Celebrate! Rockman Manga Artists Contribute Original Anniversary Art to R20+5

1ee7fc38 Rockman Unity has shared some more of the new artwork added to the R20+5: Rockman and Rockman X Official Complete Works art book, each by a different Rockman manga artist celebrating the Blue Bomber's 25th anniversary. Above, you can see the contribution of Ryo Takamisaki, who you might remember as the creator of the Rockman.EXE manga that was localized here by Viz as MegaMan NT Warrior.

Read on to see Hitoshi Ariga (Mega Man Megamix and Mega Man Gigamix) and Yoshihiro Iwamoto's (Rockman X) respective pieces. Thanks for the tip, Oakie620!

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From 1UP: Mega Man's Comic Career & The Social Retrospective

Finishing off this week's 1UP Cover Story, "Mega Man: 25 Years of Theme-Park Levels and Stolen Robot Powers," is a two-story main event for the weekend.

First up is Jeremy Parish's "Mega Man: The Social Retrospective," which is described as "a randomly irreverent trip through the history of Capcom's robot hero." This collects the many posts made over the past month in celebration of the Blue Bomber's 25th anniversary on 1UP's Tumblr account, with lots of fun tidbits and images.

The other story is one we've alluded to throughout the week, "Mega Man's Comic Career: The Good, The Bad, The Bizarre." Here, Nadia Oxford and I look back at the past and the present, the good and the bad, and overall some of the most noteworthy instances of Mega Man in print. It's by no means a thorough list, but rather provides some of the high and lowlights of his career.

Special thanks go out to Ian Flynn and the Archie Comics crew, UDON Entertainment, and Dr. Neko for my part, while Nadia would like to extend thanks to The Mechanical Maniacs and Rodrigo Shin for hers.

And that's it for 1UP's Mega Man Cover Story this week; we hope you've enjoyed it!

Happy Birthday to Hitoshi Ariga

Today marks the birthday of Mr. Hitoshi Ariga, and we just wanted to wish him the happiest one he could possibly have (and maybe a job working for Capcom heading up the Mega Man brand). For those who have been living under one of Guts Man's rocks, or are simply fresh off the assembly line, Ariga is a longstanding fan-favorite artist who has worked with Mega Man-- or Rockman, if you would like to be technical-- for many years. Beginning with Rockman Remix, which included a couple of Classic Rockman tales in addition to an adaptation of one of Bandai's Rockman X MegaMission card sets, he has created a number of other manga based on the Blue Bomber, filling out a series of three Rockman Megamix and three Rockman Gigamix volumes.

More recently, much of his work has been adapted under the Mega Man name and released in North America by UDON Entertainment. Furthermore, his was the guiding hand which brought together the R20 art compilation, known better to some as the Mega Man Official Complete Works and Mega Man X Official Complete Works, also released in North America by UDON. He has also developed short manga and illustrations for the Rockman 9 Arrange Soundtrack, ZX Tunes, and Chiptuned Rockman.

In addition, he also designed the Robot Masters Dynamo Man and Burner Man for Mega Man & Bass, for which he also designed the Super Famicom box art. Outside of Mega Man, some might recognize his work from the Star Wars and The Big O manga.

Suffice to say, he's done quite a bit. He even gave us all a special treat on his first visit to North America in 2010, when answered questions and showed us his idea for how Bass and Ice Man's hair would look.

Now that you know what the man has done and that it's his big day, there's just one thing left for you to do: If you're a deviantART member, go there and wish him a happy birthday (and maybe check out some of the works he's posted there). Or, if you're on Twitter, you can wish him well there, too.

The TMMN Megacast #17 – The Bad Box Art GigaCast

Hey, everybody! It's the January MegaCa-Oh, who am I kidding? It's February. I know it. You know it. It's time to just accept it. But despite its belated release, we have a great show for you this month. The classic crew is finally back together including myself (Main Finger), Heat Man, Tabby, and our prodigal son/conspiracy theorist, AWD!

We also have a special guest. Do you want to see what they look like? Just look in the mirror! We asked you to call in with your input on Bad Box Art Mega Man and you did. Well, at least some of you did. We selected three of you to be heard during our discussion. But don't worry! The rest of you are still part of the show. Just be sure to stick around until the very end to hear the rest of the calls.

