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

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  247 ratings  ·  36 reviews
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
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 28th 2008 by Pantheon
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I know that these Japanese Bat-Man books are incredibly rare, but I would have liked the publication of this book to have been put off until a few more originals were dug up, mostly so that the included stories could be completed. Many of the stories in this collection have no beginnings (or sometimes middles, other times endings) because the proper installment wasn't located.

I've read an interview with Chip Kidd where he made it sound like the 60's publisher (which is still going strong) would
Marc Weidenbaum
Continuing a bout of re-reading. Jiro Kuwata was already a well-known figure in Japan when he hired on to adapt America's Batman for a manga audience. In an interview in this book, he says he pretty much read and then discarded with much of Bob Kane's stories, trying to craft something with the domestic readership in mind.

Some four decades later, the work would be re-discovered by Chip Kidd (in a circuitous manner that's a good story unto its own).

The book is a lot of fun, especially because i
Bat Manga is an attempt to harness a 60's Japanese pop culture explosion. Apparently, Batman was huge in Japan at the time and had his own on-going serial. The memorabilia that this generated is quite rare and presented in this book. A collaboration of about 5 ongoing comic stories and some bat packaging and toys finds its way into these pages. Sadly the serials are not complete as this book really only reflects the collection of one person, an avid collector from Chicagoland.
The book is rather
This isn't bad. The stories are entertaining, and trot along at a nice clip. I like the villains, whose ranks include a super-intelligent gorilla and manga versions of Clay Face and Two Face. My favorite is 'Lord Death Man,' who uses the power of yoga to cheat death!

The stories are a sci-fi/superhero hybrid, similiar to the campy Batman stories of the 50's and 60's. Not exactly realistic, but who cares?

My only complaint is that some of the stories end in cliffhangers, and are not continued; othe
Nov 30, 2008 Rick rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: comics
Unbeknowst to most fans and historians, an original series of Batman tales appeared in the pages of the popular sixties weekly manga Shohen King. Inspired by the Adam West Batman show and employing a unique blend of Western and Japanese styles, Jiro Kuwata's unique vision of the Caped Crusader (and Robin) debuted in 1966. Kidd reprints a large selection of the strips along with full color covers and images of various 1960s Japanese Batman paraphernalia. Kuwata's tales compare favorably with any ...more
A fresh look at Batman, this book (a western examination of Japanese Batman manga) is perfect for diehard fans of the Gotham hero, lovers of Japanese culture, and casual readers alike.
Tommy Bat-Blog Brookshire
I'm a HUGE Batman Fan so I totally loved this book! The artwork is incredible & the reprinted stories are wonderful to read. Plus, as a major bonus, there are a ton of super-sharp color photos of many Vintage Batman Toys & Collectibles from 1960's Japan. But I gotta say that even if you don't care too much for the character, it's still a very good read because of the "Japanese History" point of view.

You see, the book was designed & edited by Chip Kidd but what he basically did was r
Nov 01, 2008 Tosh rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Comic geeks and Japanolics.
The two things I love in love is Japan and Batman, and finally they come together in an organic meeting of the minds... sort of.

Batman, the TV show was shown on Japanese TV in the mid-60s and to go with the series (with the blessing of the American side) a Japanese publisher had well-know Japanese manga artist/writer Jiro Kuwata make up new Batman stories for the Japanese market.

So what we have here is manga (via the 60's) style imagery of Batman and Robin. The book itself is a magnificent produ
Endlessly fascinating and beautifully packaged collection of authentic Batman comics and collectibles from 1960s Japan. Author Jiro Kuwata doesn't use the typical "Rogue's Gallery"; he claimed he wanted something more "realistic" for Japanese readers, which is presumably why we see Batman and Robin fighting weather-controlling magicians, mutants, and yes, gorillas with genius-level intelligence. But I jest: this collection is less about "ain't Japan weird" orientalism and more about good old-fas ...more
This was a book pre-wrapped in a knowing smirk of condescending kitsch. There are some noticeable differences (Batman occasionally gives up on a hard case and instead just goes on vacation to relax) but that is not what stands out. When all is said and done, it is the banality of petty differences that actually stands out. Taken in the context of the times, very little separates it from the American Batman comics of the early to mid-60’s. The amount of attention given to this book is somewhat un ...more
Apr 14, 2013 B rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: borrowed

Best part of the whole book is a comment by the original author:

"I totally reconstructed [the American Batman stories] so they would appeal to Japanese readers.
One example I remember was when a villain posed to Batman a nonsense word riddle at an extreme life-or-death situation. Batman was seriously trying to answer it when he was about to die! That particular scene lacked so much reality to me and seemed awfully awkward. The stories had to be more mature and real for the Japanese readers."

