Batmen of all nations mourn the passing today of Jiro Kuwata, celebrated writer and artist of Japanese comics, with a career spanning six decades. Renowned for his co-creation of 8 Man, the first cyborg superhero in Japanese comics, Kuwata was known for years as the manga illustrator to see when adapting a television series into the comic book market. But among the denizens of the DC Universe, Kuwata’s lasting legacy will always be his role in the strange but still alluring experiment to internationalize the ‘60s Batman craze: a two-year collection of thrilling comics once exclusive to Japanese readers, and today known affectionately as “Batmanga.”
The Batmanga is severely underrated. It gave us Lord Death Man, who is now a canon character. I think it’s incredibly understated how bizarre some of those villains are, and they deserve a chance to shine just as much as the Joker.
RIP Mr. Kuwata. Thanks for everything you’ve given us.