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?
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.