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The software developer D-Arc Inc. and Tezuka Productions Co. have announced at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan on Tuesday that they will start posting the Weekly Astro Boy Magazine application on the Apple iPhone and iPod touch mobile device this month. Each volume of the magazine will offer about 100 pages from manga pioneer Osamu Tezuka. The first volume, which will include Astro Boy (Mighty Atom), Phoenix, and Black Jack, will be free, while each subsequent volume will cost US$0.99.
A similar Weekly Tezuka Osamu Magazine (pictured at right) has been available in 100-page weekly installments on Japanese iPhones since April. This earlier application and the manga installments themselves are in Japanese, but the application was briefly available in Apple's App Store outside Japan during its launch. Like the upcoming English Weekly Astro Boy Magazine, the first Japanese Weekly Tezuka Osamu Magazine volume contained about 100 free pages of Mighty Atom, Phoenix, Black Jack, and other titles. The software developer Voice Bank demonstrated a prototype for the manga-viewing application in 2007 as part of the Digital Manga Project. D-Arc and Voice Bank are collaborating on the new weekly magazine.
Dark Horse Comics, Vertical, and Viz Media have all released Tezuka's manga in North America. David Bowers and IMAGI's computer-animated film adaptation of the Astro Boy manga is slated to open in North America this Friday.
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