Beginning with the release of the first volume of a new “director’s cut” of Takashi Okazaki’s Afro Samurai (first serialised in 1998), Titan Comics is launching a new manga imprint, Titan Manga, this month. Future releases include ATOM: The Beginning, a prequel to manga master Osamu Tezuka’s classic Astro Boy, and Kamen Rider Kuuga, a new manga based on the classic Japanese television series Kamen Rider.
According to acquisitions editor Duncan Baizley, “Titan Manga will look to publish series that we love and know that fans have been waiting for.” “Quality control is of paramount importance in this scenario.
Despite the market’s meteoric rise, we’re sticking to the same strategy we’ve used successfully for comics: picking out exceptional books for which we know there’s a dedicated readership. Our strategy will expand upon what was established in Afro Samurai. We’re not concerned with sheer numbers, though there’s no shortage of great books.
Titan, a publishing company with strong U.S. ties based in the United Kingdom, debuted its first manga in 2016 with Sherlock: A Study in Pink, an adaptation of the BBC television series, and Assassin’s Creed: Awakening, a manga based on the video game franchise.
Titan, which publishes Western comics adaptations of Assassin’s Creed and a slew of other licenced series like Doctor Who, Life Is Strange, and Blade Runner, was a natural fit for both of these. Titan has also published manga by artists like Endo Yoshimizu and Junko Mizuno, such as 2019’s Ryuko (originally published under Titan’s Hard Case Crime imprint) and 2017’s Ravina the Witch?
Titan Manga’s first release will be a reprint of Seven Seas’s Afro Samurai from 2008. In the first volume of this two-part manga, known as a doujinshi, author Takashi Okazaki based his protagonist, Yasuke, on a historical African samurai from the late 1500s. An anime based on the manga premiered in 2007 with Samuel L. Jackson lending his voice to the lead role.
The director’s cut, on which Titan is collaborating closely with Okazaki, will be larger in trim size and have updated covers and a new foreword from the author. A special 1,000-copy run with a foil-stamped cover will be sold exclusively at comic book stores.
While ATOM: The Beginning by Tetsuro Kasahara begins as a prologue to Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy, the two stories eventually diverge (in Japan, the series has reached volume 17). (One of the contributors is Makoto Tezuka, Osamu Tezuka’s son.) Part of the series was converted into an anime television series in 2017.
Kamen Rider Kuuga is based on the same-named anime series, which is the first to take place entirely in the Heisei era (the first 21st-century version of the original Kamen Rider series, featuring a motorcycle-riding superhero) and the tenth iteration of the original Kamen Rider series.
A new volume of these series will be released by Titan every two months, according to Baizley. According to his fan perspective, this solution strikes an ideal balance between time and money. You aren’t going to have to wait too long or spend too much money.
Titan is not connected to any one Japanese publisher like most North American manga companies are, therefore they source manga in a number of places, including a collaboration with Argentinean publisher StoneBot on ATOM:
— Roberta Ingranata 🏳️🌈 (@Robbertopoli) January 14, 2022
The Beginning and Kamen Rider Kuuga. Specifically, “we’re working very closely with StoneBot to identify target titles, not just for the world English market but beyond,” Baizley said. Together, we have over 60 years of experience in the manga industry, making this the ideal partnership.
According to Baizley, “there are no limitations to what we’d like to publish.” Every Titan Manga launch begins with someone bringing me a fantastic title they adore.
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