Udon On Comixology, Hints At Gurren Lagann License

Peter S. Svensson writes for Bleeding Cool:

The Udon Panel was early. The panelists were all there at the dais, well before their appointed times. This is probably the only time that Udon would ever be early, and the panelists knew it. Many jokes were cracked.

They were going to give out things! Many things! They first checked to see who had the largest collection, and that honor went to a superfan who not only collects every Udon publication, but even every comic that they've done work on for other publishers. The Udon crew recognized him on sight, because he once gave them ALL OF THEM TO SIGN. So… they tabled the giveaways for the time being and began the panel.

2012 was the year that Udon was the least terrible about shipping dates ever! This was a cause for applause. They are working hard to get their books released on time, and hope that 2013 will be even better in that regard. Likewise, they're releasing more books than ever, and thanked the fans for making that possible. Continuing their accomplishments of the past year…

Free Webcomics! Jim Zub's Makeshift Miracle, formerly a Zuda book (remember that? DC's attempt at webcomics from a few years back?) is being serialized on Udon's website with updates twice a week. Jim Zub, formerly Udon staff who is now the writer of Skullkickers, Pathfinder and Samurai Jack, was manning their booth while the entire Udon team had their panel. Well, entire Udon team, save for Matt Moylan, who was at the Bravoman panel happening at the same time.

Streetfightercomics.com is serializing Udon's Street Fighter comics, a page a day. They're going on hiatus briefly in August while Udon deals with changing webhosts. They've reached issue 10 of their original run at this point.

Anime Art Books! Udon was asked to do so by hardcore fans, and they've done it. Evangelion, Read or Die, and Summer Wars. Which was one of Udon founder Erik Ko's favorite series, which he pretty much made Udon translate because well, he runs the company. Perks.

Vocaloids and Hatsune Miku! Udon released the first official North American merchandise for the international sensation of a software that can sing in a decent manner, and the cutesy fan mascots associated with the different voices the software can use.

The Pixiv Almanac, was an artbook collecting the best of the Japanese website. Preemptively answering the question, yes they are working on a second volume, but getting the releases to use the art from all 200 participants is taking a great amount of time.

That was 2012. 2013 will begin with Udon's work now being available on Comixology. All of their Street Fighter comics will be made available, some of the manga they translate such as Capcom's Captain Commando, and their original works such as Makeshift Miracle and Random Views. They will have day and date releases for future graphic novels such as the upcoming Super Street Fighter II.

The next announcement was that Bravoman, which is a webcomic they produce for Shiftylook, an online hub for videogame webcomics, which is also becoming  a series of animated shorts, which is also becoming a videogame, will be getting a graphic novel release of the webcomic in upcoming months. Matt Moylan writes it, and Dax Gordine draws it, and it's all available FOR FREE on Shiftylook so you can check it out if you'd want to buy it, but fans will want to buy it as there will be additional bonus material in the compilation that isn't available online.

They will be concluding the release of Sengoku Basara Samurai, a historical manga based on the Capcom Video Game with the final volume later this year. Likewise they are continuing their Disgaea 3: School of Devils manga, which spins out of the acclaimed and insanely difficult video game series. Fans of the Mega Man ZK manga should also check this out, as it's work done by the same creator under a pseudonym. Don't tell anyone…

Super Street Fighter came out in March, which is set in the time period of SFIII and IV, which has it include all the new characters from the more recent games as well as the older ones.  It's got art from new artists, and guest artists such as Sean "Cheeks" Galloway.

Street Fighter Classic reprints their original run of Street Fighter #0-10 in the oversized hardcover format which is now their standard, placing all the stories in chronological order. Also the binding is incredible, or so they say. A second Classic volume is expected in December, finishing up Street Fighter #11-14, and then concluding with Street Fighter II #1-6.

Years ago, at a Comic Con past, Udon announced an Akuma miniseries. It finally got released, and Udon sold out of it on day one of the Con. Christopher Sarrachini wrote it, with Joe Ng art. Joe talked about how it was a labor of love for him, and how he asked if he get more pages to expand a crucial fight scene. Udon has switched towards releasing new content in graphic novel format because it means they aren't constrained by storytelling needs to hit 22 pages per chapter. So, Joe was allowed to take as much space as he thought the fight required. The graphic novel will cover Akuma's past from young boy to the devil we love to hate.

The special edition Akuma graphic novel that was exclusive to the con has a special dust jacket that the regular version will not. But Udon has extra dust jackets available, as they had replacements made in case of damages that they ended up not needing, so they will be selling the replacement dust jackets so that fans can create their own con exclusive special editions by wrapping the dust jacket around a normal copy of the HC that will come out soon and Bob's Your Uncle. (They may not have phrased it like that.)