We also discuss all three volumes of the Mega Man GigaMix manga. But first, Heat tells us all about his trip to Wonder Festival and the many Rockman figures he saw.

All this and more on the latest (like... really late) MegaCast: The Bad Box Art GigaCast!

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Mega Man Receives Two Diamond Distributor 2011 Gem Award Nominations

Just a quick item of note regarding the Blue Bomber in print, as he is up for two awards in Diamond Distributor's Gem Awards for 2011. Mega Man #1 from Archie is a nominee in the category for "2011 Licensed Comic of the Year," while UDON Entertainment's Mega Man Gigamix volume 1 is looking for a win in the field of "2011 Manga Trade Paperback of the Year." In addition, UDON themselves are nominated for "2011 Manga Publisher of the Year."

Unfortunately, it is not up to the likes of us who wins and loses, but rather, the retailers who carry them. Of course, if you're in good with your local comic book shop owner, perhaps you could help sway their vote in the above categories... but then again, that will hopefully not be necessary, though Archie's Mega Man may have the toughest competition, placed against the likes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spongebob Squarepants, Game of Thrones, and Peanuts.

Thanks for the tip, Merricks!

UDON's Breakfast with Hitoshi Ariga

Ariga holding Mega Man: GigamixWith Gigamix 3 finally out to North America, one has to wonder how the artist himself feels about his epic story coming to an end. Chris, Erik, and Steven Cummings of UDON caught up with Hitoshi Ariga himself to ask him a few questions about his series, including some back story about the ending (If you read my review on Gigamix Vol2, might not be so surprising), as well as how he feels about his English audience.

Since we're all wondering what will be new for the Mega Man franchise during the Blue Bomber's 25th year, UDON questioned Ariga what the future might hold.

At this moment, I am working on a couple things that I can’t really mention, unfortunately. I’ve also been helping on some game work. I am looking forward to doing more Mega Man stuff, but there is nothing that has been announced yet. And of course, it is important to me that Gigamix has reached a North American audience at last.

Sounds like good things are on the way!

Definitely check out the full interview over on UDON's blog

Updates on UDON's Mega Man Ventures

Been wondering when that next awesome Mega Man manga is coming out? Or when some new reprints are going to be filled? UDON's Matt Moylan has contacted us with the low down. Mega Man: Robot Master Field Guide:

This project has been through a lot! It turned out to be a lot more work than expected, has got through a couple total overhauls, and also had a lengthy approval process. But the book is now completed. We have rescheduled the book for January 2012. It could be ready a bit earlier, but because the book is so late we want to give comic shops the chance to adjust their orders on the book. (As a little background, comic book shops cannot return most unsold books like big chain book stores can, so shop owners appreciate being able to adjust their orders on a late title. “Mom & Pop” comic shops are still a big market for UDON, so we want to take care of those folks when we can.) Thanks all for being patient on this fun little book!

Mega Man Gigamix Vol. 3:

The final book in Hitoshi Ariga’s ultimate Mega-manga series is now at the printer. It’s expected to hit stores early November. A more precise date and previews will be coming closer to the release.

Mega Man: Official Complete Works: Mega Man Zero: Official Complete Works:

We are reprinting both of these titles, and they’ll be back in stock before the end of the year. So don’t pay any crazy reseller prices! ;)

Mega Man Tribute:

Just a note, if you haven’t picked up this book and want a copy before X-mas (for yourself or for a gift) I’d suggest  to you order early. Due to some miscommunication, our printed shorted us on this title about 20% less than we wanted for the first printing. We do still have a decent amount in stock, but that could sell out quick closer to the holiday season. Whenever MM Tribute sells out we will do a new printing, but it’s not likely to make it in time for X-mas, so just a heads up!

Finally, Matt notes that: "Also, we have a few new Mega Man projects in the works! Hopefully we can announce some of them soon. Thanks all!"

If you have any additional questions on the matter, comment them in this post and we'll send them Matt's way. He may even drop by to address them personally! Thanks Matt!

