“.. a truly astounding range of the most important and influential manga characters of all time. Unlike most books about manga which focus exclusively on recent and popular series, this has comprehensive coverage of older and rarer works from many genres.”
Tezuka In English
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This book came about because another project didn’t fly. Chrysalis Books asked me to put together a book of manga cover art. That concept was shelved for later discussion when we came up with the idea of a manga version of Mike Conroy’s 500 Comic Book Action Heroes and 500 Comic Book Villains. Along the way, a management buyout at Chrysalis meant the book was published by the new company, Anova, in the UK, and the manga covers idea vanished into the limbo of unrealised projects that lurks somewhere in most corporate structures.
This was one of the most enjoyable books I’ve ever had to research – no matter how many on the pile, reading comics never feels like work. It also reminded me just how little we see of the huge range of graphic material appearing week after week in Japan.
Crammed between the covers are characters you might already know, and some you may never have heard of. I hope the book will introduce you to new artists and writers, as well as showing you some of the great characters and stories to be found in Japanese comics.
The British cover art, shown above, is by Steve Kyte. The brief was to design original male and female characters who would be instantly recognisable as “manga style”, but not specifically like any individual artist’s output. I don’t get to work with Steve nearly often enough, and I was so happy to get his work on this cover. I think he did a fantastic job.
The US edition has a cover montage of American manga releases – uncanny, given the book’s origins. Maybe I’ll do that cover art book some day.