I'm still enjoying the hell out of their Dororo editions (just read Volume 2 last week, will post thoughts on that and other stuff I'm reading soon), but they've decided to start their onslaught of Black Jack buzz.
Everyone worth their manga mettle has at least heard the name of the expansive Black Jack serial already, which is considered by a lot of folks as the greatest series by the greatest cartoonist ever. A tall order, but not far from the truth. Viz took a shot at publishing this series previously, and managed to get two fantastic volumes out in the '90s before pulling the plug. Those books are short and hard to find, but still remain utterly shocking and thrilling collections.
Now, we're about to head off on an odyssey of awesomeness, as the first volume (of 15+ total?) is released by Vertical on September 23, 2008. The publication plan according to them is to:
...Release the Black Jack episodes in the order that Tezuka indicated for a hardcover “Deluxe Edition” planned before his untimely death in 1989 at the age of 60. Each 300-page volume of the Vertical, Inc. series will feature a dozen-plus stories, most published in English for the first time. The Vertical volumes will also embody the high production standards that readers have come to expect, not only from the publisher’s Tezuka output, but also its line of Japanese pop fiction.
I was dubious at first about the overly-busy cover designs, with a simple 4-color block slapped front and center; From this picture of the coming volume stacks, though, it looks like that's simply a slipcover over a crazy B&W collage of Tezuka panels. If that's the case, I think I'll be taking the slips off the books and stacking them up as pictured here:
The big finale here, Vertical has posted a preview of a new story from Volume 2-- about beach surgery on a Killer Whale! HUZZAH!
UPDATE: It sounds like Diamond will be offering exclusive hardcover editions of the first three Black Jack volumes via Previews, with an additional story thrown in to boot. Hmmmm. (Tip via kouros!)