New York Comic Con
Del Rey Manga

by Mikhail Koulikov,

Dallas Middaugh hosted the Del Rey Manga panel, along with Matsumi Miyazaki, Ali Kokmen and Tricia Narwani. He began by talking about the success of two of Del Rey's recent releases. The success of Fairy Tale was not particularly surprising, given that it comes from an author who is already familiar to many American readers. How well Kitchen Princess has been selling, though, has been totally unexpected.

Withouth losing too much time, the panel went into Del Rey's three new announcements of this year's convention. Sayonara Zetsubō Sensei, Kōji Kumeta's dark comedy about a pessimistic, suicidal teacher, will begin publishing in March of next year. There was some negotiation between Del Rey, their American parent company, and the Japanese licensor , about the exact title that will be used, but it was decided to keep it unchanged, though the subtitle “The Power of Negative Thinking” will be added.

In April, Del Rey will publish Gakuen Prince, Jun Yuzuki's “bishonen romantic comedy”, originally published in Bettsu Friend, about an exclusive all-female high school that begins admitting a small number of male students.

Del Rey's final new license is the manga adaptation of Samurai 7, written by Mizutaka Zuhou. Samurai 7 itself is a science fiction adaptation of the classic film Seven Samurai, directed by Akira Kurosawa. In addition, they will be publishing the novel The Curse of the Dragon Slayer, a fantasy world murder mystery from Kouhei Kadono, the author of the Boogiepop novels. That will be published in February.

Over the last months, Del Rey has also been working on several original titles that bring together writers and artists from around the world. Two of these are manga-style comics based on The X-Men: one a more shounen story revolving around a young Wolverine, drawn and written by Rayna Telgemeier and Dave Roman, and the other, a shoujo take on Kitty Pryde as a teenager attending an exclusive school for mutants. Her fellow students include Nightcrawler, while one of the professors is Beast, albeit a Beast that looks like nothing that has ever appeared in American comics or on American movie screens. This will be illustrated by the Indonesian artist Anzu.

Four others that are in the works are The Reformed, also drawn by Anzu, and written by Chris Hart; Nina Matsumoto's Yōkaiden; Kasumi, a cooperation between American Surt Lim and professional Japanese artist Hirofumi Sagimoto; and an original manga-style comic based on Dean Koontz' Odd Thomas novel series. In Odd We Trust, with artwork by Queenie Chan, will be published in June.

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