If you adjust for the fact that I grew up in South Carolina, I wasn't raised in a particularly religious household. I mean, we went to church every now and then, but it wasn't, like, a thing, you know? There was, however, one publication in my household that I read with a faithfulness and devotion that bordered on religious fervor, that I looked to for guidance in times of struggle, and that may have even helped to shape my world view more than any other: Nintendo Power.
This week, the first thirteen years of the magazine were uploaded to the freely accessible Internet Archive, and looking back through them, I'm pretty sure they're why I still, to this very day, have a completely irrational hatred of the Sega Genesis. It wasn't just the secret codes or hyped up previews for Daydreamin' Davey that kept me hooked, though. Those were definitely interesting, but there was something else in each issue that kept me wanting to read every single month: The comics.
You may recall this story from last summer about a guy riding around Japan's Chiba Prefecture on a Batpod while wearing a very accurate movie Batman costume.
Well, step aside, Dark Knight. Japan's got a new motorcycle-riding hero, and this time, he's a Japanese-born character. Someone with a very accurate Kamen Rider costume has been riding around in Fukuoka Prefecture, specifically in the city of Kitakyushu (and at one point, the surrounding farmland). His mission? To put an end to drunk driving.
Like a lot of kids who grew up in the '90s, I loved Nintendo's monthly magazine Nintendo Power with a passion, and one of my favorite things about it was reading the comic version of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. I loved that series largely because it made the weird adventure of the video game even weirder. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized the story was written and drawn by legendary manga creator Shotaro Ishinomori -- you know, the guy who created Kamen Rider and the Super Sentai franchise, among other things -- and realized just why it was so good.
Sadly, the story has been out of print for several years, but now it's coming back: Viz Media announced over Twitter today that they will publish a new collection of Ishinomori's Zelda comic, set for release on May 5.
If you've been reading ComicsAlliance for a while, you may already know that for the past few years, I've been working on filling up a sketchbook themed around Jack Kirby, but after three years and over fifty sketches, I thought it was finally time to retire it and move on to something else. That's why this year, I started up a new sketchbook themed around another influential comics creator: ShotaroIshinomori, the original creator of Kamen Rider and the Super Sentai series that have spun off to 40 years of tokusatsu shows by other creators.
With Emerald City behind us, there are a dozen sketches in the book, which means it's time to start sharing. Check below for Power Rangers and Kamen Riders from artists like Chuck BB, Erica Henderson, Derek Charm and more!
Listen: If it was even remotely socially acceptable, there is a good chance that I would wear a full on Kamen Rider suit, complete with helmet andhenshinbelt, every time I left the house. I mean, the only thing keeping me from accessorizing with one of those sweet scarves is that I have no idea where to find one, or even what to ask for. Can you just roll up into JC Penney and ask for "a Kamen Rider scarf?"
What I'm getting at here is that tokusatsu costumes are not exactly acceptable street clothes, but fortunately, Kekai Kotaki, perhaps best known as the lead concept artist for Guild Wars 2, has found a happy medium. He's drawn up some redesigns for everyone's favorite Kamen Riders and Super Sentai that add a fashionable flair to their uniforms. Check 'em out below!
As you might already know from the constant chatter about the Power Rangers and Kamen Rider, we here at ComicsAlliance are pretty big fans of Japanese tokusatsu. Something about those live-action shows where teenagers with attitude transform to kick monsters and summon giant robots just speak to us on a fundamental level. That said, the actual behind-the-scenes origins of the franchises is even more interesting than the stuff that makes it on the screen.
It's a complicated story, but thankfully, the folks at ToyBountyHunters have decided to break it down for us. In the first two parts of It's Henshin Time, their multi-part examination of the history of Super Sentai and its American counterpart, they get into the origins of the franchise, starting with creator and CA favorite ShotaroIshinomori and a look at Kamen Rider and the first two (and a half) installments of the Sentai franchise. It's interesting stuff, so check out the videos below!
If you've been reading ComicsAlliance for a while, then you probably already know that as soon as the calendar switches over to December, I start obsessively watching as many Christmas specials as I possibly can. Not just the big Rankin-Bass specials, either -- I do my best to watch out for the weird ones, like Christmas Comes to Pac-Land and that He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special where Skeletor learns the true meaning of holiday magic. And every time I think I've exhausted the well of the obscure and bizarre, I end up finding something new.
Today, my (relatively) newfound love of Japanese tokusatsu shows led me to sit down with the Christmas episode of the 1971 Kamen Rider TV series, and I'll tell you right now: It's not like any holiday special I've ever seen. Largely because the title for the episode is "WEREWOLF MONSTER'S HUGE MURDER PARTY."
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great images on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, and some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it’s awesome.
Q: Can you tell us about Kamen Rider Fourze? I understand if it's too painful to discuss. -- @Desgardes
A:Kamen Rider Fourze is the single best piece of superhero mass media in the past ten years. And considering that the past ten years also brought us stuff like The Dark Knight, Batman: The Brave and the Bold and that Avengers movie that everybody likes, that's no small thing for me to say.
As for how I know this -- and why Des here refers to it as a painful subject -- it's because the final episode of Kamen Rider Fourze made me cry harder than anything else I've ever seen. That last episode of Brave and the Bold put tears in my eyes, yes, but Fourze had me sobbing so hard that my neighbors started building an ark and gathering up all the beasts of the land in pairs lest my tears cause a flood that wiped away the sins of man.
Following a run of single issue releases this past spring and summer, Archaia's modern adaptation of Shotaro Ishinomori'sclassic Cyborg 009is set to get collected hardcover style on September 11. Written by F.J. DeSanto (The Spirit, Immortals: Gods and Heroes) and Bradley Cramp (Gattaca, Lord of War) and featuring the artwork of illustrator Marcus To (Batwing,Red Robin) and colorist Ian Herring (Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand), the 120 page hardcover works to retain the spirit and central concepts of Ishinomori's original narrative about a team of humans turned into agents of war against their will, with contemporary touches. The HC itself even comes dressed with an acetate dust jacket and layered cover art to let readers peel their way through its titular hero to (literally) see just what makes the character tick.
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