Hey everybody! I just got back from the reason for my little sojourn to New York, a rare in-store appearance of manga-ka Takehiko Inoue, author of Vagabond, Slam Dunk, and Real. The event was part of the opening ceremonies for Kniokuniya Books’ new store location on 6th Avenue across from Bryant Park, and it featured an original mural from Inoue-sensei, and a swank little cocktail party followed. I… I actually got to interview Inoue-sensei and I found him to be a charming, thoughtful creator and it really was a once-in-a-lifetime interaction. The results of my interview will be making their way online in the next little while, but I did take a ton of photos of the event that I’m gonna share with you here… enjoy!
Kinokuniya’s new location is lovely, and packed to the gills with manga and anime. The location was decked out in Viz schwag and featured a rather nice Inoue boutique selection.
The centerpiece of the event was this giant mural that greets customers at the top of the escalator. According to reps, each wall took about 3 hours to get to the stage you see them at, and the lower-right side of the standing figure (and the characters eyes) would be finished during the event, in front of an audience.
Fewer attendees picked up on this much smaller painting in the stairwell… but it’s pretty darned great.
Before the event got underway, Inoue-sensei gave a number of interviews which should be making their way onto the internet momentarily. From l to r, Takehiko Inoue and Viz Editor and translator Andy Nakatani.
The show got underway, with Inoue-sensei mixing up his paint and getting ready to finish his mural.
I can think of fewer things more terrifying than trying to paint a mural to be seen by thousands, and doing it while 30 people are constantly photographing you.
Following the completion of the mural, representatives from Viz addressed the audience, announcing that in addition to the launch of Inoue’s Slam Dunk in the Shonen Jump line, Viz will be releasing Inoue’s wheelchair-basketball saga REAL this summer, and will be reformatting Vagabond this fall into an omnibus edition that will collect 3 standard-sized volumes in each new volume, as well as releasing both of Inoue-sensei’s artbooks in English language editions. Inoue then addressed the audience directly thanking them for coming, and enjoying his work. Then we toasted! Bubbly for everyone.
Audience members included indie cartoonist and SVA Professor Tom Hart, and Sva Prof and soon-to-be-Dad Matt Madden.
Towards the end of the evening super-fabulous designer Chip Kidd arrived and the two artistic gurus conversed and bonded over the galley Kidd brought with him of his new book for Pantheon, a collection of Adam West-inspired 1960s Batman manga! (It looks absolutely AWESOME, by the way.)
Then, like all good things, it came to an end and it was time to go. I snapped a few photos of the finished murals on the way out.
Congratulations to Kinokuniya on a fabulous new store, and to Viz throwing a wonderful bash celebrating the work and career of Inoue-sensei, a wonderful creator. I’m looking forward to even more-stuffed bookshelves in the coming months.
Viz’s full press release for the event and the Takehiko Inoue announcements is after the cut:
VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES DEBUT OF UNIQUE BASKETBALL DRAMA REAL AT RARE IN-STORE APPEARANCE OF FAMED CREATOR TAKEHIKO INOUE
Best Selling Manga About Wheelchair Basketball To Be Released
Domestically In 2008
NEW YORK, NY, November 20, 2007 â€“ VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the
entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing,
animation and licensing companies, announced the upcoming 2008 release
of Takehiko Inoueâ€™s basketball manga comic, REAL, last night at a
special in-store event attended by the acclaimed artist/creator to
inaugurate the new Kinokuniya Bookstore in Bryant Park, New York City.
Inoue is also the creator of the mega-hit masterpieces SLAM DUNK and
VAGABOND. Event attendees got a sneak peek at original wall art in the
Kinokuniya store illustrated by the artist featuring some of his
The REAL series is scheduled to debut July 2008 and is the third manga
series created by Takehiko Inoue set to be released by VIZ Media. The
company plans to debut his long-awaited SLAM DUNK basketball series,
Rated T for Teens, in September 2008 and VIZ Media will also publish a
pair of beautifully illustrated art books; SUMI and WATER.
VIZ Media currently publishes Inoueâ€™s acclaimed samurai series VAGABOND,
rated M for Mature.
REAL, Rated T+ for older teens, offers a unique twist on the sports
manga genre as it focuses on wheelchair basketball. A motorcycle
accident, bone cancer, and a speeding truck crashing into a boy on a
stolen bicycle all present tragic, life-changing events that turn the
worlds of three young men upside down in Inoueâ€™s gripping series. Three
very different personalities have only one thing in common â€“ their
passion for basketball.
Also set for release next year are a pair of lavishly illustrated art
books that capture the essence of Inoueâ€™s techniques in black and white
and color. SUMI will present Inoueâ€™s
magnificent pen and brush work in black and white. It will also include
a behind-the-scenes look at VAGABOND with rough sketches and photos of
Inoueâ€™s studio. WATER will feature Inoueâ€™s masterful work with color and
will contain artwork only published within this volume.
â€œIt was a true pleasure to help welcome Takehiko Inoue for this special
and rare appearance and also announce the upcoming release of REAL,â€
says Liza Coppola, Sr. Vice President, Marketing, VIZ Media. â€œInoue has
reached the pinnacle of commercial and artistic greatness and his name
is often mentioned in the same breath as luminaries like Osamu Tezuka.
In REAL, Inoue delivers a stunning portrayal of people struggling with
serious life issues. These aspects are masterfully depicted with
beautifully detailed line art and we look forward to readers cheering
for these characters as they battle to overcome physical limitations and
find redemption both on and off the basketball court. This isnâ€™t one to