"Talismen: Return of the Exile unites many storytelling elements of Japan's shojo manga, the fastest growing segment of the publishing industry in the United States, with traditional American-style comic books to create something new and exciting," said James Watson, Atlantis Studios' publisher.
A recent USAToday article reported that most American comic books concentrate mostly on action, but shojo emphasizes emotions and plot as much if not more than action. So, too, does the story for Talismen: Return of the Exile. Marine Lance Corporal Ollie Steel is captured by terrorists and interrogated. Ollie passes out and awakes in a dreamland village called Donnelly. The village seems new to Ollie, but folks there tell him that he has been there before, and that he is destined to help save them from the neighboring realm of nightmares. There is also a young Donnelly woman named Astrina who insists she and Ollie are destined to fall in love.
"Talismen: Return of the Exile has been building a growing worldwide following over the Internet over the past two years," said. Watson. "Comic book fans, fantasy fans and shojo fans who have seen the story really like it and its heroes Ollie and Astrina. They also like the way the creators, Barbara Jacobs and Steven Philip Jones, are using different elements from both mediums to tell their story."
For example, many shojo manga are black and white, but Talismen: Return of the Exile features lush computer colors. The art by rising superstar Jacobs is evocative of the famous "big eyes" style of Japanese cartoons employed in most shojo manga, but Jacob's style is also reminiscent of Disney and Chuck Jones cartoons. Most shojo manga are told in a single comic book that can run 150 pages or more, but Talismen: Return of the Exile is a slimmer 88 pages that will first be published in four comic books for the U.S. direct market in 2005 and then as a graphic novel for the retail book market in the summer of 2006.
The American comic book industry has been experiencing historically low sales since 1996, but as the USAToday article stated, 2004 sales for shojo manga in the United States were "estimated at more than $120 million, up 20% from 2003." Most shojo manga sold in the United States is produced in Japan, but if an original English language product like Talismen: Return of the Exile is a success, it could help open the door for other American comic books to enter the shojo market.
"Comic book professionals and fans around the world have been following Talismen: Return of the Exile over the Internet since summer 2003," said Jones, the story's scriptwriter. "Now that it will soon be available as a comic book, they are excited that this series could be just the thing to give the American comic book market the spark it has been needing."
Orders for the first and second issue of Talismen: Return of the Exile will be solicited in Diamond Distribution's November catalogue, but subscriptions for all four issues can be ordered through the Atlantis Studios website at www.atlantisstudios.net.
Atlantis Studios develops, publishes, and distributes high-quality science fiction, fantasy, superhero, and action-adventure custom comics, comics based on licensed properties and strategic partnerships. For more information on Atlantis Studios, visit http://www.atlantisstudios.net
For more information on Talismen, including exclusive promotional artwork, preproduction sketches, and previews of issue #2, visit http://www.atlantisstudios.net/talismen.