Comics Lowdown: RIP Monkey Punch, Kazuo Koike

Plus: Bill Mantlo in need, halfway through ‘Saga,’ awards and more.

The manga community has lost two legends in April, as both Lupin III creator Monkey Punch and Lone Wolf & Cub co-creator Kazuo Koike have passed away. Both men died from pneumonia six days apart, and were once considered rivals when their respective manga ran in Weekly Manga Action magazine. They also worked together on the Secretary Bird manga mini-series that ran in the magazine in 1970.

Monkey Punch, whose real name was Kazuhito Kato, was 81 when he passed away. His most famous creation, Lupin III, started as a manga and was later adapted into six animated television series, eight animated feature films, two live-action feature films, two musicals and several video games. He passed away April 11.

In addition to Lone Wolf & Cub, Koike is also known for such titles as Lady Snowblood, Crying Freeman, Samurai Executioner and many other popular series. His work influenced many American creators, including Frank Miller, who drew covers for First Comics’ publication of the series. Koike also worked on a few western series, including a Hulk manga and an issue of X-Men Unlimited. He passed away April 17 at the age of 82.

Continue reading “Comics Lowdown: RIP Monkey Punch, Kazuo Koike”

DC to debut new ¡Lucha Explosiva! figures at Toy Fair

Superman, Batman, Deathstroke and more will get a Mexican luchadores-style makeover in a new action figure line from DC Collectibles.

In what I can only describe as the perfect marriage of two things I love, DC Collectibles has revealed a new action figure line that re-imagines their characters as luchadores — mask-wearing wrestlers that hail from Mexico.

DC ¡Lucha Explosiva! is “a thrilling and imaginative new universe that blends the action-packed world of Lucha Libre with iconic DC characters.” The first wave of figures includes Batman, Deathstroke, Superman, Metallo II, Wonder Woman and the Cheetah, and they come out in August.

“DC Collectibles is always striving to bring fans imaginative new ways to extend and celebrate DC’s most iconic characters,” said Jim Fletcher, executive creative director of DC Collectibles, said in a press release. “DC ¡LUCHA EXPLOSIVA! is a passion project for us. We’re all huge fans of Lucha Libre, and merging Mexican Luchadores with superheroes seemed like a perfect fit. Besides obvious similarities like masks, capes and secret identities, we also think there is a huge crossover between fan bases.” Heck yeah there is!

Continue reading “DC to debut new ¡Lucha Explosiva! figures at Toy Fair”