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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)

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  304 Ratings  ·  40 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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Nov 26, 2008 Paul rated it liked it
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
Printable Tire
Jul 31, 2015 Printable Tire rated it it was amazing
Holy Lord Death Man, Batman! This over-sized book is terrific, filled as it is with gorgeous photographs of oddball 60's Japanese Batman toys and ephemera (Bat-watering can?) and manga stories featuring the Caped Crusader and a pretty hip looking Boy Wonder. The villains and stories are pretty creative: besides unique takes on Clayface and the Weather Wizard ("Go-Go the Wizard" here) there's original foes such as Dr. Faceless, the aforementioned Lord Death Man, a super-intelligent Gorilla (Goril ...more
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
Feb 19, 2009 Hotavio rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels
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
Apr 09, 2009 George rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels, 2009, and
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 26, 2008 Rick rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 11, 2011 Tommy Bat-Blog Brookshire rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 29, 2008 Tosh rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 05, 2011 Zach rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, batman
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
Mar 29, 2009 Aaron rated it liked it
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 really liked it
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
Aug 01, 2011 Bryson Kopf rated it liked it
Shelves: art, superhero
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
Apr 09, 2015 Fred rated it it was ok
Clearly this came out before the "Complete Jiro Kurwata Batman Collection V.1", which I read before this, but was expecting more of a history and background of the strip and the artist. Outside of 3 Clayface stories not in the "Complete Collection", the content is the same (and in fact, missing several chapters from the serial adventures) and the print, in an attempt at capturing authenticity, looks hastily-xeroxed with faded artwork and other pages peeking through the borders.
Erik Mallinson
Oct 25, 2009 Erik Mallinson rated it it was ok
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.
Nicole-Anne Keyton
Sep 17, 2012 Nicole-Anne Keyton rated it really liked it
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. :)
Apr 07, 2009 Reg rated it really liked it
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.
ash newton
Apr 14, 2016 ash newton rated it liked it
Shelves: novigraafix
jiro kuwata's irreverent and campy batman strips match the tone of the adam west tv show, but occasionally dip into some even weirder territory. images of various memorabilia and bat-merchandise available in japan at that time are also included. the only downside is that some stories are printed in an incomplete form that leaves off at cliffhangers. still more than a nice piece of curio.
Jan 15, 2009 Bobby rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
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.
Mariah Drakoulis
Mar 06, 2012 Mariah Drakoulis rated it liked it
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.
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.
Ming Siu
Nov 24, 2013 Ming Siu rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Erin Tuzuner
Oct 18, 2011 Erin Tuzuner rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011, graphic-novels
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.
Jul 11, 2012 Brencis rated it it was amazing
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.
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.
May 15, 2009 Josh rated it liked it
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.
Mar 18, 2012 Dave rated it really liked it
Translation of various Batman comics that originally ran in Japan. Lots of fun! Thanks Leon and Kat!
Apr 13, 2009 Aurora rated it liked it
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.
Mar 19, 2016 Erik rated it it was ok
The book itself is well put together, but the stories are even simpler and sillier than the American Batman stories of the time. I don't feel like the art style suits Batman either.
Dec 19, 2008 Caleb rated it did not like it
Shelves: graphic-novels
One-billion word review here:
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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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