Last Friday would have been the 75th birthday of manga legend Shotaro Ishinomori, a man who was literally the Stan Lee of Japan, having created GoRenger (The precursor to Power Rangers), Kamen Rider, Cyborg 009, and Kikaider. He’s listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as having drawn more pages (at around 170,000) than any other comic book creator. In honor of such an occasion, Archaia and ComiXology debuted last week Cyborg 009: Chapter 000 which features the first 17 pages of the upcoming original graphic novel, and 61pages of the original manga.
Now I wouldn’t be what you call a “manga expert” by any stretch of the imagination, but I have read a handful of the classics (Trigun, Death Note, some Naruto, Priest (technically “manhwa”), anything by Junji Ito) so I get by. That being said, I was completely mesmerized by Marcus To’s fantastic art, as he did a wonderful job adapting the manga art style for western audiences. In an interview with co-writer F.J. DeSanto, it appears he has loved the original series since he was a child, and wanted to make a faithful adaptation from the very beginning. It’s apparent that’s the goal after reading the first 17 pages, for he and Bradley Cramp really seem to get both old and new fans intrigued and wanting more. Sadly we must wait until this summer for the 100 page OGN, but in the meantime the first six volumes of the original Cyborg 009 series are up and available for purchase at ComiXology.
Initially announced a few days before Comic-Con 2012, this original graphic novel is based on Ishinomori’s classic Cold War science-fiction/adventure story about a mismatched band of humans turned into super-powered cyborgs against their will. Originally published in 1964, the original Cyborg 009 manga has sold over 250,000,000 copies worldwide. A new animated movie adaptation produced by Production I.G was released this past October in Japan. Archaia partnered with Ishimori Productions of Japan for this daunting endeavor, and so far the reaction from the hardcorest of fans has been a positive one.
What’s really cool and unique about this Chapter 000 issue is that ComiXology is doing what Chip Moser has lovingly termed the “First Ever Truly Digital Variant Cover” using ComiXology’s guided view technology. It’s basically like what Marvel did for their “infinite comics,” but Archaia is doing it for the cover to the book. The cover was designed and executed by Marcus To, colorist Ian Herring, designer Jon Adams, Editor-in-Chief of Archaia Stephen Christy, and Jonathan Roberts, the co-founder of ComiXology. It’s the first time that a comic company has created a cover exclusively for ComiXology, and a cover that takes advantage of ComiXology’s storytelling tools for creators.
So get swept-up in the celebration and go purchase Cyborg 009: Chapter 000 today! When the original graphic novel drops this summer, you can bet your sweet ass I’ll be reviewing it.