Yep, it was true, Marvel and Del Rey announced a small — four book — but brainy venture. A shojo manga version of the X-men written by Raina Telegemeier and Dave Roman with art by Anzu, and a Wolverine shonen manga written by Antony Johnston. Both series are planned for Spring 2009 and will run for two volumes. Both will reimagine the characters for a YA manga audience, while keeping the elements that have made them so popular.
Below are some of Anzu’s VERY preliminary character sketches for the X-men. Wolverine is positively bishonen — it’s our understanding that he won’t be appearing in the shojo X-men book, however we missed the very start of the panel so we may be wrong on this.
Official PR in the jump.
Marvel Entertainment and Del Rey Manga, an imprint of Ballantine Books at the Random House Publishing Group, announced today plans to publish two new manga series based on Marvel Entertainment’s highly popular X-Men series.
The manga, created with the cooperation and consultation of Marvel editors, will take the classic characters from the X-Men series and re-imagine them in a manga style. The first project, scripted by the husband-and-wife team of Raina Telgemeier (writer and illustrator of The Babysitter’s Club graphic novels) and Dave Roman (creator of the comic Agnes Quill), will focus specifically on the X-Men team. Indonesian artist Anzu will illustrate the two-volume series, which will go on sale in Spring 2009.
It’s the X-Men as you’ve never seen them before, with the storyline fashioned as a private school shôjo comedy. (Shôjo manga is aimed at girls and often covers popular subjects such as comedy, romance, and drama.) As the only girl in the all-boys School for Gifted Youngsters, Kitty Pryde, a mutant with phasing abilities, is torn between the popular Hellfire Club, led by flame-throwing mutant Pyro–and the school misfits, whom she eventually bands together as the X-Men.
A second manga series, to be published in Spring 2009, follows the adventures of Wolverine, a breakout member of the X-Men team known for his attitude and unbreakable adamantium claws.
Dallas Middaugh, associate publisher of Del Rey Manga, says, “The X-Men are some of the most well-known characters in the world, and it’s the strength of those characters-along with strong and unique storylines-that make the X-Men a perfect match for the manga form. It’s an amazing opportunity, and we’re eager to bring new interpretations to the fans through the prism of manga.”
The X-Men made their comics debut in The X-Men #1 in 1963 and have since become a mainstream pop culture phenomenon with the development of an animated television series, several video games and a blockbuster live-action film trilogy.
Ruwan Jayatilleke, Vice President of development of Marvel Entertainment, Inc., said “Del Rey Manga has been an innovative force in the manga landscape—consistently growing the medium and breaking the boundaries of print. We have found a partner who will bring the X-Men and Wolverine into the fastest growing segment of graphic fiction, with superior storytelling and visual fireworks. Comic book fans and manga readers have much to look forward to.”
Manga, the Japanese term for comics, is a Japanese cultural phenomenon that accounts for nearly half of all the books and magazines sold in Japan. Read by men and women of all ages, manga covers a wide variety of themes including adventure, romance, fantasy, and more. Manga has experienced incredible growth in the US and Canadian graphic novel market in the past few years. According to industry source ICv2 manga sales reached between $170 million and $200 million in 2006.