A BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE to the late manga artist…

Jiro Kuwata’s Batman — which ran in 1966 in Japan’s Shonen King magazine — is one of my all-time favorite iterations of the Caped Crusader and now is a great time to be a fan.

Out in the coming weeks is McFarlane Toys’ Super Powers action figure, to be followed by an entry in the company’s 7-inch line.

This, after McFarlane gave us two versions of Lord Death Man in the Batman ’66 line last year. (One is glow-in-the dark. Neat!)

We’ve paid tribute to the late artist — who was born 89 years ago, on April 17, 1935 — a number of times in the past but this year is special to me because I’m finally, finally, fulfilling a childhood dream with a trip to Japan in 2024.

I fully intend to pull out the Bat-stops with a trip to Tokyo Toy Cafe and a visit with Yuji Ueda — aka Tokyo Toy Guy — the subject of two documentaries and one of the world’s most famous Batman collectors and Kuwata experts. (Plus, my wife got me the Kuwata Batman: Black and White statue for our anniversary this year.)

Since we’ve done galleries before, not to mention a full-on history of Lord Death Man, this year I simply wanted to present the cover of Shonen King 1966/#23 — the first to feature Kuwata’s Batman series, which adapted a number of American Silver Age comics stories and was influenced by the 1966 Batman TV series. You can find that below. But Yuji also sent over some great pix from the cafe and from Tokyo Toy Guy 2:

Currently on display at Tokyo Toy Cafe. That statue in the middle is the one I mentioned above.

Here are the screen grabs from Tokyo Toy Guy 2. The original Kuwata art belongs to Chip Kidd, who popularized Kuwata’s work in America through his book Bat-Manga and who shows off the work in the documentary:

Now, dig the cover to Shonen King 1966/#23:



— 13 BATMANGA COVERS: A JIRO KUWATA Birthday Tribute. Click here.

— 13 REASONS to Love Cult-Fave BATMAN Villain (LORD) DEATH MAN. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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