Thursday, May 24, 2012

MISC. MANGA, *Spider-Man: The Manga

Way back at the beginning of the 70s, years before it even became a Japanese tokusatsu live-action TV show, Spider-Man managed to be the second American superhero to get his own manga series. Batman beat him out by a few years out east, but Spidey was Marvel’s first hero to pull some numbers with the Japanese. Probably based on the fact that his outfit is quite literally “big eyes & speed lines”. It was written and drawn by Ryoichi Ikegami, who later gained fame in the States with one of the first English translated manga, Mai The Psychic Girl, as well as Crying Freeman, Samurai Crusader, and Sanctuary. It was also co-written by 8-Man creator, Kazumasa Hirai. Despite the retitling that was given to the America reprinting of it, the Japanese title was just Spider-Man

The story is largely based on the original comic book, although its relocated to Japan. Yu Komori is working on an experiment in his school’s lab, and accidently infects a random spider with radiation, which bites him. Yu soon realizes he now has spider-like powers, and within the span of just three pages manages to come up with web fluid and working shooters for them. After dawning a costume he sews together on his own, he decides to fight crime as Spider-Man! He then starts tangling with Japanese versions of Lizard and Electro, as well as some original ones.

The thing that works for this is Ikegami’s gritty art style that works for him better later on in some of his own titles. Marvel Comics released this in scattered comic book issues in the 90s, never completing the original print run though. There was an official manga done of The Hulk done around the same time as the Spider-Man one, but it had an even shorter run, and hasn’t been reprinted in English. There was also an X-Men manga which was an adaptation of the 90s TV series that was published in America by Marvel along with the Spider-Man one. A more kid-friendly manga called Spider-Man J came out a few years ago, which Marvel first reprinted in Spider-Man Family, and then in two Spider-Man J graphic novels. Although there’s so far been no English collected edition of the original 70s

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