Media Release — VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of anime and manga in North America, has announced that two of its critically acclaimed manga (graphic novel) series have been nominated for the 2012 Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards, as announced by Comic-Con International on April 4, 2012.
The nominations include NAOKI URASAWA’S 20th CENTURY BOYS, by Naoki Urasawa, for Best Continuing Series, and SATURN APARTMENTS, Vols. 3-4, by Hisae Iwaoka, for Best U.S. Edition of International Material. Both titles are published by VIZ Media’s VIZ Signature imprint.
Named for pioneering writer and comic artist Will Eisner, the awards recognize exemplary comics, graphic novels and other pop writings, and are given each year as part of the annual Comic-Con International convention, at which VIZ Media will be a major exhibitor and participant in the programs offered. Winners will be announced at a gala ceremony on the evening of Friday, July 13th during Comic-Con. In 2011, NAOKI URASAWA’S 20th CENTURY BOYS won an Eisner Award in the category of Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia.
“It’s a tremendous honor to have NAOKI URASAWA’S 20th CENTURY BOYS nominated again, and we’re equally excited to see Hisae Iwaoka’s SATURN APARTMENTS recognized with a nomination,” says Leyla Aker, Vice President of Publishing at VIZ Media. “Both of these series showcase the dynamic character development and strong storylines that manga is capable of delivering. We are thrilled to be considered again this year among such a diverse group of nominees.”
NAOKI URASAWA’S 20th CENTURY BOYS (rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens) is the story of a group of boys who try to save the world. Humanity, having faced extinction at the end of the 20th century, would not have entered the new millennium if it weren’t for them. In 1969, during their youth, they created a symbol. In 1997, as the coming disaster slowly starts to unfold, that symbol returns.
Naoki Urasawa’s career as a manga artist spans more than twenty years and has firmly established him as one of the true manga masters of Japan. Born in Tokyo in 1960, Urasawa debuted with BETA! in 1983 and hasn’t stopped his impressive output since. Well-versed in a variety of genres, Urasawa’s oeuvre encompasses a multitude of different subjects, such as a romantic comedy (Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl), a suspenseful human drama about a former mercenary (Pineapple ARMY; story by Kazuya Kudo), a captivating psychological suspense story (Monster), a sci-fi adventure manga (20th Century Boys), and a modern reinterpretation of the work of the God of Manga, Osamu Tezuka (Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka; co-authored with Takashi Nagasaki, supervised by Macoto Tezka, and with the cooperation of Tezuka Productions). Many of his books have spawned popular animated and live-action TV programs and films, and 2008 saw the theatrical release of the first of three live-action Japanese films based on 20th Century Boys.
No stranger to accolades and awards, Urasawa received the 2011 Eisner Award for Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia, and is a three-time recipient of the prestigious Shogakukan Manga Award, a two-time recipient of the Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize, and also received the Kodansha Manga Award. Urasawa has also become involved in the world of academia, and in 2008 accepted a guest teaching post at Nagoya Zokei University, where he teaches courses in, of course, manga.
SATURN APARTMENTS (rated ‘T’ for Teens) is set far in the future, when humankind has evacuated the earth in order to preserve it. Humans now reside in a gigantic structure that forms a ring around the earth, thirty-five kilometers up in the sky. The society of the Ring is highly stratified: the higher the floor, the greater the status. Mitsu, the lowly son of a window washer, has just graduated junior high. When his father disappears and is assumed dead, Mitsu must take on his father’s occupation. As he struggles with the transition to working life, Mitsu’s job treats him to an outsider’s view into the living-room dioramas of the Saturn Apartments.
Hisae Iwaoka is the creator of several one-shot manga, including Hana Boro (Flower Cookies) and Shiroi Kumo (White Clouds), both of which were serialized in IKKI magazine. A noted artist and illustrator, her installations have been displayed internationally in the group show “Tokyo Girls Bravo,” curated by artist Takashi Murakami. SATURN APARTMENTS is her most recent manga series
For more information on NAOKI URASAWA’S 20th CENTURY BOYS, SATURN APARTMENTS and other VIZ Media manga titles, please visit www.viz.com/manga.