A Shueisha representative told The Guardian on Tuesday that French publisher JBE Books’ “all-in-one” One Piece printing was unauthorized. Keita Murano, a member of Shueisha‘s international rights division, said: “The product … is not official. We don’t give permission to them. Our licensee in France which publishes One Piece is the publisher Glénat.”
Earlier this month, JBE Books released the first 102 volumes of Eiichiro Oda‘s One Piece manga as a single bound book across 21,540 pages. According to a spokesperson for the publisher, there is no copyright infringement because it is physically impossible to read the book.
The limited-edition 50-print run is being sold as an avante-garde art piece, called ONEPIECE (note the missing space). The work is credited to artist Ilan Manouach, who describes it as “the materialization of an ecosystem saturated by media.” Each print costs 1,900 euros (about US$1,893).
The book’s format is intended as a commentary on piracy and online fan culture. According to the publisher: “Online participatory culture and the medium’s new networked possibilities have intensified the nature of comics beyond the scope of professional, established expertise with new and disruptive forms of entrepreneurial fan culture. Readers scan, translate and distribute online their favorite manga series. ONEPIECE is a product of this expanded digital production belt.” The ONEPIECE book aims to “shift the understanding of digital comics from a qualitative examination of the formal possibilities of digital comics to a quantitative reappraisal of ‘comics as Big Data’.”
Manouach is known for creating remixes of influential comics. Some of his projects have been controversial, such as his Katz comic, a redraw of the French edition of Art Spiegelman‘s Maus portraying the characters as cats instead of mice. The publisher accused the book of copyright infringement in 2012, and Manouach destroyed the copies on their request.
The ONEPIECE book measures 12 x 18.5 x 80 centimeters and has a spine width of 80 cm (31.5 inches). it is presented as a single volume, literally one piece, inside a black slipcase. Each copy is numbered and contains Manouach’s signature. It was first announced two weeks ago, but it is already sold out, according to JBE Books’ website.
Eiichiro Oda began serializing the One Piece manga in Shueisha‘s Weekly Shonen Jump manga on July 19, 1997. As of July 2021, the manga had 490 million copies in circulation worldwide. The manga won the 41st Japan Cartoonist Awards in 2012, and set a Guinness World Record in 2015 for “the most copies published for the same comic book series by a single author.”
Source: The Guardian (David Barnett)