Ablaze has announced it is adding more manga to its line with Versus Fighting Story on August 18, and Crueler Than Dead on September 29 – in both print and digital editions.
Versus Fighting Story – by Izu, Mad and Kalon – is, according to the PR, “the first manga dedicated to e-sports competition” and has the backing of Street Fighter owner Capcom and the fighting game community. Looks like sports shonen goodness. The synopsis,
“Max Volta, leader of a team of professional players, launches an assault on the Capcom Pro Tour, one of the major international competitions for Street Fighter V. Everything does not happen as expected for the arrogant and overconfident Max… even after being named top pick to win the tournament, he suffers a crushing defeat. Max takes it out on his friends, which leads to his sponsors pulling out. He is afraid his career is over. But then the mysterious Inés offers to return to the basics of “VS fighting” and put together a team capable of beating the Japanese god of fighting games…and which will cause a storm in the world of professional gaming.
Whether you’re a beginner or a combat game specialist, you’ll enjoy taking a dive into the heart of the competition in this humorous adventure and its gallery of colorful characters!”
Crueler Than Dead, by Tsukasa Saimura and Kozo Takahashi, is a post-apocalyptic zombie tale with an interesting premise. It appears to be the first of two volumes:
“No one knows where it started…but when the world finally realized what was going on, it was already too late.
When Maki Akagi wakes up in a lab full of corpses, she learns from a dying soldier that she is the result of a last-ditch experiment to cure humans of a virus turning them into zombies. Accompanied by a young boy who also miraculously escaped, she will have to try to get to the very center of a devastated Tokyo filled with bloodthirsty monsters. The dome located there contains the last survivors of mankind. And humanity’s very survival depends solely on a few drops of this miraculous vaccine…
Inspired by Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira), The Walking Dead, Romero classics, and new zombie films like 24 Hours Later, Crueler Than Dead delights in the meticulous detail of decomposed flesh, with a wicked and hungry eye…evoking a modern vision of a zombie world that is terrifying and tension filled.”
Ablaze is a relatively young publisher. It began operation in 2019 and already has a reasonably impressive slate of titles in its catalogue – including the European adaptations of Robert E. Howard’s signature Conan character – retitled The Cimmerian to avoid confusion with the Marvel published US version. It also boasts Charlie Adlard‘s first post-Walking Dead comic Vampire State Building with writers Ange and Patrick Renault; plus Wilfrid Lupano and Paul Cauuet‘s delightful elderly misadventure capers Old Geezers. While it initially focused on US reprints of European bande dessinée material, the company introduced the Ablaze Manga line in June 2020 with Kachou Hashimoto‘s Cagaster.