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

Bat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan, by Chip Kidd and Jiro Kuwata 6.5

‘Bat-Manga’? What an awesome title! I didn’t even know that this book existed until I found it on the shelf of my local library while browsing for other stuff. Pure chance.

And, to think that book itself came into existence only by pure chance…

The material presented within is a collection of japanese Batman comics. Until Kipp stumbled upon them a few years ago, hardly anyone even knew that they had been made – they had been relegated to the dustbin of history. sad0038 Free Sad Emoticons

Thankfully, they were rediscovered and put together for our reading pleasure. happy0024 Free Emoticons   Happy

Since they were virtually lost, the comics are reprinted from actual comics, not from the original source material – so they look a bit worse-for-wear. But it’s the only way to explore this Japanese re-imagining of the Batman character, which is loosely based on the not-so-Dark Knight that the world knew in the ’60s.

Unfortunately, the comics themselves are a tad simplistic in their art, concepts and storytelling. It seems to me that they were made for young kids, not adults, because a lot of it would hardly survive adult scrutiny of any kind. In the end it’s a mere curiosity; there’s very little chance of being entertained. indifferent0004 Free Emoticons   Indifferent

I haven’t read old school comics in a while, so maybe even the original DC Comics were also like this, but the characters’ powers and designs really made me think of Japanese anime from the era. It truly felt like an adaptation that culture had influenced. Case-in-point, the villain called ‘Lord Death Man’! Not ‘Lord Death’ or ‘Death Man’. Nope. Lord Death Man. tongue0024 Free Emoticons   Sticking Out Tongue

‘Bat-Manga’ may not be a great read, but it’s still a thoroughly satisfying one: the book has a preface that gives context, there is a word from the original author and the book is filled with japanese promotional art as well as pictures of Batman-related japanese merchandise from the era. Bound in a nice hardcover, it makes for a Bat-tastic coffee table book. happy0021 Free Emoticons   Happy

I’d have to say that my enjoyment of the comics is a 4.0, but my appreciation of the package is an 9.0. So let’s round that to a 6.5, shall we? winking0002 Free Emoticons   Winking

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