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Udon Entertainment announced at Comic-Con International in San Diego that it has acquired one of the most sought-after manga licenses ever, Ryoko Ikeda’s “Rose of Versailles,” as well as two other series: Moyoco Anno’s “Sugar Sugar Rune,” which was previously published by Del Rey Manga, and “Stein’s Gate” based on the “Steins;Gate” video game.
“Rose of Versailles,” set in the court of the French queen Marie Antoinette, is one of the most popular and influential manga of all time, and became a shared experience for a generation of Japanese women. The main character in the story is Oscar Francois de Jarjayes, the youngest daughter of the leader of the palace guard, who is raised as a man so she can succeed her father. The story mingles real historical events with romance, drama, and palace intrigue, with Oscar in the center and Marie Antoinette, her paramour Count Axel von Ferson, and Oscar’s childhood friend Andre Grandier all playing major roles.
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy on Wednesday based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on what we call our “Splurge” item.
If I had $15:
I’d get Hellboy: Buster Oakley Gets His Wish ($3.50) to see Hellboy fight some giant robots in space, Salt Water Taffy, Volume 4: Caldera’s Revenge ($5.99) to see Jack and Benny sign aboard a spooky ship in search of a Moby Dick-like whale, and Sweets #5 (2.99) to see Kody Chamberlain wrap up his delicious New Orleans murder mystery.
Joe Madureira says he would like to return to Battle Chasers, his wildly popular but famously never-completed fantasy series. Maybe. A long time from now.
Debuting in 1998, the WildStorm/Cliffhanger title was plagued by now-legendary delays, including a 16-month gap between issues 6 and 7, before disappearing with Issue 9 which, appropriately enough, ended on a cliffhanger. That was nine years ago. The comic re-emerged in August with the solicitation for a $100 hardcover collection initially set for release last week. Now, however, the Battle Chasers Anthology is shooting for release on Dec. 1. Or Dec. 15.
Interviewed ahead of his appearance at last weekend’s Wizard World Austin Comic Con, Madureira was asked about the collection, and the chances of the characters’ return.
“I’m totally excited about the release of the hardcover,” he told The Austin Chronicle. “Over the years I’d always hear from fans that had trouble locating some of the issues. This is the first time it’s all been collected into one volume. We’ll see what kind of reception it gets. I’d love to do something with the characters again someday, but it’s a long way off. I have creative-ADD, too much stuff lined up before then!”
Until then, fans will have to be content with the hardcover, which debuts … soon.
Battle Chasers combined elements of fantasy, steampunk and science fiction with creator Joe Madureira’s artistic energy and audience appeal to create one of the most popular series of the late 1990s. But it was plagued by now-legendary scheduling delays, including a 16-month lag between issues 6 and 7, before the title faded away in September 2001 with Issue 9. The 10th issue, which presumably would have resolved the story’s cliffhanger, was never released.
Madureira, much to the consternation of his fans, drifted from the comics industry to pursue a career as a video-game designer, finally returning in 2007 to illustrate Marvel’s The Ultimates 3.
But what was that about Battle Chasers? Glad you asked, because Image Comics’ November solicitations, released today, feature a listing for the Battle Chasers Anthology hardcover — not The Complete Battle Chasers or the Battle Chasers Omnibus — which collects “every issue ever published of one of the most beloved comic book series of all time.” Whether it is, indeed, one of the most beloved comics of all times is obviously debatable. The hardcover does, however, collect “every issue ever published” of Battle Chasers: issues 0 through 9. So there’s that. Unfortunately, the 10th issue was never released.
Here’s the real sticking point, though: The 340-page hardcover is priced at a whopping $100, or $10 per issue for a series that was never completed; $150 for the signed and numbered limited edition. Sure, there are never-before-seen sketches and additional artwork, but still — $100 for a story that was never completed? Yikes.