Bat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan

Overview

The two hottest genres in comics gleefully collide head-on, as the most beloved American superhero gets the coolest Japanese manga makeover ever.

In 1966, during the height of the first Batman craze, a weekly Japanese manga anthology for boys, Shonen King, licensed the rights to commission its own Batman and Robin stories. A year later, the stories stopped. They were never collected in Japan, and never translated into English. Now, in this gorgeously produced book, hundreds of ...

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Overview

The two hottest genres in comics gleefully collide head-on, as the most beloved American superhero gets the coolest Japanese manga makeover ever.

In 1966, during the height of the first Batman craze, a weekly Japanese manga anthology for boys, Shonen King, licensed the rights to commission its own Batman and Robin stories. A year later, the stories stopped. They were never collected in Japan, and never translated into English. Now, in this gorgeously produced book, hundreds of pages of Batman-manga comics more than four decades old are translated for the first time, appearing alongside stunning photographs of the world’s most comprehensive collection of vintage Japanese Batman toys.

This is The Dynamic Duo as you’ve never seen them: with a distinctly Japanese, atomic-age twist as they battle aliens, mutated dinosaurs, and villains who won’t stay dead. And as a bonus: Jiro Kuwata, the manga master who originally wrote and drew this material, has given an exclusive interview for our book.

More than just a dazzling novelty, Bat-Manga! is an invaluable, long-lost chapter in the history of one of the most beloved and timeless figures in comics.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

In 1966-67, while the Batman television series starring Adam West was being shown in Japan, the manga magazine Shonen King published a Japanese-produced Batman and Robin manga written and drawn by Jiro Kuwata, creator of the popular android hero 8-Man. Several installments of this never-before-reprinted series, photographed by Geoff Spear directly from rare and often age-browned original magazines collected by Saul Ferris and Kidd, form the bulk of this lavish but frustrating volume. Kuwata's old-fashioned but enjoyable stories, most featuring newly created villains such as Lord Death Man, will prove highly interesting to comics historians as a cross-cultural phenomenon. Unfortunately for readers, Kidd privileges the manga's status as collectible artifact over its narrative, and only two stories are presented in full-the remaining episodes reprinted are incomplete parts of longer serials (Kidd apparently failed to contact Shonen King's original Japanese publisher, whose archive might have been able to fill the gaps). Photos of 1960s Japanese Batman toys, examples of Batman work by other Japanese artists, and an interview with Kuwata round out the book. For larger collections-note that the hardcover edition contains an additional 24-page episode not included in the $29.95 paperback.
—Steve Raiteri

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375714849
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/2008
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 1,421,833
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Chip Kidd
Chip Kidd is a graphic designer and writer in New York City. His two previous books about comics for Pantheon were Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz and Mythology: The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross. Both won the Eisner Award and were national bestsellers.

Geoff Spear is a photographer, living and working in lower Manhattan. For over two decades he has shot hundreds of images for a wide range of book covers, by such authors as Haruki Murakami, John Burdett, Augusten Burroughs, Oliver Sacks and Daniel Gilbert, among many others.

Saul Ferris is a founding partner in the law office of Ferris, Thompson and Zweig, in Gurnee, Illinois. During the last twenty years, he has amassed the most comprehensive collection of vintage Japanese Batman toys and memorabilia in the world.

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