Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Blogsploitation: Batmanga!!

The illustrious Chip Kidd (www.goodisdead.com) has been working on this beautiful monograph of 1960's vintage issue Batman manga from Japan. It's serialized original art with Japanese takes on style and storyboard (i.e. not a cut-and-paste of Bob Kane's stuff). It's really quite something (little trade blurb with link at the bottom of post).

Anyway...I'm its translator.

I can't tell you how fun this is. Words can't describe how entertaining it is to have translated the following dialogue from Japanese:

Phipps: Wayne! Wh-what are you doing here?
Bruce Wayne: I'm here to see that painting you wanted to show me.
Phipps: Oh...well I uh, have a terrible toothache, you see. Could you come back another night, perhaps?
Wayne: Sure! (Walks away and thinks to himself) Wait a minute....That can't be Phipps. Phipps wears dentures. He has no teeth that could ache! That's an imposter!!

Or what about the time I tried to find a better way to say "alien life fluid"? (I eventually settled on "bioplasm") And what about the "human mutation-ator"? Thanks to all gajillion message boards on the topic of "obscure superhero villains" I discovered this was actually called a "bioniformer."

So you can imagine the big smile on my Howdy Doody face (note: I just realized, I'm actually wearing a plaid shirt with jeans and hunting boots as I type this), as I deftly navigate my way through phrases like

"Slide down the water pipes with me, Robin!" and
"You want a piece of my alien life fluid, Batman?!"

...until...someone brought this to my attention:

The Dark Knight trailer.

Brrrr...I have not been this excited to see two men fight it out since Tony shivved Bernardo under the highway.

[From Publishers Weekly: ...Frank was particularly enthusiastic about Bat-Manga: The Secret History of Batman in Japan, edited by Chip Kidd, the book designer and Pantheon editor, with photos by Geoff Spear. The book documents a short-lived Batman craze in Japan in the late 1960s that led DC Comics to license the iconic character to the Japanese manga magazine Shonen King. Kidd worked with a collector to track down the original manga and compile an archive of vintage Batman manga from Japan. Mangaka Kiro Kuawata wrote and drew the original Batman and Robin manga stories, and he will contribute an essay to the new book. Frank said these Batman mangas have not been seen anywhere in more than 30 years; “even DC did not have copies.”]


Ed Sizemore said...

I will be buying this book the day it comes. It sounds too cool to pass up. Thanks for the advance notice Anne.

Unrelated note, did you see the Takaski Murakami exhibit is going to be at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in April? I'm already planning my trip to NYC.

Vera said...

I bought this book! It's awesome!