publishing of Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira in the United States requires much more
time and effort than a standard comic book reprint. Before American audiences
see the final product, it has gone through a complex "Westernization"
Japan, Akira is first serialized in 20 page black-and-white installments in
Kodansha Ltd.'s Young Magazine. Young Magazine is a 300-page weekly aimed at
high school and college students.
serialized installments are collected into volumes of 300 to 400 pages each. A
fifth and final volume is forthcoming, bringing the total number of pages in Akira
up to 1800. The sales of these volumes in Japan have been phenomenal. The
completed Akira saga will have a total of three and a half million copies in
Goodwin, former Editor-in-Chief of Epic Comics together with the staff of
Kodansha, divided the volumes into 64 page sections for publication. Kodansha
then provided "clean proofs" of the artwork. Japanese comics are
designed for lettering that reads vertically. Before sending the artwork to
Epic. Mash•Room Co., Ltd., Otomo's own studio, removes all Japanese lettering, sound
effects, and dialogue balloons. The artwork is reversed through a camera
process, so that Akira will reproduce from left to right. New artwork replaces the
dialogue and sound effect balloons and eventually new balloons will be drawn to
hold horizontal lettering. The clean "mirror" proofs are then sent to
Epic, along with the script translation.