Few manga have been released in North America as many times in as many formats and few have been as deserving. Last released in 2004, VIZ Media is bringing renowned anime director Hayao Miyazaki's longest work of manga back into print on November 6th. The seven volumes of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind are being collected in two new hardcover editions packaged in a special illustrated slipcase. A full-color double-sided poster is also included and each volume features 8 full-color page inserts. The set reails for $60.00 U.S. / $67.99 CAN.
In a long-ago war, humankind set off a devastating ecological disaster. Thriving industrial societies disappeared. The earth is slowly submerging beneath the expanding Sea of Corruption, an enormous toxic forest that creates mutant insects and releases a miasma of poisonous spores into the air. At the periphery of the sea, tiny kingdoms are scattered on tiny parcels of land. Here lies the Valley of the Wind, a kingdom of barely 500 citizens; a nation given fragile protection from the decaying sea's poisons by the ocean breezes; and home to Nausicaä.
Hayao Miyazaki began serializing Nausicaä in Animage magazine in 1982. There have been contradictory accounts by Miyazaki and producer Toshio Suzuki about whether the manga was written because anime at the time wasn't being funded unless there was an existing manga, or whether Miyazaki was initially determined for the manga to stand alone, without an anime adaptation - believing that the material was better suited to be explored in manga.
Eventually a 1984 movie was produced at Top Craft, setting the template for Miyazaki's upcoming work at Studio Ghibli. Miyazaki returned to the manga and continued to work on it off and on until its 1994 conclusion.
On the differences between the manga and the classic anime, Ghibli Wiki's FAQ says:
A great many things happen after what happened in the movie. Even the part depicted in the movie is much more complicated in the manga.
In the manga, there is a war going on between two superpowers, Torumekia and the Dorok Empire. Nausicaä was a part of Kushana's invading force, which she joined as the chieftain of the valley to keep the old treaty between Torumekia and the valley (so Torumekia was basically an ally, not an enemy). Most of the story then takes place in the land of Dorok. The Doroks are the ones who tried to cause the Ohmu stampede to crush Kushana's army to defend their land from the invasion. Nausicaä didn't even die at this point.
In the manga, there are no simple dichotomies such as valley vs. Torumekia, good vs. evil, or Nature vs. Man. Many characters, such as Kushana, Ghil, and the God Warrior have very different fates and roles than in the movie. And the ending will likely surprise you and make you think. It's a great work of art and thought. You'll enjoy it very much.