|By Tomer and Asaf Hanuka|
Some interesting news announced at New York Comic Con: Kodansha will be publishing a 250-page, full-colour Attack on Titan comics anthology that will feature all non-Japanese creators for the first time. Due for release in autumn next year, the anthology will be printed at American comic 'issue' size instead of the smaller manga format, and boasts an intriguing and varied line up of writers, artists, and cartoonists- Tomer and Asaf Hanuka, Ronald Wimberly, Afua Richardson, Kevin Wada, Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr, Faith Erin Hicks, Kate Leth & Jeremy Lambert, Michael Oeming, Paolo Rivera, Gail Simone, Scott Snyder, and Genevieve Valentine. Written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama, Attack on Titan began serialisation in Bessatsu Shōnen magazine in 2009 and has since become -rather fittingly- a mammoth, monster hit, with 44 million copies of the first 15 volumes in print in Japanese, and 2.5 million copies of the English-language volumes in print. The story is a post-apocalyptic one of sorts, as the last vestiges of humanity struggle to survive in cities encased by huge walls, built to keep out the human-eating giant Titans, who nobody really seems to know the origins of, or much about in general. The comics success has led to a number of spin-off tiles and series, live-action films, and an immensely popular anime adaptation.
Talking to Brigid Alverson, Random House's associate director of publishing services, Ben Applegate, who also oversees the editorial team at Kodansha Comics, discussed how the authors involved in the Attack on Titan anthology had been given a free reign to come up with new characters and approaches, 'We're trying to create a book with a wide variety of stories, so I want to start with what the creators are interested in doing and go from there. So far, we've got a few serious stories in the Titan continuity, a few stories involving Titans in new settings, and a few completely off-the-wall comedy pieces.' The book will comprise of comics ranging from 5 to 25 pages, as well as pin-ups.
I really like the concept of Attack of Titan and bought the first 3 volumes on that basis, but found the time and technicality afforded to the aerial fights between the Titans and people convoluted and boring, in addition to there being too many characters to keep up with. The bits in between were good, but not enough to convince me to continue, although I am now thinking of giving it a second pass. I'm interested to see this project, largely due to the enlisting of some excellent contributors (specifically the first four in the line-up above), and because it seems to be one of those things that will be accessible to people who aren't familiar with Attack on Titan in addition to those who are. No doubt that's one of the aims of the book; to get readers and followers of some of these very popular American creators aware of Attack of Titan and hope that translates into further sales of the main manga.