect book if like the usual stuff we write about on the blog.

kouros said...

Hahaha, no, sorry, I guess my post wasn't very clear. My birthday's September 12, so the book's release will be very close to my birthday.

ryan said...

@kouros: Sorry, my reply was dumb. I meant to say that this way Tokyo Zombie can be your birthday present! So hopefully that will help you have a happy birthday :)

kouros said...

It will be a very happy birthday indeed. This, the Vagabond omnibus and art books, Black Jack...

lostphrack said...

Nice! Congrats guys. Sounds great and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a copy!

Dylan Acres said...

Oh very cool! This is indeed a huge deal! Congratulations to you both. I can't wait to check this out.

Anonymous said...

Well done, guys! I remember seeing some online places selling the DVD for the Tokyo Zombie movie, and hearing it was from a manga... that hadn't been translated into English yet. So, I'm psyched to be able to read it!

andre said...

Consider it bought!

rgermick said...

Yay! Way to be awesome, gents!

zack soto said...

fuck, that's awesome sounding!

a tree said...

this manga sounds like a lot of fun indeed, and I look forward to give you guys contribution by ordering a copy of this...i've seen the tokyo zombie movie last night and was well entertained so I'm excited about that manga..cheers

ryan said...

@lostphrak: Thanks dude! It sounds like we may have copies as early as June, so I'll keep you posted when they are looking for reviewers.

ryan said...

@dylan: Thanks Dylan! Hopefully more projects will be following (fingers crossed)

ryan said...

@anonymous anonymous: Thanks! I hear that the movie is licensed by another company but I'm sure if/when they are planning to release it...

ryan said...

@andre: Aw shucks, thanks Andre! I hope you find it a 10 bucks well spent :) Hanakuma is really, really awesome!

ryan said...

@rgermick: Thanks duder!

ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ryan said...

@a tree: Thanks for the post, dude. It's gonna be a small book but I hope the fans of indie/weird manga (and zombies, OF COURSE ZOMBIES!) come out and support this book. If it does well, that means that Hanakuma will get to develop an English audience and Last Gasp can push ahead with more weird manga books. WIN WIN WIN.
haha

noel troll said...

totally awesome, can't wait.

Anonymous said...

I think the price point is pretty impressive too, how it's as cheap as the latest volume of Naruto/Fruits Basket

ryan said...

@zack soto: The comics is really fun! We just tried not to mess up the great story and art of Hanakuma in adapting it. I really hope more of his stuff will be able to come out in English in the future!

ryan said...

@noel: thanks!!

ryan said...

@anonymous: Yeah, I was happily surprised that the book could be only 10 bucks! It's one-volume, and about the size of a volume of Fruits Basket, but you're getting an indie manga, a complete story! and some of the finest production work I've seen in a manga (nice work, Evan)!

I hope you agree.