The Japanese artist has died at 85…
UPDATED 8/5/20: In case you’ve not heard, the news came this week that the great Jiro Kuwata has died at the age of 85. We ran this tribute on Kuwata’s birthday in April, so it seemed only appropriate to share this again today. Enjoy. — Dan
Since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated by Japanese culture and its often bizarre mix of East and West, so when Chip Kidd put together 2008’s Bat-Manga! The Secret History of Batman in Japan — spotlighting the 1960s Batman manga work of Jiro Kuwata — I was entranced.
Clearly, I’m not the only one.
Grant Morrison brought Kuwata’s Lord Death Man — based on Batman #180’s Death Man — into American canon in 2010 with his Batman Incorporated series.
There was also the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode — Batman’s Strangest Cases! — that featured an anime-styled sequence patterned after Kuwata’s Lord Death Man story. (Essentially an adaptation of an adaptation.)
We’ve also seen the Batman ’66 comic tackle the whole Japan/Lord Death Man connection, as well. (Click here.)
But best of all was when DC several years ago actually republished and translated Kuwata’s original Batman stories — which came about thanks to the 1966 TV craze — both online and in print collections.
Well, Kuwata — who was born April 17, 1935 — is turning 85 and that means it’s time for a 13 COVERS salute.
Now, to get really nutty, we’re going with adaptations of adaptations of adaptations — a selection of DC’s digital “covers” for the Batmanga installments. (I can’t tell you exactly how the images were originally used because I don’t have a collection of Japanese Batman comics. If you know, please say so in the comments.)
In any event, dig these 13 COVERS. (And click here for the EXCLUSIVE reveal of the cover for the Kuwata-influenced Batman ’66 Meets Godzilla #2.)
グルーヴィー. (That’s “groovy” in Japanese.)
— EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK: The Batman ’66 Meets Godzilla #2 Cover. Click here.
— INSIDE LOOK: BATMAN ’66 Meets LORD DEATH MAN. Click here.