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That sign actually says, “Hey Japan! Now THIS is a movie.” You tell ’em, Thor…

As this Avengers-with-unidentified-smiley guy pic shows, superhero films aren’t just popular in the West…people in Japan get pretty revved about them, too. Sure, our paragons of derring-do aren’t as popular as the local brands, but some interesting (and, er, strange) collaborations prove that our guys may have some staying power overseas.

These mutants are much cuter on the inside of the comic…trust me

As an X-Men fan since childhood, I actually have about 5 comics from this particular collection…I thought they would help me practice Japanese. Boy, was I wrong! The drawings are cute “manga style” versions of our characters, but the story (seems like it) was directly translated rather than adapted. Also, this was an adaptation of an animated X-Men that ran in Japan, which is like saying it’s a copy of a copy, right?

I’m too sexy for these tights

Now this “Spiderman” manga, which I also have, is an adaptation in the true sense of the word. I won’t spoil it too much, other than to say that it is Spidey, only moved from NY to Tokyo with all of the characters (except, amusingly, some of the villians) recast as Japanese. Two things about this: First, despite what the dewey-eyed cover-boy would have you believe, the inside art is nothing like this! Second, the execution of the story is surprisingly good, but it’s a bit light for my taste.

Super-villian dudes, don’t hurt me! I’m too young to die!

This is the US version of the manga (issue #11, I believe), translated from the original. The cover art here is more honest! This was done in a sort of “shonen manga” (young boys’ comic) style, which is what may have hurt the story for me in the first place. That, or I’ve just seen too many versions of Spidey already! Either way, totally Japanizing Spiderman was an interesting choice.

Get me a ticket to Japan, Alfred…no one will notice me there (?!)

I’m pretty sure that Kia Asamiya both wrote and drew this thing, which is quite a feat! I picked it up at a discount store on my way to work in Yokohama, not knowing what to expect–I was not disappointed. The story doesn’t Japanize Batman so much as mak his world all the more batty by adding some Eastern touches. He also actually goes to Japan about halfway through the story, which does bridge things nicely. Because this comic is neither straight adaptation nor complete interpretation, it wins the day for me.

Batsy looks a bit sad, here…perhaps some sake would help?

Here’s the US cover…I found it on Amazon, so I’m sure you can pick it up if you’re interested! I’ve not read the English translation, but for me the slog was well worth it.

I have nothing pithy…this cover is just awesome!

Now, I had some trouble confirming whether this is part of the same comic series as below…but the cover is hella-cool, so deal with it. There’s plenty of Star Wars freaks in Japan, too, so I’m not surprised that a comic was published here. But I would be shocked if the art were anything like the cover; I picture it being more…mangalike, y’know, with big eyes and stuff.

Vadar refuses to be laughed at or made into manga

Ah, now THERE the big eyes are! On the US cover, of course. “Star Wars” is the one series in this collection that I don’t personally own, but from all reports the art is fantastic and fits the story very well. Star Wars characters are weird anyway, so I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch. Hope this all goes to show how, whether near or far, we are all united in our urge to see our childhood memories turned into manga.

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