Marvel and Del Rey announce Wolverine manga team

Marvel Entertainment and Del Rey Manga, an imprint of Ballantine Books at the Random House Publishing Group, announced today the creative team for a manga based on the popular X-Men character, Wolverine. The series will be written by Antony Johnston, author of the Alex Rider graphic novels Stormbreaker and Point Blanc. The manga will be illustrated by Wilson Tortosa, artist of Tomb Raider and Battle of the Planets.

The manga chronicles the history of Wolverine, a mutant best known for his adamantium claws. Logan, a rebellious teen training in a remote school in the Canadian wilderness, has no memory of his life prior to being found in the forest near the school. But that forgotten life is about to come after him with a vengeance in this shônen thriller. (Shônen manga is aimed at boys through their teens and focuses on action.)

The Del Rey Manga and Marvel collaboration was first announced at the New York Anime Festival 2007. The collaboration includes two manga series: one based on Wolverine and another based on the X-Men team. Done in a shôjo (girl’s manga) style, the X-Men manga will be illustrated by Indonesian artist Anzu (The Reformed) and written by the husband and wife team of Raina Telgemeier (The Baby-Sitters Club graphic novels) and Dave Roman (Agnes Quill).

Both the Wolverine and the X-Men manga titles will be created with the cooperation and consultation of Marvel editors, and are scheduled to debut in Spring 2009.

Dallas Middaugh, associate publisher of Del Rey Manga, says, “We couldn’t have picked a better team for this project. Antony has completely reimagined Wolverine, and has given him a gripping new back story. Wilson’s art is dynamic and very much in the style of shonen manga. This is going to be a great book!”

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.

“We are very excited to see our partners at Del Rey help expand the incredibly deep mythos of Wolverine—and the X-Men—via manga,” says Ruwan Jayatilleke, Vice President of Development of Marvel Entertainment, Inc. “Comic book and manga fans will be very happy with the new stories that are being forged by all of these dynamic creators.“

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.