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Evil Geek Book Report – Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga Volume 1

When I heard about this, I was floored. At the height of the Adam West Batman show Japan was given full license by DC to create a Batman Manga “adaption”. I use the term adaption loosely for reasons you’ll see shortly. Western audiences weren’t privy to much information about this until the 2008 publication of Chip Kidd’s Bat-Manga!: The Secret History Of Batman in Japan book blew the lid off  it. This gave the world some context and background and the first translations of artist Jiro Kuwata’s fabled Batmanga stories albeit incomplete.

DC got the hint though and have started a campaign to release the Batmanga across 3 trade paperbacks in its complete form for the first time. The first two have seen release with the third getting put out near the beginning of 2016. I recently sat down and took Volume 1 head on.

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Free Comic Book Day 2015 Reviews – Part Four (Pokémon Edition)

Hey friends! Undiesofwondy here again with another round of FCBD goodness for you. When I saw a Pokémon comic was up for grabs as part of the FCBD comics, I knew I had to review it. Pokémon was such an instrumental part of my childhood, and yes, still important in my adulthood, because Pokémon Shuffle is literally addicting.

Since I’m such a huge fan of all things Pokémon, I decided to see what the little pocket monsters were up to! The FCBD issue gives us previews of a bunch of different Pokémon titles, including ‘Pokémon XY’ (Volume 1), ‘Pokémon Adventures: Emerald (Volume 26) and ‘Pokémon Adventures: Black &White’. 

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Free Comic Book Day 2015 Reviews – Part Three (Kodansha Comics Edition)

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What’s up Evil Geeks? It’s your friendly neighborhood Undiesofwondy here with some FCBD goodness. I chose to do the Kodansha Comics FCBD Title because I figured none of the other Evil Geeks would willingly review a manga, so without further ado, here are all the samples that existed within the Kodansha Comics FCBD book!

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Yoshikazu Yasuhiko’s Mobile Suit Gundam Art

The Mobile Suit Gundam world is a fascinating one to be a part of, particularly the original iteration (often branded as 079). If you don’t know much about it, yes it does involve giant robots but that’s only half the appeal. It’s a deeply rooted war story carefully showing each side of the conflict with equal distinction. No allegiance is taken, it just presents the facts and goes deep into what it means to start a war, its atrocities and how it affects both sides and civilians as well as its aftermath. It’s a grand scale Space Opera second only to Star Wars. The original cartoon does a decent job showing all this but it’s creator Yoshikazu Yasuhiko’s manga reinterpretation, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin that is the definitive telling.

Origin is being put out quarterly by Vertical Publishing in beautiful hardbounds in 12 volumes ending in December of 2015 (as of the writing of this article volume 8 has just been released). With original art by Yashukio in black and white it also features many painted pages as well as other supplemental paintings like the ones found below. The retelling takes the early 1980’s cartoon and fleshes the world out. Most of the events and high points are the same, but they are laid out in a more coherent and consistent way. The tone is more mature, although the cartoon was pretty uncompressing in its bleak tone and frank portrayal of death. Most interestingly though, it digs deep into the past which really opens the story up. What is treated as about an 8 minute flashback in the cartoon is spread out over 3 volumes of the manga, that’s about 1,300+ pages of backstory. Backstory that is 100% necessary to understanding the political climate prior to the lead up of the war and presenting so much character motivation particularly for one of the main antagonists, Char Aznable. The manga transformers what was a “cool” character from the cartoon into a deeply flawed but driven sympathetic menace.

I’ve often started Gundam articles only to delete them in frustration, finally deciding to let Yoshikazu Yasuhiko’s art work speaks for itself. If this art doesn’t get you interested in Gundam then I have failed and I’m afraid nothing else will.

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Evil Geek Book Report – Vampire Hunter D Manga, Volume 1

Growing up in the 1980’s Anime was ready to explode in America in no small part thanks to imports of Akira and Vampire Hunter D. I had strange recollections of both of these movies from childhood and since I’ve been recently been trying to broaden my horizons with anime and manga I rewatched the 1985 version of the movie as well as the 2000 movie, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust.

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Watching them as adults I thought both movies were ok, but it was the premise and the atmosphere that made it so interesting and dynamic. Basically, the gist is that in the far flung future things get a little crazy and the entire world more or less blows itself up thanks to nuclear war. Humanity has to build itself up from scratch since most of the planet is very poor and destitute but advanced technology does exist. Vampires which once ruled this planet when humanity was its lowest have slowly become extinct and hunted down. This mixes up genres enough to be familiar yet unique. What you have is a very gothic Castlevania type tone that is also mystical but incorporates technology. For example, the people ride on electronic horses and while conventional medieval weapons exist, people also have guns.

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Evil Geek Book Report – The Mighty Atom: Best Selections

In the Tokyo airport on my way home I popped into a bookstore trying to find some English manga to take back home with me. The selection of books was small and being a relative new comer to the genre I grabbed the first volume of the Dragon Ball epic since I was vaguely familiar with it. The other book was The Mighty Atom or as I knew him, Astro Boy. He had looked familiar to me and the blurb on the back reminded enough of Mega Man that I thought I’d give it a try.

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