Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga Vol. 1 (英語) ペーパーバック – 2014/12/9
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At the height the 1960's Batman television shows popularity, a shonen manga magazine in Japan serialized fifty-three chapters, starring The Dark Knight, which were all written by Jiro Kuwata. These rare Batman tales were known by relatively few outside of Japan until award-winning designer Chipp Kidd's 2008 book, Bat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan (Pantheon Books), introduced them to a whole new generation of Batman fans.
In BATMAN: THE JIRO KUWATA BATMANGA VOL. 1, see The Dark Knight and his sidekick Robin fight against some of his strangest villains, including Dr. Faceless and the Human Ball! DC Comics is proud to publish the complete Jiro Kuwata penned Batman Manga adventures in three painstakingly restored and translated volumes. This collection is not to be missed by both Batman and Manga fans alike!
BATMAN: THE JIRO KUWATA BATMANGA VOL. 1 collects the first nineteen chapters.
Jiro Kuwata is a Japanese manga writer and artist who is best know for his science fiction manga and anime series 8 Man.
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At the height of Batmania in 1966, the famous campy TV show was pretty popular in Japan as well. So what do you do with a popular oversea TV series that happens to be based on a whole lot of comic books? You import the comic books as well - Except that, well, with Batman, the Japanese magazine Shonen Gahosha remade it on their own.
Importing or remaking American comics was not an unprecedented challenge at the time in Japan. The Adventures of Superman also proved popular, and therefore there was a Superman run of their own before Batmanga. However, Japanese Superman was a direct copy of the contemporary American Superman/Action Comics run, with a distinctly American style of drawing and cut composition, only with Japanese texts. These days, it is no more than a footnote in manga history.
Not so with Kuwata Jiro. Shonen Gahosha struck a deal with DC Comics to make a Batman manga of their own, and then stockpiled whole bunch of Batman and Detective Comics issues on penciler/inker/writer Kuwata Jiro's desk. His English skill was limited, and imitating American style proved to be too cumbersome for him, so he took the visual cues and synopsis from a few episodes and started remaking them on their own. The end result: Enter Lord Death-Man, a lord of death that dies and resurrects on his own! And don't forget his ominous laugh - "He- hehehehehehe!" The Lord Death-Man arc sets the bar on what to expect from this bizarre book: You are in for a hell of a run that pushes the Dynamic Duo way beyond the modern boundary.
While the villain originates from an obscure villain Death-Man of Batman #180, it is Kuwata Jiro that puts him on a list of memorable Batvillain. It is the same with every other villain in the book: All villains of the first volume of Batmanga - Lord Death-Man, Dr. Faceless, The Human Ball, Professor Gorilla, Go-Go the Magician (actually based on Weather Wizard), and Governor Warner/Mutant-Alien-Something - are based on the Batman and Detective Comics run between 1963 and 1966, but the obscure and forgotten villains of American run are recreated and beautifully reanimated in the hands of a Japanese creator. The signature campiness of both 60s Japanese mangas and 60s American comics are combined into one in here.
Usually it is kind of a silly fun, but the series also captures some of the most brilliant moments of the originals, and even makes a few of its own. This is an era when Batman was primarily a detective, so investigative works are at the heart of each arc. Usually they are customary and formulaic just like the TV show, but sometimes the campy craziness of the series makes the investigation reach a conclusion that you did not see coming. The final arc, The Man Who Quit Being Human, which is the best arc of the first volume, also tries to tackle a serious Sci-Fi topic in depth, showing that the series is awesome not just as a comic relief but as a different but legitimate take on the Dynamic Duo.
If you are intrigued after reading the first volume, make sure you head to ComiXology, Amazon's own digital comics service, and pick up the digital copies that come out every Saturday. The series really picks up after the last issue featured in the book, and starts to mix a sheer fun and low-key seriousness with a masterful touch. If all the strange solution to catch the villain and frequently abrupt finale left you disappointed a little, next story arcs like The Revenge of Clayface and The Hangman of Terror will get what you want.
Whether you are interested in a classic comics or classic manga, or you just want a fresh take on Batman, The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga will offer an experience like no other. You will be grinning and laughing all the time, and at some point, it is hard to resist laughing like the villains in the book - WA HA HA HA HA!!
There are several noticeable differences between our American Batman and this story. For one thing, except for Batman, Robin, and Commissioner Gordon (and even there the rank sometimes changes from issue to issue) none of the Gotham cast appears. The story is much more action adventure than detective story. And of course, without the Gotham that means the Batman is battling an all-new group of villains including Lord Death Man, Doctor Faceless, the Human Ball, Professor Gorilla, and Go-Go the Magician.
While it's a bit jarring for fans of American Batman comics, this book is pretty good in its own right. All of the villains are actually very good, and most are equal to many members of Batman's rogue's gallery, with Professor Gorilla calling to mind Gorilla Grodd and Go-Go the Magician reminds me of Weather Wizards. The art is superb, particularly the action sequences and there are several wordless sections in this book. The stories are a bit more mature when it comes to dealing with death but definitely not too over the line.
The only story I found iffy was the concluding tale, "The Man Who Quit Being Human" which had a plot that was so absurd that it was really hard to get into the story.
Overall, this is a very enjoyable collection and was a great introduction to the world of Batmanga.
The 'Fiend of the Masquerade Festival' is the best. Robin in 'The Monster of Gore Bay' is hilarious. English translation is first rated. The only suggestion I would make is to call 'Dead Lord Man' simply 'Lord of Death' (shinigami in Japanese). All in all, a piece of Batman history every Batman fan should own.
Jiro Kuwata is one of my favorite’s mangaka. Love his 8 man, Yellow Glove, and Ultraseven also. You won't be disappointed by his drawing and storytelling styles.