Scholastic's Graphix Imprint Blasts onto the Manga Scene

Unico: Awakening will be published on August 6, 2024

New York, NY – September 20, 2023: Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, announced today the publication of Unico: Awakening, a dynamic reimagining of Osamu Tezuka’s (1928–1989) classic Unico manga for a new generation of readers. Releasing on August 6, 2024, in the U.S., the multibook world and language rights deal—including four volumes, a handbook and activity book—was negotiated by David Saylor, vice president and publisher of Graphix, and Dara Hyde at Hill Nadell Literary Agency and Aki Yanagi.

Full of striking, colorful artwork, with pages that read left to right in the Western comics style—as did Tezuka’s original manga story—Unico: Awakening marks the launch of an irresistible manga series that reinvents Tezuka’s beloved character. Adorable, funny, and good-hearted, Unico is a young unicorn filled with hope and perseverance, perfect for a new generation of manga readers.

First published in 1976, the original Unico manga was written and illustrated by Tezuka, the creator of Astro Boy who was known as the “God of Manga.” In 2022, the creative team Gurihiru (the artist team behind Superman Smashes the Klan) and Samuel Sattin (the writer of Buzzing)—along with Tezuka Productions and Octas Inc.—launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a reimagining of the manga called Unico: Awakening. The campaign reached its goal in a breathtaking 24 hours.

“I’m thrilled to have Unico: Awakening on the Scholastic Graphix list, where it will be our touchstone for publishing manga for younger readers and teens, as Graphix continues to lead the way in children’s comics,” says Saylor. “This groundbreaking publication delivers brilliant storytelling and artwork for young readers and manga fans worldwide.”

“Osamu Tezuka always hoped to deliver to children his message of understanding and respecting life. He created stories to enlighten readers about the value of coexistence and to give them hope for the future,” says Yoshihiro Shimizu, Director of Tezuka Productions. “Unico: Awakening continues Tezuka’s message with the brilliance of Samuel Sattin and Gurihiru. The story of Unico, a young unicorn with a power to change the world with his selfless love to others, will surely touch our young readers’ hearts. I expect this story will be loved by children all over the world.”

About UNICO: AWAKENING (Volume 1) 

Unico tells the unforgettable story of a young unicorn who, after enraging the goddess Venus with his ability to positively impact human emotions, is banished from the heavens and taken across space and time until he forgets all he once was. Saved from oblivion by the Spirit of the West Wind, she now brings him from era to era, constantly on the move. Wherever he goes, Unico continues to help others, before having to escape the gods again and begin a new adventure. This multibook deal—including four volumes, a handbook and activity book—will fully realize Unico’s adventures as an homage to the God of Manga’s original messaging of social welfare and eco-consciousness through tales of resilience and hope.

About Graphix

Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic, is committed to publishing creator-driven graphic novels for early, middle grade and young adult readers. Graphix launched in 2005 with the publication of Jeff Smith’s acclaimed epic series, BONE. Graphix titles have become bestsellers around the globe and continue to receive awards and critical acclaim including multiple Eisner Award wins and nominations, a National Book Award Longlist selection (Hey, Kiddo), a Stonewall Book Award Honor (Drama), a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor (Smile), an Edgar Allan Poe nomination (The Lost Boy), and more than twenty-five New York Times bestsellers to date. The list now features the Dog Man series by Dav Pilkey, Raina Telgemeier’s books, the Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi, the Sunny books by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, Twins by Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright, Allergic by Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter, the Heartstopper series by Alice Oseman, and the graphic novel adaptations of The Baby-sitters Club and Wings of Fire series.

About Osamu Tezuka (1928–1989)

Osamu Tezuka is a legendary creator whose pioneering works helped establish the manga form and the base of Japanese TV animation, now globally known as anime. UNICO: AWAKENING is backed by Tezuka Productions Co., Ltd., a 55-year-old studio established by Tezuka himself in 1968. 

About Samuel Sattin 

Samuel Sattin is the author of The Kids Guide to Anime and Manga and Essential Anime: 50 Iconic Films, Standout Series, and Cult Masterpieces, co-written with Patrick Macias. He adapted the Academy Award-nominated films WolfWalkers, Song of the Sea, and The Secret of Kells to the graphic novel format. His books also include Buzzing (with Rye Hickman, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2023) and Side Quest (with Steenz, Versify/HarperCollins, 2024). He graduated with an MFA in comics from the California College of the Arts and works as a studio writer for Schulz Creative Associates.

About Gurihiru

Gurihiru is an Eisner Award-winning illustration team based out of Saitama, Japan. Though widely known for their work in American comics, they also work in games, manga, and anime in Japan, including large initiatives for Nintendo and Disney Japan. Major works include It’s Jeff, Superman Smashes the Klan, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Spider-Man/Venom: Double Trouble.

Tezuka Productions

Tezuka Productions Co., Ltd. is a Japanese studio founded by Osamu Tezuka, known as the God of Manga, in 1968. The studio is now mainly engaged in management and operation of Tezuka’s copyrighted works, both manga and animation, and in animation production. It is known for notable animation works such as Astro Boy (1980/2003), Jungle Emperor Leo (AKA: Kimba the White Lion), Dororo, and Black Jack.

Octas Inc. was established in 2018 by Vincent Shortino, long time President and founder of Crunchyroll Japan. With a mission to connect Japanese creators and their IP directly to fans around the world, Octas provides artists and IP with collaboration opportunities, marketing support, brand management, and business development services.  

UNICO: AWAKENING (VOLUME 1) by Osamu Tezuka, Samuel Sattin and Gurihiru

Graphix | Ages 8–12 | On sale August 6, 2024

Paperback ISBN 9781339036335

Hardcover ISBN 9781339036342

eBook ISBN 9781339036359


For more information, please contact: 

Seale Ballenger

VP, Publicity