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Bat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan (2008) - SC
"Bat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan"
Pantheon Books (Random House)

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Jiro Kuwata - '桑田二郎'

Jiro Kuwata - '桑田二郎'

Chip Kidd

Chip Kidd

Cover Artist(s):
(Unknown Creator)

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Cover Date: November 2008
Cover Price: US $ 29.95

Issue Tagline: None.

Format: Color; Trade Paperback; 352 pages

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This book is largely a collection of Batman manga produced in Japan by Jiro Kuwata in 1966 and 1967. The comics are shot from the published versions, complete with bleed-through and other printing artifacts. Dialog balloons have been translated into english, but sound effects remain in Japanese. Only two storylines, the "Lord Death-Man" saga and "The Man Who Quit Being Human!" are reprinted in their entirety, due to the fact that the source material was bought piecemeal at auction by Chip Kidd and Saul Ferris rather than obtained from the original publisher. Where possible, synopses of the missing material have been included.

Also included in the book are covers, pin-ups, and double page spreads by other manga-ka. Interspersed throughout are photographs of vintage Japanese toys and memorabilia from the collection of Saul Ferris.

Japanese publisher Shonen Gahosha, spurred on by the popularity of the 60's Batman TV show, licensed the rights to create new Batman comics from DC. They contracted Jiro Kuwata to produce the comics. Kuwata read much of the original Bob Kane Batman comics to get a sense of the character, but was not afraid to reinterpret the source material for a Japanese audience. He also created new characters and villains for Batman and Robin to face. The series ran in the manga periodical Shonen King in 1966 and 1967. They have never before been translated into english or reprinted until this book's release in 2008.

Upon the book's release, some fans were upset that Jiro Kuwata did not receive a cover credit despite the fact that the book is primarily made up of his work. Kidd defends this decision by stating that the book is meant to be an overall view of the pop-culture phenomenon of Batman in Japan in the 1960's. Numerous credits for Jiro Kuwata are listed elsewhere in the book, along with an interview that Kidd conducted with Kuwata.

Additional Credits:
Translation: Anne Ishii and Chip Kidd
Photography: Geoff Spear
Saul Ferris receives a cover credit as well, but his role is not clearly defined. He contributed source material, the manga and Batman collectibles which were photographed for the book.

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Batman (DC)(non-continuity)

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