A Review of GigaMix Volume 2

I am a huge Hitoshi Ariga fan, and on top of that, Mega Man V was one of my favorite Classic games, hands down. So when GigaMix 1 was released in Japan, and it hinted that the next story involved the Stardroids, I about lost it. This story arc builds up on the events that happened in GigaMix volume one's story, Asteroid Blues. Light, Wily (who was still incarcerated at the time), and Mega Man traveled through space to an asteroid called "Alpha", to gather these crystals that were discovered to have a huge source of power. Wily betrays them of course, breaking out of his shackles and elimating his guards thanks to Shadow Man. The battle over these crystals raged, with Mega Man the victor. Wily escaped, and is lurking somewhere on Earth.

I'm not sure exactly how much time has passed since that battle. It looks like the events of MegaMix are in between "Asteroid Blues" and the start of this story, "White Nightmare", as Dr. Cossack is around, as well as robots from MegaMix volume three, like Yamato Man and Knight Man. Not to mention, the return of the Hourly Pay Squad. (Hooray Star Man!)

In the after notes of this volumEarly Stardroid Arte, Ariga states that the Stardroid story was a long time coming. He doesn't state what stalled him from sitting down and drawing it, but says he was working on the idea constantly, going through many drafts. I believe him. I've actually stalked Ariga's blogs a lot, and over a long period of time, there's been hints that he was interested in the Stardroid series. That was the first picture of the Stardroids he did, I believe. It's clearly earlier work, as he looked to be sticking more to the Capcom style. Maybe he was just getting a feel for the characters? Later on though, the familiar 'black eyes' design popped up into a sketch. Check out the images on the left that have been hanging around my hard drive for awhile.

Terra fires off a spark chaser

Am I glad Ariga waited so long? Yes. As much as I love Ariga's earlier MegaMix works, sometimes I felt like the art was maybe a little rushed, and that his story telling was a little spastic at times. I did love his story of more silly and humorous approach, which is probably what added to that feeling.  When I read GigaMix 1, the thing that blew me away was the fact that both his art and story had jumped and matured quite a bit. He started to get a more serious tone in MegaMix 3, and I'm quite glad he decided to follow that trend now with GigaMix.

Of course, we hit the best part of Ariga's mangas: the character design. Ariga has a knack with re-designing the Mega Man characters with his own personal flare, giving them interesting back stories, and little design details that add so much to the character. GigaMix is no exception to that rule. He's turned the Stardroids into actual robotic aliens, rather than having them Wily bots like the game canon. Boy, does he drive the alien part home. Everything the Stardroids do, from their reactions to their looks scream of something not of this planet. They're more cruel and ruthless than anything Wily or Wily's bots have ever come up with. Heck, there's panels of Terra hovering around, and looking up at him. I think his boots make him look like some sort of space craft. No, seriously.

Bonus points for UDON's wonderful addition as well, changing the text around to make it look and feel like the Stardroids are talking in strange ways. Great font choices!

Young Wily and LightHe also builds on the characters we've all come to know and love. We get to see that maybe Wily and his robots aren't all that bad and have a softer side to them. A part that struck me particularly hard was seeing Shadow Man struggle, survive, cry, and throw away whatever pride he had to complete his mission.

Let's not forget, a touching flash back between a much younger Dr. Wily and Dr. Light in their college days. It gives us quite a bit of insight on why Wily acts a certain way sometimes. It also makes you wonder what went so very wrong to break up what looks like such a strong friendship. Was it a little madness on Wily's part, or was there some other unseen event in this version of Mega Man? I'd be interested to see a bit more on the subject. Maybe it's something Ariga will touch on in later manga? Poor Wily. Looks like his hair has always been uncontrollably mA new challenger!essy since birth.

All in all, GigaMix 2 is a perfect follow up to the first. The story is exciting, full of hot Stardroid vs Robot action. It flows at a great pace, and it kept me hooked through every panel. The art and design is extremely solid.  I'll probably end up reading this 15 million times, just to absorb all the elements that have been intertwined into this great book. Ariga it always stepping it up to the next level. Should you buy this book? Yes and a thousand times yes. What are you waiting for?!

