13 COVERS: A JIRO KUWATA BATMANGA Birthday Celebration

The Japanese manga master was born April 17, 1935.


I discovered Jiro Kuwata’s Batmanga like most people — through Chip Kidd’s Bat-Manga!, the coffee-table history of the Caped Crusader’s go-go ’60s Japanese adventures. These comics were inspired equally by the Adam West TV series and the kookier elements of the Silver Age. (The stories are adaptations of stateside comics produced by DC.)

The three translated trade paperbacks published by DC.

The three translated trade paperbacks published by DC.

My other in was through Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the awesome cartoon show that animated a segment of one of these adventures, which itself was an adaptation of Batman #180.

Funky additional backstory and Bat-ephemera: Batman #180 featured the villainous Death Man but the manga re-christened him Lord Death Man, which was then popularized by Brave and the Bold, which led Grant Morrison to bring Lord Death Man into Batman Incorporated, which led to the original Batmanga being republished in Japan, which led to them being released here through DC’s digital platform, which led to them being collected in awesome trade paperbacks, which led to Batman ’66 #21. Or maybe not “led” exactly, but you get the gist. Also Batman #180 was one of the first comics I ever bought at a convention. For more on this spectacular Batmangawesomeness, click here, here and here.

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Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson on the left. Mike and Laura Allred on the right.

So. OK. Back to this being a celebration of Jiro Kuwata. And how do we celebrate here at the 13th Dimension ranch? With 13 COVERS! These are 12 of the covers DC used for their digital translations — plus one special cover — in no particular order.

Happy birthday, Jiro Kuwata!













A Kuwata original from Chip Kidd's Batman: Black and White exhibit!

A Kuwata original from Chip Kidd’s Batman: Black and White exhibit!

Author: Dan Greenfield

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