Naoki Urasawa is probably the greatest living genre cartoonist. Sorry ya’ll but it’s all true. Combining dense, suspenseful plotlines with thrilling, heart stopping artwork that never sacrifices character, he’s just the master. He’s even won an Eisner Award.Works in English, all published by Viz include MONSTER, PLUTO and 20th CENTURY BOYS. And now, MASTER KEATON, an early (pre-Monster) work from 1988 about a heroic insurance investigator who goes around using his archaeological skills to solve mysteries. SOLD. The series was co-written by Hokusei Katsushika and Takashi Nagasaki.
Viz is bringing it out in its deluxe Signature editions starting in December – each volume will includes an 18 page color section. If you’re a Urasawa fan, you’ve already cleared a space on the shelf for it. Unfortunately, Urasawa-sensei is notoriously digital averse (he needs to go hang out with Mark Millar, methinks) so the only legal English versions of his work are the Viz print editions.
MASTER KEATON was a popular anime series and has been adapted into film and a sequel is currently being publsihed in Japan, so this makes bringing it to US readers even more of a natural.
I’m so darned exciting I’m including the entire PR:
VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, has announced it has acquired the North American publishing rights for Naoki Urasawa’s post–Cold War suspense thriller, MASTER KEATON. The 12-volume manga (graphic novel) series has never before been available in English and is scheduled to launch in print in December under the VIZ Signature imprint.
MASTER KEATON was created and drawn by the award-winning manga artist Naoki Urasawa, story coproduced with Hokusei Katsushika and Takashi Nagasaki. MASTER KEATON will be rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens and carry an MSRP of $19.99 U.S. / $22.99 CAN. Each paperback volume will receive a deluxe treatment, including 18 pages of full-color artwork. In addition to publishing MASTER KEATON in North America, VIZ Media will also release it in print in the United Kingdom and Australia.
The riveting detective drama introduces Taichi Hiraga-Keaton, an archeology professor and part-time insurance investigator known for his successful and unorthodox methods of investigation. The son of a Japanese zoologist and an English noblewoman, educated in archaeology at Oxford and a former member of the SAS, Master Keaton uses his knowledge and combat training to uncover buried secrets, thwart would-be villains, and pursue the truth. The manga series was originally published in Japan between 1988 and 1994 in Big Comic Original magazine and also inspired a popular 39-episode anime adaptation.
“We’re thrilled to debut a deluxe edition of the Eisner Award-winning Naoki Urasawa’s MASTER KEATON series this December,” says Amy Yu, Editor. “Tales of intrigue and espionage are presented with the highly detailed artwork and masterful attention to plot development for which Urasawa is internationally renowned. Fans current and new won’t want to miss the tense action and the heady chase for truth in MASTER KEATON!”
Naoki Urasawa’s career as a manga artist spans more than twenty years and has firmly established him as one of the true manga masters of Japan. The acclaimed creator won a 2011 Eisner Award for Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia for his series, 20th CENTURY BOYS (also published by VIZ Media). Born in Tokyo in 1960, Urasawa debuted with Beta! in 1983 and hasn’t stopped his impressive output since. Well-versed in a variety of genres, Urasawa’s oeuvre encompasses a multitude of different subjects, such as a romantic comedy (Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl), a suspenseful human drama about a former mercenary (Pineapple Farm; story by Kazuya Kudo), a captivating psychological suspense story (Naoki Urasawa’s Monster), a sci-fi adventure manga (NAOKI URASAWA’S 20th CENTURY BOYS), and a modern reinterpretation of the work of the God of Manga, Osamu Tezuka in Pluto: UrAsawa × Tezuka. Many of his books have also spawned popular animated and live-action TV movies, and 2008 saw the theatrical release of the first of three live-action Japanese films based on NAOKI URASAWA’S 20th CENTURY BOYS.
No stranger to accolades and awards, Urasawa is a three-time recipient of the prestigious Shogakukan Manga Award, a two-time recipient of the Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize, and has received the Kodansha Manga Award. Urasawa has also become involved in the world of academia, and in 2008 accepted a guest teaching post at Nagoya Zokei University, where he teaches courses in, of course, manga.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.