San Diego Comic-Con International 2013
Udon Entertainment

by Todd Ciolek,
Udon started off their San Diego Comic Con panel by announcing a new method of getting their books: comiXology, the digital-distribution platform for many comics. Several Udon titles are now available on the service: Street Fighter volumes 0 through 4, Makeshift Miracle, and Super Street Fighter Volume 1.

“We'll be doing all of the Street Fighter comics,” explained Chris Butcher, Udon's director of marketing. “And we'll be going day-and-date for future releases of graphic novels.”

Namco's unlikely hero Bravoman got a new life in recent years, thanks to ShiftyLook's online comics and animation, and now Udon's part of his comeback. The first volume of Bravoman, by Matt Moylan and Dax Gordine, collects over 130 strips from ShiftyLook's site, adding bonus art, sketches, and creator commentary. It ships in November.

“Every single page is going to have bonus material,” Butcher said.

Udon remains close to Capcom, and the rest of the year will see more Street Fighter comics, including hardcovers for Street Fighter Classic Volume 2, Street Fighter IV: Wages of Sin, and Super Street fighter Volume 2: Hyper Fighting. Butcher reminded the audience that Street Fighter IV is set between II and III, meaning that the game covers Street Fighter III with IV's characters.

When asked about what future project he'd like to tackle, Udon artist Joe Ng cautiously mentioned an Alex story about Street Fighter III's alleged main character, then joked that he'd probably stand alone on that.

Udon announced several artbooks for 2014, including one from a lesser-known Capcom property: Breath of Fire. The Breath of Fire: Official Complete Works features designs and information about the five RPGs, ranging from the original Super NES game to the PlayStation 2's experimental Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter.

“We've been the subject of a Capcom-related fan campaign for the past year,” Butcher said. “This wouldn't have happened without the fans asking for it. We're excited to be doing this book, and I think people are really going to love it.”

Devil May Cry will get two artbooks in the coming year. The 3142 Graphic Arts book covers all four games in the the original series (the title even refers to their chronological order), with three interview about the series. Meanwhile, DmC Devil May Cry: Visual Art covers the recent Devil May Cry reboot that drove some fans to griping. Another semi-contentious Capcom game will see an artbook from Udon with Resident Evil 6 Artworks. All three will ship early next year.

“This is a book that will surprise a lot of people because they think of it as a CG series,” Butcher said of the Resident Evil collection, “but there's so much awesome artwork in it.”

The Darkstalkers is enjoying only a minor surge with its recent HD repackaging on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, but its art and characters continue to command fan attention. For those faithful followers of the series, Udon has Darkstalkers Artworks slated for next year. Udon previously published a Darkstalkers Graphic File, but Darkstalkers Artworks is an anniversary release with much more content, some of which comes from Udon's own artists. According to Butcher, the new Darkstalkers book will replace Graphic File.

Another new license, Chronicle, collects art by Daisuke Moriyama, including his work on Chrono Crusade, World Embryo, and a number of smaller titles.

A quick spate of new announcements for 2014 closed the panel. Border Break Artworks is based on the Sega arcade game never released in North America. Gugnir:Official Art Chronicle, a collection of art from the strategy-RPG series, was first brought to Udon's attention by artist Joe Madureira. Another upcoming artbook covers Phantom Breaker, the 2-D fighting game that still hasn't been released in North America despite being announced by 7sxity years ago.

The Soul Calibur: New Legends of Project Soul fulfills fan requests for a collection about Namco's popular 3-D fighting game. Though the book has artwork from the fifth game in the fighting series, it covers the storyline of the entire franchise. Hyperdimension Neptunia +Mk2 covers the first two RPGs in which anime heroines symbolize video-game consoles and companies.

Lastly, a swell of fan support led Udon to pick up Ys: The Art Book, which features many illustrations and other details from Falcom's long-running action-RPG series.

As for current series, Udon plans to continue publishing books for Hatsune Miku and other Vocaloid characters, with a CV03 Graphics Character Collection Art Book slated to come out next year. Also a big seller: Sonicomi: Super Sonico, which Butcher described as “more eechi” than Miku.

Udon's Mega Man and Mega Man X Official Complete Works proved a runaway success at the convention, as the hardcover release sold out in record time. The hefty tome compiles two previous artbooks for Mega Man and the Mega Man X series, adding about 100 pages of new material and information on the more recent Mega Man 9 and 10. The book will be available online in August, with the regular softcover version out in September.

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