Official Press Release
VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry's most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has teamed up with Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden to promote literacy. Oden will be featured in the campaign using SLAM DUNK, the exciting new basketball-themed manga (graphic novel) series to help promote the love of reading.
VIZ Media will donate copies of several of their popular manga titles including the highly anticipated SLAM DUNK manga series (rated T for Teens) to Greg Oden's charity, Oregon Mentors. Oregon Mentors works to expand positive life opportunities for all young Oregonians by connecting them with caring mentors http://oregonmentors.org.
Oden, the 250-pound, 7-foot tall, national phenomenon who was picked No. 1 overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in the recent 2007 NBA draft, will also make a special in-person appearance in the VIZ Media Booth #4113 at the 2008 Comic-Con International, in San Diego, the nation's largest comics convention, to celebrate the launch of the new manga series and raise awareness about this literacy campaign. Oden will appear in the VIZ Media booth on Sunday July 27 from 12:00-1:00pm to meet fans and sign autographs.
VIZ Media will also welcome two of the Los Angeles Laker Girls to San Diego Comic-Con for a special appearance in the booth in support of the release of SLAM DUNK, on Friday, July 25, from 12:00pm to 2:00 pm.
"I am very excited to team with VIZ Media to bring the basketball series SLAM DUNK to Oregon Mentors," said Oden. "I know the positive impact that mentoring has on young people. I believe in its ability to help kids develop a love for reading. I am excited to be a part of this special campaign!"
Basketball. The court, the ball, the hoop. The hopes, the dreams, the sweat. It takes dedication and discipline to be the best, and Takehiko Inoue's manga series introduces readers to the Shohoku High team that wants to be just that - the best. They have one last year to make their captain's dream of reaching the finals come true - will they do it? Inoue's legendary basketball manga is finally here. Inoue's SLAM DUNK is one of Japan's most successful manga series, selling more than 100 million copies to-date. It has catapulted the artist into the top ranks of Japanese manga artists and debuts across North America August 11. Each volume of SLAM DUNK will feature a profile of a NBA player, their stats and their signature on-court move, beginning with Volume 1 which features the Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James and his signature move, the Slam Dunk as a bonus excerpt. Advance copies of SLAM DUNK will be available at the retail area of the VIZ Media booth at this years Comic-Con International.
"We are very excited to promote the use of the sport of basketball as a theme to help promote literacy and welcome Portland Trail Blazer Greg Oden who shares the goal to increase literacy," says Liza Coppola, Sr. Vice President, Corporate Relations & Partnerships, VIZ Media. "This is a perfect fit for both the NBA and SLAM DUNK. SLAM DUNK is a basketball manga series that captures the essence and excitement of basketball and appeal to anyone who loves the game, Greg Oden embodies the spirit of SLAM DUNK - he has the passion, drive and is looked upon as a role model for many potential readers of the series. He is a natural bridge between kids who love the game of basketball and the one book that brings the true feel and spirit of the game to life between its pages."
Takehiko Inoue is the creator of two other titles lauded by critics and fans alike. VAGABOND, which is currently published in North America by VIZ Media (rated M for Mature), is a fictional account of the life of legendary 17th century swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. REAL, which debuts July 15 (rated T+ for Older Teens), is a riveting manga series about wheelchair basketball. Inoue has drawn international acclaim for his realistic and dramatic visual style and he's the recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious Tezuka Osamu Culture Award and the Media Arts Festival Award. A devoted fan of basketball, Inoue also did the character designs for the Playstation video game One On One and founded a scholarship to foster Japanese basketball talent.
About VIZ Media, LLC
Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), is one of the most comprehensive and innovative companies in the field of manga (graphic novel) publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content. Owned by three of Japan's largest creators and licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media is a leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa and is a global ex-Asia licensor of Japanese manga and animation. The company offers an integrated product line including magazines such as SHONEN JUMP and SHOJO BEAT, graphic novels, and DVDs, and develops, markets, licenses, and distributes animated entertainment for audiences and consumers of all ages. Contact VIZ Media at 295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133; Phone (415) 546-7073; Fax (415) 546-7086; and web site at www.VIZ.com.