I cannot wait for volume 3: The final show down with the Stardroids, not to mention, more familiar characters popping in.

A Closer Look at Mega Man Gigamix Vol. 2

Matt Moylan of UDON Entertainment is confident you'll eat up Mega Man Gigamix Vol. 2. He boasts it's the beginning of the most immense adventure Mega Man has ever faced, and incorporating the greatest number of characters. In order to help you get more excited, he's sent over a number of preview pages for you to get a taste of the action. Check 'em out below.Mega Man Gigamix Vol. 2 released last week in comic book stores, but is now available online at Amazon. Go pick it up already! And thank you, Matt! [gallery link="file" orderby="title"]

Prepare for a Triple Dose of Mega Man Books Next Week

Been waiting for some sweet new Mega Man book releases from UDON? Then you might say Christmas is coming early. Next week on the 10th, UDON Entertainment will be releasing Mega Man Gigamix Vol. 2, Mega Man Star Force Official Complete Works and the standard edition ofMega Man Tribute. They will arrive in comic stores online, with online distributors like Amazon likely getting them the following week.

Friend of the site Matt Moylan has given us some details of these new releases, as well as some preview pages from each book which you can see after the jump. Hope you've been saving up some money!

MEGA MAN TRIBUTE SC

Hundreds of artists of every imaginable style join forces to show their love for the blue bomber! Featuring over 300 pages of art starring the characters of Mega Man Classic, Mega Man X, Mega Man Zero, Mega Man ZX, and of course, Mega Man Legends!

MEGA MAN STAR FORCE OFFICIAL COMPLETE WORKS

While Star Force is one of the lesser known Mega Man series, we know it still has plenty of fans, and the artwork behind this series is top notch. Star Force OCW collects the artwork behind all 3 generations of the Star Force games, plus tons of artist notes and creator commentary.

MEGA MAN GIGAMIX VOl.2

Volume 1 of Hitoshi Ariga’s latest manga was just a warm-up… Gigamix Vol. 2 is where Gigamix really kicks it into high gear! In this first half of the epic Stardroids saga you’ll see:

-          The destructive power of the Stardroids, Mega Man’s most powerful foes yet! -          Doctors Wily & Light… on the same side? -          Rush merges with another robot to form Super_____! (hint, it’s someone besides Mega Man!) -          Proto Man, Bass, Roll, Dozens of Robots Masters from multiple Mega Man games, and more!

It all begins in Mega Man Gigamix Vol.2: “White Nightmare!”

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Review of Mega Man Gigamix vol. 1

Mega Man Gigamix is a whole new series from famed manga artist and writer Hitoshi Ariga. Whereas the original Mega Man Megamix was done in Japan years ago, Mega Man Gigamix is much more recent. We fans can be thankful for not having to wait nearly as long this time! The following review is written by my pal AWD! who is a big Mega Man fan, and a big Hitoshi Ariga fan. In my mind his point of view is one of the best to take on reviewing this new series. Mega Man Gigamix vol. 1 is on sale in comic stores now, and should be available at online retailers very soon. And now the review.

I don’t think it should be surprising to you that even before I was able to pick up Gigamix, that I had already had an appreciation and love for Ariga’s Megamix series.

The first chapter “Asteroid Blues” is a take on the storyline of Mega Man 3, a game I personally hold really close to my history as a gamer. It touches on the games main storyline where Dr. Light and Dr. Wily join forces to create a robot named “Gamma.” It’s an interesting take because it not just takes the concept, but adds to it in a very epic continuation. It’s actually more of a prequel to the Megamix series if you’re going to try to figure out continuity.

Even more telling of this is the focus of the main eight robot masters from MM3, who all really show off unique powers that are reminiscent of the creative take Ariga gives them. I’m also a bit relieved that the whole “yelling out your move” trend that was in the earlier Megamix books is less prominent in this as the robot masters fight against Mega Man.

The most surprising element is the inclusion of Break Man, a character I could never really fit into the story of MM3 myself, however, he was given a very interesting part given a certain other characters origin. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I think if you’re familiar with the series, you know what you’re going to get.  The whole point of this series is to create something new with something old, something I rarely see when it comes to video game emulated comic books. Instead of creating a point A to point B storyline, Ariga’s Gigamix goes all over the place in a good way.

