RIP Jiro Kuwata
The publisher Akita Shoten released a statement today about the passing of Jiro Kuwata. Kuwata, who started his career at the age of 13, is well known for his work on Maboroshi Tantei, Ultra Seven, 8 Man, and the manga adaptation of Batman in 1966.
Western audiences will mostly be familiar with his Batman work, which was brought back into the spotlight in 2008 in the Chip Kidd designed book Bat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan. Grant Morrison kept the momentum going in 2010 during his run of Batman Incorporated where he brought back the villain Lord Death Man. Death Man had originally been introduced in the US comics by Robert Kanigher, but Kuwata's use as Lord Death Man in the manga seemed to peak Morrison's interests. Morrison's story also introduced a new young hero named Jiro that would assume the mantle of Mr. Unknown, later becoming Tokyo's Batman and a member of Batman Incorporated.
DC Comics finally reprinted the entire Batman manga series in 2014, first as Digital First comics on ComiXology, and then in three print volumes. These are still available and highly recommended if you would like to check out more of Jiro Kuwata's work.
Jiro Kuwata passed away on July 2nd. He was 85 years old.