DC takes a page from Marvel’s playbook by teaming up with local artist to promote its franchises in Japan.
In Japanese, the word manga can technically be used to refer to all comic books. In practice, though, “manga” is generally reserved for Japanese-produced books, with fans and professionals often using amekomi, a shortened form of “American comics,” for content originating in the U.S.
But this month, the line between manga and amekomi is getting blurred with the beginning of a new series titled Batman and the Justice League, drawn by female manga artist Shiori Teshirogi and serialized in publisher Akita Shoten’s monthly Champion Red manga anthology as of its latest issue, which went on sale June 19.
▼ The manga even gets the issue’s whole cover to itself.
While rival Marvel has made a number of forays into the anime industry with Japanese-animated series starring its X-Men and Avengers characters, DC has had fewer collaborations with Japanese creators, barring some notable manga Batman chapters from artists Katsuhiro Otomo and Kia Asamiya (of Akira and Silent Mobious fame, respectively) and an anime anthology of Batman tales titled Batman: Gotham Knight in 2008. The story for the Justice League manga seems to be sticking to the standard formula for the franchise, as promotional materials describe the story as “The Justice League is formed in Hotham City to protect the world from a union of villains led by the Joker. Will batman resist or accept his destiny?”
Joining Batman are the traditional Justice League regulars: Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash,Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Cyborg, many of whom are sporting the vibrantly colored hair and flowing or spiky locks characteristic of anime heroes.
▼ Instead of a mullet, Supes has the stylishly messy hairdo of a shojo manga love interest, and Aquaman gets a non-connected goatee and mustache combo that wouldn’t look out of place in pirate saga One Piece.
While Superman is already instantly recognizable around the world, and Wonder Woman is getting a lot of extra attention in Japan thanks to her solo movie (even if it hasn’t started playing in Japanese theaters and has some questionable local marketing), many of the other Justice League members are largely unknown in Japan. With the live-action Justice League movie coming later this year, the manga was likely greenlit to bring potential viewers up to speed about who these characters are, and probably isn’t going to have a particularly long run in Champion Red. Nevertheless, Teshirogi’s art is a cool new take on these amekomi icons, even if the manga Justice League is missing Wonder Hello Kitty.
Source, images: @Press
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he fondly remembers Silent Mobious as the first manga he ever read.