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Over the last few days, an exciting rumor, doubtless started at AX 2006, suggested that Vertical might be publishing an English version of PLUTO by Naoki Urasawa (MONSTER). Translation for non-manga readers: Urasawa is the, um, Grant Morrison of Japan, reinventing Tezuka Osamu’s Astro Boy with a dark, post-modern sensibility.

Alas, a writer—probably Anne Ishii—is quickly along to kill that rumor yet deliver a bit of good news:

1. We would sell a left nut belonging to one of the male Vertical-ites to get Naoki Urasawa on out roster. As of yet, all men chez nous are bi-testicled. I.e. Urasawa is still a Viz author.

2. Urasawa is a rockstar, and rockstars like to flirt (this is not a bad thing, mind you). It keeps people on their toes, especially people who are paying you to be the rockstar. By flirting, rockstars can get more money, a better contract, or possibly just to get a prettier version of their precious work.

3. Because Pluto pays homage to Osamu Tezuka, and because we publish very pretty versions of Tezuka’s work, there were conversations with Urasawa about giving Pluto the Buddha treatment, but mostly it was flirting. Let’s just say this is an as of yet unrequited romance.

4. Right now we can’t offer more than just the promise of a great format. I.e. Urasawa wants more than just a southpaw scrote. We don’t sell books in the range of numbers his current and other prospective publishers do, so really all we have to offer is our look…and of course that scrote.

5. Viz is doing a fantastic job with Monster, and 20th Century Boy will knock your socks off too, so nothing’s lost on the dear reader if we don’t do Pluto.

Now here’s the surprise bonus ending for dear reader, which I hope blows your mind the way it blew mine:

We have just acquired the rights (I mean like this morning) to Takeshi Kitano’s (aka Beat Takeshi, aka bad-ass muthah) first and only novel: Shonen (Youth)!