G4 Presents San Diego Comic-Con 2008
G4 Presents: Comic-Con '08 - Viz Media: Shonen Jump

by Carlo Santos, Jul 25th 2008

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Bleach creator Tite Kubo was the main headline for Shonen Jump at Comic-Con 2008, and the panel opened with a reminder that Kubo would be having his focus panel and autograph signings on Saturday. However, there were plenty of other Shonen Jump products to be announced at the panel, as well as a surprise guest. Shonen Jump magazine will be debuting Ultimo in the September 2008 issue, a collaboration between comics legend Stan Lee and Shaman King creator Hiroyuki Takei. In addition, the magazine will be celebrating its 5th anniversary in America with a special "Collector's Edition" version of the magazine that reprints the titles that debuted in Shonen Jump Issue 1 (plus Naruto, which began in Issue 2), as well as containing features and interviews.

Aside from Tite Kubo's presence at the convention, Bleach fans will have more to look forward to in October 2008, with the All Colour But The Black artbook and Bleach Official Character Book SOULs, a character encyclopedia that covers the Bleach storyline through the Soul Society arc and also contains the original one-shot (never before published in English) that inspired the series.

Another new, upcoming product for the Shonen Jump line is the Collector's Edition series, hardcover reprints of first volumes of marquee Shonen Jump titles. The Bleach Vol. 1 Collector's Edition arrives in August, to be followed by Naruto, Death Note and Yu-Gi-Oh! in September, and Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z in October. A Dragon Ball: The Complete Illustrations artbook will also be published in October.

The next few months will also see a Shonen Jump contest running in the magazines and graphic novels where readers can win a trip to the Jump Festa event in Japan.

As for new manga titles, Waq Waq by Ryu Fujisaki (creator of Hoshin Engi) will arrive in August 2009, with a preview to run in Shonen Jump magazine a few weeks prior. Coming out this year is Nora, a supernatural action series by Kazunari Kakei that will arrive in October 2008 and will also be previewed in Shonen Jump.

Other new products for serious collectors include a Bleach boxset in September 2008, containing the first 21 volumes of the series (the Soul Society arc), and a Death Note boxset due in October 2008, which will contain the series' entire 12-volume run as well as "Volume 13: How To Read."

One of the recent developments for the Shonen Jump line in Japan was the debut of Jump Square magazine, which contains series such as Rosario+Vampire and Claymore. What is most notable for Western fans, however, is that every issue of Jump Square also contains a feature called "BakaPara" (idiot parody) written by the Viz Media staff, where Japanese readers can learn more about the American side of manga and anime fandom. Furthermore, the US version of Shonen Jump will begin serializing a Jump Square series in March 2009: Tegami Bachi by Hiroyuki Asada, a steampunk adventure series that will replace Slam Dunk (which will continue in graphic novel-only releases).

The panel was then opened to questions, but was interrupted by the arrival of Stan Lee in person, which prompted enthusiastic applause from the crowd. Lee kept attendees highly entertained as he spoke about Ultimo and his personal experiences in working with a manga creator and learning more about manga. Lee also mentioned that he is working on other Japanese collaboration projects, including a new anime with Studio BONES and another project that he could not yet speak about. It seemed that Lee's guest appearance was the highlight for most attendees, as many of them left the panel during the question session afterward.


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