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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Japanese Batman Art

Japan's Sengoku jidai (Sendoku period) is known as the 'Warring States Period" that extends from the mid-15th century to the early 17th century.

It was a time in Japan's long history when there was constant military conflict and plenty of social upheaval… but the only good that came out of this 150-year-plus civil war was that it eventually lead to the country's unification under one ruler—the Shogun Tokugawa.

It was during the Edo Jidai (Edo Period) (~1600 - 1868) when the Shogun ruled, that Japan closed her borders to the rest of the world, except for some very minor trading with the Dutch and I believe the Koreans.

This closed door rule essentially lasted until just after Japan was forced/coerced to open its borders after the United States and Commodore Perry came a-visiting with their so-called black ships.

But… the Senjoku Jidai… if you were a warrior… this was a time for action.

And that, is what noted comic book artist Scott Wade has imagined—a Japanese warring state populated with characters taken from the Batman comic book mythos.

Now… not only has he infused Batman, Commissioner Gordon and Mister Freeze into typical era Japanese settings, but he has placed them in classic Japanese ukiyo-e (woodblock print) style poses.

Check it out:

Batman as a ninja flying through the night sky! He refuses to use katana swords in his battle against corruption and evil, to honor his parents who were tragically killed by ronin (masterless samurai). While I prefer the extra long bat ears ( a la Kelley Jones), I do like the short blue ones Scott has used here.

Commission Gordon as a Shinsengumi (special police force) official banging a taiko drum calling his secret weapon to a rooftop/tower meeting! I am pretty sure, however, that eyeglasses would not really have been part of the scene back then. What is brilliant, however, is the taiko drum pattern. All I saw was the white fluffy stuff in the middle and only - after 20 views - noticed that the black was made up of the 'bat' insignia. Even now, my brain prefers NOT to see the bat symbols for some reason.

Walking through the snowy mountains, Mister Freeze is a traveling medicine man haunted by the ghost of his dead wife.Same with these glasses, by the way.

I have no idea why Scott hasn't hooked up with a good writer (me) who knows a bit about Japan, Batman and comic books and gone to DC comics with this concept.

Batman is already a freaking ninja working in the darkness of shadow and night. He already is a scourge on the underworld of sick twisted scum. Why not place him—at least for a non-linear mini-series—in Japan's dark ages?

Dark Ages for the Dark Knight detective.

Oh well... until someone comes to their senses and creates a comic book for this concept, Scott Wade is selling copies of his creations.

Presented on gallery quality GiclĂ©e print on natural white, matte, ultra smooth, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper, it also uses Epson K3 archival inks. Each image is custom-trimmed with 1-inch (25mm) border for framing… each individual art scene is 7" wide x 10" high (177 mm x 254 mm) and goes for US $18.

The triptych (at the very top of this article) featuring all three prints, is made of the same quality paper, but is smaller at 10" wide x 6" high (254 mm x 152.4mm) and can be purchased for US$30.

Here's what Scott had to say about his own Japanabat creations: "I made these back before I knew how tumblr worked and I had yet to post them as a set. So I kept finding people sharing them (which is great) but they always point back to my cghub page and they also don’t have the Mr. Freeze image with them."

Scott's rambling aside, he is one hell of an artist.

If anyone out there would like to purchase a set of these wonderful images, click HERE.

Andrew Joseph
PS - This blog officially marks MY 2,000 written entry on Japan-It's a Wonderful Rife. There were a few guest articles. Who knew I had that much to say? How bizarre to have it be about comic books and Japan? If I could have squeezed in something about a woman, it would have been about my three favorite things. 


  1. It was a very cool art! I appreciate the new look. Cool!

    1. And I appreciate you writing in. Alaska is on my bucket list.

  2. I imagine if the ninja look of batman will be a hit??? I think it's cool too.

  3. The batman in ninja style is a very great art.