Super Street Fighter Volume 2 was announced, which would continue to tell stories in the SFIII/IV era. They had hoped to have it done by the end of the year, but are announcing it for February. Probably.  In addition, they announced Street Fighter IV: Wages of Sin, which will not only collect the official prequel miniseries that Udon did for the game, but 4 bonus stories from the original issues that had never been collected before, 4 rare never before printed in North America stories (including one that was made specifically for Japanese audiences by Udon), and a brand new story by Jim Zub and Takeshi Miyazawa.

They then moved on towards discussing future anime character art book releases. Midori Foo's Book of Pictures is a hard sell, for while the art is gorgeous and fantastic, it's 300 pages of illustrations from games and manga and light novels, none of which have ever been licensed for release in North America. This is a book they feel that every professional artist will want to own.

Summer Wars Material Book, reprints a lot of the character designs from the anime, and people interested in behind the scenes industry discussion will enjoy this release. It was said that watching the series again after reading the book will greatly add to your enjoyment.

Haruhi-Ism is an artbook debuting at the Udon Booth that collects the covers from the light novels (that's Japanese for illustrated prose novella) and manga of the international sensation, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

Given the success of the Hatsune Miku CVO 01 artbook, which was printed in a larger format for the NA release than the original Japanese version, Udon will continue the line with CVO 02, focusing on Rin and Len, as well as CVO 03 Megurine Luka. Sales on these will determine if more Vocaloid material will get translated.

However, at least one more is in the works. Sonico, which is a lot pervier than Miku and friends was shown. She's… got lots of talent. She's also cosplaying as different characters in several of the art pieces, which is well, something.

Two books of the anime artwork of Haruhi Suzumiya have been announced. Spring and Summer will be released  at the end of August. It's currently going through binding, having already been printed. Hooray for updates! The Autumn and Winter Book will be about 240-250 pages of anime artwork from the popular series.

Udon has gotten the rights to publish an artbook by Daisuke Moriyama, artist of Chrono Crusade, World Embryo, Adolescence Avatar and much more. He had asked Udon if he could use one of the pieces he contributed to their Darkstalkers Tribute book for his own artbook, and they agreed under the condition that they be allowed to release that artbook in English.

After a quick giveaway of the Darkstalkers Tribute book in question to whatever fan could name the cover artist, they then continued their powerpoint presentation with … WE CAN'T ANNOUNCE THIS YET. Then another slide just said SORRY.

And then a flash of the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann logo.

logo-tengen-toppa-gurren-lagann-7367707-1822-1407They all played up the whole "Oh wait, we screwed up, we can't announce this yet!" Which, they might not be able to. Licensing with Japanese companies is weird. In any case, the popular Gainax giant robot anime (the one that isn't Evangelion) is almost certainly going to be getting an artbook released in English by Udon.

Now, they moved on towards their line of Capcom Art Books, starting with the limited Hardcover release of Megaman 25, which collects both the Megaman Official Works and Megaman X Official Works volumes they had previously released, along with new material. Udon tells people not to buy the book for ludicrous prices from overzealous internet scalpers on Ebay or Amazon. The standard hardcover edition will be released in August from udonstore.com, and preorders will be made available as soon as they get back from the Con. Likewise, following Udon on social media will let you be notified when said preorders are ready so that you can be guaranteed a copy of a 400 page book that covers Megaman 1-10, Megaman X 1-8, and even side games like Rockman Super Adventure or Megaman X Command Mission, along with developer interviews and all that jazz.

A standard softcover release is set for September.

Monster Hunter Illustrations 2 is coming out in November, focusing on all the third generation versions of that Japanese game franchise.

Dragon's Dogma will also be getting an artbook released in November, as will Ashura's Wrath.

Udon is having a special deal at their booth for the Street Fighter 25book, collecting the contents of the Street Fighter 20th HC and the Street Fighter x Tekken Artbook into one extralarge book for $80.

Resident Evil 6 Artworks will be coming out next year. They believe that people will be surprised to learn how much non-CGI art is generated for the game series, with character designs and level layouts and the such.

DMC: Devil May Cry Visual Art will be a volume collecting art and creator commentary for the new reimagining of the action-horror series. 3142 Devil May Cry will be a volume collecting art and interviews for the original games, full of intense interviews and behind the scenes information. (3142 being the chronological order in which the original games occurred.)

