Chip Kidd's collection of Jiro Kuwata's Japanese Batman stories from the '60s was one of my favorite collections in recent memory, so it goes without saying that I was pretty excited about a Bat-Manga-inspired segment featured on an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold. But one of the things I barely noticed about the episode was a transition that involved pages of Kuwata's comics flipping by before the animation started. Or at least, that's what I thought it was.
As it turns out, that wasn't the case: The Bat-Manga pages that went by so fast on TV were actually recreations drawn by BATB director Ben Jones, and they're pretty fantastic.
By way of example, lets consider a sequence from Bat-Mite Presents: Batman's Strangest Cases! As a transition from Bat-Mite's lair to the manga section of the show, we had to come up with a few fake pages of a Japanese Batman comic, based on the old comics by Jiro Kuwata. Legal wouldn't let us just use scans from the originals, so we had to cobble together some fakes, made to look enough like Jiro Kuwata's art to be recognizable, but not enough to exact duplicates of the original.
To solve his problem, Jones spent the next few weeks penciling and inking a six-page sequence that was then colored by Craig Cuqro, "aged" by Bill Dunn, and wrapped up in a similarly Kuwata-esque "cover" by Lynell Forestall, plus dialogue translated by Toshi Hiruma. Here's the end result:
All told, it represents a month's work by no fewer than five people. Here's how it went by on screen:
So yeah, that whole "a lot of work for very little reward" thing seems to hold up. But fortunately, we live in a crazy future world where we have the Internet to show us things like this, and we can all appreciate the work that went into it. For more, inlcuding the penciled and inked pages as well as larger sizes, check out Ben Jones's original post!
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