Scholastic Graphix has announced that they will be publishing Unico: Awakening, a new middle-grade reader graphic novel from writer Samuel Sattin (author of Buzzing and co-author of The Kids’ Guide to Anime and Manga) with art and character designs by the Japanese creative team Gurihiru (who co-created Eisner Award-winning Superman Smashes the Klan with Gene Luen Yang for DC Comics, and It’s Jeff! for Marvel). The first book, Unico Awakening will hit bookstore and comic shop shelves in August 2024. Scholastic’s deal also includes three additional graphic novels featuring the continuing adventures of Unico, as well as a handbook and an activity book.
Unico Awakening reimagines Osamu Tezuka’s classic character for a new generation of readers. This first volume is a re-telling of “The Cat on The Broomstick,” where Unico meets a cat who wishes to be adopted by a witch. It was originally introduced in May 2022 as a Kickstarter campaign that reached its initial $50,000 goal within its first 24 hours. It eventually got over $179,000 pledged from over 2400 backers.
Per Sattin’s update on the Unico Awakening Kickstarter page, people who backed the original campaign will receive an exclusive printed or digital version of graphic novel that will include additional material that won’t be included in the Scholastic Graphix edition, including illustrations from all of the art prints offering in the campaign by artists like Akira Himekawa (The Legend of Zelda manga), Kamome Shirahama (Witch Hat Atelier) and Peach Momoko (X-Men Demon Days), along with other special surprises to differentiate them from Scholastic’s print edition of the story.
The story of Unico follows a young unicorn with the ability to positively affect human emotions. This makes Venus, the Goddess of Love jealous, so she banishes Unico from the heavens and sends him across all of space and time. Each time he lands in a new place, the little unicorn loses his memories of who he once was. Thankfully, he’s not alone, as the spirit of the West Wind looks out for Unico, taking him from era to era, putting him in the path of people who will befriend him and possibly need his help.
The original Unico manga by Osamu Tezuka was published by Digital Manga Publishing in 2012 via their own Kickstarter campaign, but is currently out of print and only available digitally.