In 1966, manga prodigy Jiro Kuwata was commissioned to do a regular Japanese manga version of Bob Kane's Batman comics, to tie in with the Japanese launch of the Batman TV show. Kuwata quickly decided that Kane's scripts wouldn't play to a Japanese audience, so he remade the Dark Knight for the expectations of a mid-sixties, manga-familiarized audience. The result was stunning: a weird blend of genius suspense and gonzo weirdness, as villains turn into dinosaurs, commit strange crimes, rise from the dead, and rampage through a mangified Gotham City that has the streamlined wonderfulness of space-age Japanese pop culture.
These comics were lost for decades, but they have resurfaced now, recovered from private collections and reprinted in Bat-Manga, a new anthology from Pantheon edited by Chip Kidd. Kidd has supplemented the material with fantastic photo spreads (by Geoff Spear) of collectible Japanese Batman toys from the era. The reproductions themselves are only minimally cleaned up, leaving intact the yellowing paper, the wildly variable print-quality, the strange nostalgic quirks of printing from that era.
Kidd's also included a delightful interview with Kuwata, production notes, and plenty of trivia for those who are as besotted with this as I am. I've taken a bunch of photos of the spread and stuck 'em in my Flickr stream -- they don't really do the interiors justice, but I hope you'll be intrigued enough to track down a copy and see it for yourself.
Holding the book is weirdly dissonant. All these imperfections give it the feeling of a vintage piece, something rare, much-loved, and fragile. But the book is also superbly made, on beautiful paper, well-bound, with flourishes from the end-papers to the binding, and so it also feels thoroughly modern and secure.
Rarely have I held a book so fondle-able, a book that delights so much on any random page. This is not like any other Batman book you've seen. If I had to choose between this and the formidable Frank Miller collections, I'd give up the Millers in a heartbeat. And that's saying something.
Bat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan , Bat-Manga in my Flickr stream
Mark Marino writes, “Boingers might be interested in this new free 3-week course I’m co-teaching with UnderAcademy College founder Talan Memmott: How to Write and Read Fake News: Journalism in the Age of Trump. It starts Jan. 20, of course.”
dj BC writes, “My best Christmas mashups from the past decade are collected for this year’s Santastic (previously) holiday music sampler. You can also dig on the site for the full albums from past years, our ‘Menorah Mashups’ Chanukah collection, and my chill instrumental album of holiday classical remixes. It’s all free.”
I first started writing about the remarkable Joi Ito in 2002, and over the decade and a half since, I’ve marvelled at his polymath abilities — running international Creative Commons, starting and investing in remarkable tech businesses, getting Timothy Leary’s ashes shot into space, backing Mondo 2000, using a sprawling Warcraft raiding guild to experiment with leadership and team structures, and now, running MIT’s storied Media Lab — and I’ve watched with excitement as he’s distilled his seemingly impossible-to-characterize approach to life in a set of 9 compact principles, which he and Jeff Howe have turned into Whiplash, a voraciously readable, extremely exciting, and eminently sensible book.
The Boing Boing Store’s Gift Guide is full of ideas for pretty much anyone in your life like hipster ice cub trays, Xbox controllers, Halo Boards, and even diamond necklaces. As always, all products in the Boing Boing Store come at great discounts, too. Shop by price bucket starting at under $20. Under $20:Bloxx Jumbo Ice Trays […]
Unlike traditional lighters, the SaberLight features an electronic plasma beam that’s both rechargeable and butane-free. This sleek lighter is even approved by TSA, so you’ll never be stuck buying lighters you’ll just have to throw away partially used. For some people, like me, this is a pretty big game-changer. The SaberLight’s beam is actually both hotter and cleaner […]
Holiday shopping is in full swing, and the Striiv Touch is one of the best gift ideas I’ve landed on. Its simple design works for females and males, and its wide range of features makes it suitable for even the non-fitness enthusiasts in your life.Unlike traditional fitness trackers, the Striiv Touch also acts as a smartwatch. It […]