VIZ Media to Bring Early Urasawa Manga to U.S. for the First Time

Publisher announces plans to release first English-language editions of "Master Keaton," from the creator of "20th Century Boys" and "Monster."
Naoki Urasawa/Pioneer Entertainment

Naoki Urasawa is one of the most critically acclaimed manga creators working today, thanks to series like Monster (currently being developed as a series for HBO), 20th Century Boys and Pluto, his revisionist take on Astro Boy. Starting at the end of this year, English-language readers will be able to experience one of his earliest works for the first time.

In December, VIZ Media will be releasing the entire six-year run of Urasawa’s Master Keaton across 12 volumes. The series, which launched in 1988 as a feature in the Japanese Big Comic Original anthology, centers around a man working as a part-time insurance investigator for Lloyds of London while dreaming of a life of archaeological research.

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Despite its popularity in Japan, the series has never appeared in English prior to these new editions, although an English version of the animated adaption was released across eight DVDs in 2003-2004 by Pioneer Entertainment.

The English release of Master Keaton coincides with Urasawa’s return to the strip; in 2012, he launched Master Keaton Remaster, a new series in Big Comic Original that takes place two decades after the original. As yet, VIZ has not announced plans to bring the latter series to America.