Bryson Kopf
This is a tricky one to review; I can't really recommend it as a satisfying set of trippy Japanese stories featuring Batman as most of the stories are incomplete. However, the artwork by Jiro Kuwata (8-Man) is so fantastic and streamlined compared to what DC was creating in the 1960s, it serves as pure eye-candy. Paired with Japanese Batman ephemera photographed with near fetishistic zeal by Geoff Spear, this is one handsome overall package. Although the stories are disjointed and incomplete, th ...more
Dawn Rutherford
Cool coffee table book of vintage manga. Perfect gift for Batman freak.
Erik Mallinson
I was disappointed that the stories here were often incomplete –many of the Batman Manga that exists is in poor condition and many stories are missing pages. That, plus the fact that it was originally in a foreign language, makes for some confusing story telling. It’s often funny but ultimately a let–down. I can tell it was a project of love but ultimately it would have been better as a website with scans of the original works, not a big and incomplete book. ...more
This is a great book. I got mine from Chip Kidd and had it signed. The only drawbacks are that some of the quality of the pages isn't great but that is as he explained because they were bound in big books and had to be scanned as such so it's forgivable. The only other thing is some of the stories are incomplete but again it has to do with the scarcity of the material. None of these things stoped me from buying it and I loved it.
Nicole-Anne Keyton
It's really interesting to read a Japanese Batman. I know Japanese manga is a lot different from American comic books. The characters are thinner, everyone's younger, and there's always gotta be a giant lizard roaming around somewhere. Plus, this manga compilation was all vintage manga put together from the late 1930s, so it's interesting to see how little Japanese manga has changed over the years. :)
I'm not a huge Batman or manga fan, but I couldn't resist this book when I saw it come into the library. To see and read the Japanese-take on Batman comics was fascinating. The comics themselves weren't anything special (actually quite funny in their translated form), but ruminating about the cultural implications is worth the time.
Given as possibly the greatest birthday gift ever from the Batgirl to my Robin, my BFF, Liz. There are a ridiculous amount of Robin panty shots in Japanese Batman. Just like I like it. ha ha

But seriously though, any rabid Batman fan/manga fan should own this anthology. Its pretty awesome.
Gregory Gay
This is a neat time capsule, collecting a version of Batman that we know very little about.

The stories aren't overwhelmingly great, but they are pretty fun, and the artwork is great. It's really cool seeing 60's Batman and Robin from a distinctly Japanese perspective.
Erin Tuzuner
It was interesting to see an American icon imagined by the Japanese. However, Manga is not my thing and the backwards paneling was difficult for me to get into. Artwork was amazing, dialogue was interesting, but the Manga gave me a headache.
Mariah Drakoulis
for me the stars all come from the amazing full colour japanese batman illustrations. whew, a mouthful. story lines were predictably terrible but in such a way that they were good - like dad jokes. good coffee table book.
Ming Siu
This book is more of a novelty item than anything, really. The stories (some incomplete) are silly fun, and looking at these artifacts is interesting from a historical/cultural point of view. But that's about it.
Apr 28, 2010 Vogisland added it
Shelves: comics
Neat collection of (mostly incomplete) 60s Batman manga. The stories are pretty basic, but full of strange details and quirky villains. Similar to the charm of old Nikkatsu action films.
Worth it for art alone and for the fact that the longest time, DC wasn't aware that these bootleg materials existed! Worth buying the hardcover for the considerable extra # of pages.
Robert Jaz
My copy has a signed bookplate on the inside back cover as it it the limited edition.
This is in keeping with the Japanese style for reading this book.
Really fun, exciting stories and art. The only downside is that there are aren't many complete, multi-issue stories. But it's a small complaint.
really neat. I liked the cheesy simple batman. really cool becuase it's from Japan and feels different but fimilar at the same time.
Aug 24, 2008 Billy marked it as to-read
I'm probably never going to read this, but I'm very intrigued to find out how 1960's Japan interpreted Batman.
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Chip Kidd is an American author, editor and graphic designer, best known for his innovative book covers.
Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, Kidd grew up in a Philadelphia suburb, strongly influenced by American popular culture. While a design student at Penn State, an art instructor once gave the assignment to design a book cover for Museums and Women by John Updike, who is also a Shillington native. T
More about Chip Kidd...

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