The second chapter: “Burning Wheel” takes on the Megamix tradition of a sillier take on the storyline. The story is teeming with silly interactions with characters, making it seem more like a television episode than anything. Which is not a bad thing, it’s still epic in its own right, and even has some menacing elements to it. It just seems like the more comedic approach to me than the first story, and that’s probably the point.

This story focuses mainly on Battle & Chase (a very rare game unless you count the inclusion in the Mega Man X Collection) and the Mega Man 7 robots, which honestly does not fit except for the fact that Turbo Man plays a tremendous role in the chapter. I feel as though things are a little tacked on just for the sake of including Battle & Chase elements, like “Look, there’s Guts Man” “Look, there’s Guts Man in his car.” It’s not terrible, but it’s a little forced at times. Nevertheless I can see why it was added as it’s only to add more comedic value to the storyline.

However in this case, the fact that so many other characters from other sequels of the series take part in the story is what gives Ariga’s series its individuality and charm. It’s not limited to one focus of the series and that the whole world of the series is given a part is what I always appreciated and wanted to see. It’s nice to see it continued in this chapter.

There are several cameos and nods to other series, especially the Battle Network series. There’s even a several cameos of Reaverbots from Mega Man Legends, which only fuels my appreciation for the mystery of these crazy ruin protectors. That’s what I want in my comics, something that prolongs my appreciation for a particular subject and even adds more to that fascination, not just emulating the original product.

I’ve always been very inspired and appreciative of Ariga’s original take on the characters designs, and seeing more characters in his style just makes me giddy, especially the revealed look of Gamma, the giant robot that is created by both doctors. Gigamix seems to have taken a more movie like storytelling compared to the Megamix series, which only shows Ariga’s evolution in comics. It still has edge, a more serious tone, but that’s what is really spectacular and compelling to read, but it still manages to keep a sort of Saturday morning cartoon feel to it. I’m just saying, if they were to make the Mega Man movie like Ariga’s comics, then that’d be just right.

I especially like how Ariga handles Dr. Wily in his series, he seems so maniacal, but believable. He’s obviously a genius; he’s just a maddened genius. He’s arrogant and snobbish, giving him more of that edge as a developed character, much more than “take over the world” sort of mentality. Not to mention his ability to constantly boast when needed.In the Battle & Chase chapter, he takes a bit of a crazy and reckless turn, which is perfect for the mood given. Oh yes, let’s not forget the Doc Robots, who are incredibly menacing even in their own brief appearances.

With that said, this book is teeming with action packed visuals, which almost make me wish to see in color for an even greater effect. If you’re not used to manga black and white, it might take some getting used to, but I just love every panel. The designs, the action, it seems the only thing that’s missing is a soundtrack to go with the book.

If you want a good Mega Man comic to read, pick up Gigamix, it’s a perfect balance of drama and comedy split in half to make one great read. Just don’t forget to get the previous Megamix volumes as well. Can’t go wrong because Ariga is all good.

UDON's Mega Man Gigamix Delayed?

Delays, delays, delays... always with the delays. We received word from reader Tony Ponce earlier (who, we should add, has a neat article about Dr. Wily, which you can read up on here) that Amazon has apparently sent notices out to its customers that Hitoshi Ariga's Mega Man Gigamix manga, published by UDON Entertainment, has been delayed. Its new release date is now said to be between July 18th and July 22nd.

Of course, this is not the first time that Amazon has moved the release date around. We touched on that a bit a month ago, when the Gigamix release was bumped from May to June, then back to May again. For all we know, the same thing could happen once again.

We have not heard anything official from UDON on the matter, but will update if anything official comes our way.

Mega Man Gigamix Available for Preorder

Just to make things more official (if they weren't enough already), you can now nab a preorder for Mega Man Gigamix vol. 1 on Amazon. Amazon currently has the release date set at May 17th. Yeah yeah, we've all heard the snubs about UDON delays. But with as big a seller as Megamix has been, it's all the more reason to get these out on time!

Check our previous post for a little more info about Gigamix. Hopefully an official press release will be on its way soon!