Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Dark Horse to publish Satoshi Kon's Opus, Seraphim

I'm trying to keep more of an eye on Japanese comic licenses and rights, although they're based purely on what looks interesting to me, as I'm still a complete newbie where manga is concerned. But the news that Dark Horse are publishing English language editions of the late Satoshi Kon's Opus and Seraphim is something everyone should be excited about. Opus, a story about a manga artist who is literally transported into the world which he has created on the page, originally serialised in the bi-monthly Comic Guys between 1995-96, but was left uncompleted after the magazine was discontinued. However, in 2010 Tokuma Shoten released a 2 volume collection, collating the story for the first time, including a previously unseen ending, and additional extras. Translated by Zack Davisson (Shigeru Mizuki's Showa: A History of Japan), Dark Horse's English edition will collate all the material in one volume and is due for publication this November.

As well as being an acclaimed director, screenwriter, and animator, noted for films such as Perfect Blue and Paprika, Satoshi Kon was also a student of none other than Katsuhiro Otomo, serving as an assistant artist on Akira, and that particular influence is clear to see in his comic work. Below are a few pages from Opus, to give you an idea of what it looks like:

The other title, Seraphim, drawn by Kon and written by Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell), will be published in February next year. Set in a post apocalyptic world plagued by "tenshi-byō" (angel disease), a young girl named Sera, and three men embark on a journey to solve the mystery of the strange fatal illness which is decimating the population. After being serialised in Tokuma Shoten's Animage magazine from 1995-96, the publishers went on to release a complete, single volume edition of the book in 2010.

I'm really looking forward to both these books- I believe the only currently available English language work of Kon's is Tropic of the Sea, an engaging and beautifully rendered work- and hopefully these comics will give us a better look at his oeuvre  and perhaps introduce his comics to those previously unfamiliar with them.