Marvel Comics and Viz Media are partnering together to bring some of Marvel's recent manga from Japan to North America, as well as produce new manga/comics material.
"Marvel has had a long history of telling stories in new and compelling ways, and Viz is the perfect partner to help us continue that path," says Marvel's vice president of licensed publishing Sven Larsen.
The first title from this new Marvel/Viz partnership will be Nao Fuji's Marvel Meow on October 12. First published on Marvel's Instagram page (and then as variant covers), the Marvel Meow manga follows Chewie, the cat-looking pet of Captain Marvel from comics (who was adapted as Goose in the Captain Marvel film).
"Join Captain Marvel's catlike pet flerken, Chewie, as she wreaks havoc in the lives of Marvel's most popular characters!" reads Viz's description of the 72-page OGN. "Gain a new perspective on beloved favorites such as Spider-Man and Iron Man, formidable villains including Thanos and Galactus, and antiheroes like Deadpool, as they all become the playthings of this capricious 'cat' creature."
Following in February 2022, the Japanese hit manga series Deadpool: Samurai by writer Sanshirō Kasama and artist Hikaru Uesugi published by Shueisha (Viz's parent company) in Japan will be collected into an English-language edition by Viz. This web manga debuted as a limited series on the Japanese-language Shōnen Jump+ mobile app in 2019, and after over a million views of the webmanga it was expanded into an ongoing series - which recently featured a surprise crossover with My Hero Academia.
As to be expected given the title, Deadpool: Samurai follows the Merc with a Mouth as he's transported to feudal Japan - sort of like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Turtles in Time.
Given the million+ views of the first chapter of Deadpool: Samurai in Japan alone, this eventual English-language translation would make that number even higher - something akin to that 2019 tweet by Marvel editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski about an idea for a comic that would sell "over seven figures." This would certainly meet that bar (and then some), albeit not in the traditional term of selling a million+ in comic books at their normal price.
"Viz is best-in-class for its unforgettable stories, and after the massive success of last year's Deadpool manga, we're thrilled to now be working with them to bring our iconic characters to even more manga fans everywhere," Larsen adds.
The third announced project in this Marvel/Viz partnership is Secret Reverse by Yu-Gi-Oh creator Kazuki Takahashi. This one-shot pits Iron Man and Spider-Man against an evil corporate boss while at a video game convention in Japan.
The deal is part of a broader relationship Cebulski has cultivated with Shueisha in the past five years - first as Marvel's vice president of international business development and brand management, and now as the company's editor-in-chief.
"Much like VIZ's iconic characters, Marvel heroes are universally beloved and VIZ is excited to bring their adventures to readers in a new way," says Viz editorial director Sarah Fairhall. "Our collaboration will include English editions of several Shonen Jump manga titles, as well as some all-new publishing and ShoPro's Marvel Meow."
In 2019, Marvel and Shueisha co-published nine web manga one-shots under the banner of 'Marvel × Shōnen Jump+ Super Collaboration,' including Deadpool: Samurai and Secret Reverse. The seven remaining one-shots could be among the additional manga Viz chooses to import to North America.
Marvel Meow and Deadpool: Samurai are expected to be available simultaneously in print AND on most major digital platforms. For the best digital comics reading experience, check out our list of the best digital comics readers for Android and iOS devices.