Darkstalker Artworks will be a new release that supercedes Udon's previous Darkstalkers Graphic File with a bunch of new art. The new version will come out next year, so completionist fans who want the previous edition should buy it now as it will soon become rare.

In 2014, Breath of Fire Official Complete Works will be released. This is the end result of a Capcom-driven fan campaign to convince Udon to translate the artbook based on the classic RPG line. It will cover games 1-5 and much more. Udon thanked the fans who were so devoted to this game that they inundated them with buttons at PAX for their support.

Next, non-Capcom video game art books! Growlanser Art Works by Satoshi Urushihara, is the first artbook of his that could be released in English. The implication is that his previous ones had art that was beyond raunchy. There will be an interview with him in it.

Art of Brutal Legend is "one of the nicest books we've ever done." It includes a lot of behind the scenes art including things that didn't make it into the game, which is now available for PC and MAC. The book is in 12 x 12 format, so that it looks like a heavy metal album. It will have silver ink as a fifth color, as well as spot gloss on every page. It's the most complicated book they've done to date. It's will also have an exclusive SDCC heavy metal slipcase, with exclusive art by the game's lead artist Scott C from Double Fine. He is at the convention, so tracking him down for an autograph is doable.

Valkyria Chronicles 3 Complete Artworks will release all the story and art from the unreleased third game, for the hardcore fans who want to see it anyways.

Takehito Harada Art Works will collect art from the lead character designer of the Disgaea series, focusing on the entire artistic process from basic sketch to finished illustration, with many steps and stages shown along the way. It will include art from all four Disgaea games, Prinny 1 and 2, Makai Kingdom and Phantom Brave.

Mel Kishida's work from the Atelier videogames will be collected in "Atelier Artworks of Arland Rorona, Totori and Meruru. If you like bread, like the actual food and not a euphemism for anything, you will find many illustrations of actual loaves of bread in this book as well. There's apparently a storyline reasoning for that.

The World of Warcraft Tribute book is available at the con in HC, and will have a softcover release in September. UDON's Tribute books, such as the ones they've done for Street Fighter, Darkstalkers and Mega Man invited talented artists from around the world to contribute their own art pieces for this game. Stacy King, a gigantic WoW addict, convinced Udon that they should do one of these for World of Warcraft. The people at Blizzard were really supportive, and the art director for the game did the final selecting of what pieces should make the cut for this edition. The limited edition HC has a Warcraft 3 homage cover, with characters from that game being featured.

There are no new tributes on the schedule at this time.

Continuing books that are to be released: a Devil Survivor artbook, collecting art from the Shin Megami Tensei spin-off, which is a cousin to the Persona series. Persona 4 Arena artbook is delayed, and they thanked the fans for their patience. There's a lot of text to translate in that one apparently. Dark Souls is getting a near replica of the original Japanese HC  for the NA market.

Eyes of Bayonetta got them to apologize for how ridiculously late it is, and that it was so late that it served as a wakeup call for them to change how they solicit and announce books so as to prevent the same problems that caused this to be delayed so much. There will be a bonus DVD with the Eyes of Bayonetta anime. They are still excited about releasing this, but don't know when that will be just yet.

Border Break Artworks will come out in 2014, and be 200 pages of schematics, designs and images from a Japanese mecha game only released in arcades. The art is gorgeous even if you've never played, and perhaps you'll become such a big fan that you'll want to fly to Japan just to play in the arcade.

Joe Madueira demanded that Udon translate Gungir Official Art Chronicle, a norse-mythology inspired Japanese RPG that's part of the Department of Heaven series. Joe Mad asked, and UDON responded, proving that all you need to do to get your dream book released is to either start your own company, or become an industry super-star.  Realistically, they said that they listen to fan comments on their facebook page, and to let them know what you want to see.

Phantom Breaker Official Visual works will be showing off art from the 2D fighting game where pretty anime girls beat each other up. Like Street Fighter, only they're all beautiful women.

Speaking of fighting games, Udon now has the license for the Soul Calibur series. Soul Calibur New Legends of Project Soul will focus on artwork from Soul Calibur 5, but will also include story and background information from all the games, stage and level design, character charts, including perhaps the most "Oh JAPAN!" thing I've yet to see, a side profile chart comparing the breast sizes of the various female characters. Yeah. That's a thing.

Moving on…

Hyperdimension Neptunia, the PS3 game which will become an anime later this fall, will be getting an artbook.

And finishing up the panel, due to great fan request, YS The Artbook will be coming out, covering the classic fantasy RPG series.

About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.

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