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Interview: Chip Kidd and Saul Ferris - Page 3

Authors of Bat Manga! The Secret History of Batman in Japan

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Batman art by Jiro Kuwata, from Bat Manga! by Chip Kidd, Geoff Spear, Saul Ferris - Pantheon Books

Batman by Jiro Kuwata, from Bat Manga!

© DC Comics / Chip Kidd / Pantheon Books

Q: How many issues of the Shonen King stories are in the Bat Manga! book? How long did it take to collect all of these issues?

Saul Ferris: 10 years.

Chip Kidd: I should note here that these were serialized, and our book as two complete 4-part stories, and then many individual chapters of other stories, with re-caps of what happened previously.

Q: Does this book include the complete collection of Kuwata-sensei's Batman stories, or are you still hunting for those last elusive issues?

Saul Ferris: I would estimate I have 80% of all the Batman manga stories that were published in 1966-67. Keep in mind that Kuwata-sensei was not the only Japanese Batman manga artist at that time.

I hope I never obtain a complete collection because that would end my hobby of searching.

Chip Kidd: Also, there were several other artists who drew Batman manga stories, but all in our book are by Kuwata-sensei. Our collection in this book is by NO means complete!

Q: Another wonderful postscript to this story is that you got an exclusive interview with Kuwata-sensei for this book! What was Kuwata-sensei's reaction to the rediscovery of these long-lost stories and the publication of this book?

Chip Kidd: That's where I got really lucky! My editor at Rizzoli, Ian Luna, put me in touch with his company's Japanese representative, Kana Kawanishi, who graciously volunteered to contact Kuwata-sensei on my behalf, travel to his home north of Tokyo, and ask him my interview questions, which he very kindly answered.

He has said that he is extremely pleased that this book is being published and that his Batman work is being recognized. I hope to one day meet him.

Q: Geoff Spear is also noted as photographer and co-author of this book. What was his contribution to the creation of the Bat Manga! book?

Chip Kidd: As ever, he photographed everything -- every page of every comic, and every toy. This is key, as you'll see, because just scanning the original pages wouldn't give you the same effect. In that sense, this is like our previous book, Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz.

Q: Are there plans to publish a Japanese edition of this book?

Chip Kidd: I have not heard of any yet, but I have the whole thing laid-out in Japanese, just in case. It would be a true shame if it doesn't get picked up in its native country.

Q: I'm really looking forward to seeing this book, and I know a lot of other people are too! When will it be available in stores, and will it be a hardcover edition, a softcover book or both?

Chip Kidd: The official publication date is October 28, 2008 just in time for Halloween. It is being released simultaneously in soft- and hardcover. The hardcover is a limited edition and contains an extra 32-page story and a different cover design. Both editions are full-color throughout and 352 pages and 384 pages, respectively. Huge!

Q: Very cool! Thank you for sharing the story behind Bat Manga! Any last words, or anything you'd like to add?

Saul Ferris: Thanks again and enjoy the book!

Chip Kidd: Yes, VERY important -- we have enough material collected for another nearly 400-page book! So let fans know that if they make Bat-Manga a hit, we can reward them with Bat-Manga Two!!

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