Riding the wave of demand for manga in bookstores, Marvel Comics has announced its own line of manga-style comics under the umbrella Tsunami.
Marvel will introduce a line of six monthly comics in April, with an eye to collecting them into trade books. By focusing on romance and relationships, Marvel hopes to capture some of the teenage audience that has made books by U.S. manga publishers Tokyopop and Viz hits in the graphic novel market. Although the books will appear first as monthly comics, as soon as there is enough material, they will be collected for the bookstore market. The first books are tentatively planned to appear by late summer.
The lead title is Namor, co-written by Marvel president Bill Jemas and popular indy cartoonist Andi Watson, with art by Japanese artist Mizuki Namor, who also has a feature film in development. Other books in the line are Venom, a horror book about a former supervillain; Sentinel, the story of a teenaged boy who finds a giant robot in his backyard; Human Torch, about a young man with the power to burst into flame and a temperament to match; Mystique, which recasts the villainess from the X-Men as a spy; and Runaways, which is described as "Smallville meets Harry Potter." According to Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, Marvel is still tinkering with the mix. Some books will be entirely in the manga style, while others will be a mixture of American story and manga art or vice versa.
Marvel also announced several projects for the bookstore market to tie in with the upcoming X-Men 2 movie, including Marvel Encyclopedia 2: X-Men, a hardcover featuring information on more than 350 characters from the 40-year-old comics series; and a trade paperback containing the comics adaptation of the movie and two prequels starring Wolverine and Nightcrawler.