Memories of Supaidāman

Vol. 1 cover art for the 2002 reprint edition.

Translators’ Introduction

The excellent 2020 Disney+ documentary series Marvel's 616 dedicated its debut episode to the “Japanese Spider-Man”. In it, director David Gelb (of Jiro Dreams of Sushi) reveals that there once existed, in another world, in the far-away country of Japan, a totally different Spider-Man from the one with which we in the States are familiar. Unhitched from the Stan Lee/Steve Ditko origin, this Japanese television version of the character, "Yamashiro Takuya" (acted by Tōdō Shinji, who steals the show in the documentary), fought the likes of Professor Monster, Amazoness, and the Iron Cross Army. He drove a Spider-car (okay, like Gerry Conway’s Spidey in the 1970s), but more importantly, he also piloted a giant robot called Leopardon (not Spideron). The documentary’s end credits feature a scene of Stan Lee in 2009 relaying his feelings about seeing the 1978-79 Tōei-produced show. “It was so different from the way we do it in the United States,” he pointed out, nonetheless praising the show’s team, saying they had “a totally different style, a good style.” Gene Pelc, who made all the entrepreneurial moves in Japan for Marvel and helped produce the show, beams with pride about helping to originate the Japanese Spider-Man.

However, nearly a decade before Pelc’s and Tōdō’s Spider-Man, there existed the truly first Japanese Spider-Man.

Before Yamashiro Takuya, there was Komori Yū, a high school student (not an adult stunt-bike rider) who, much more like his American parallel, was bitten by a radioactive spider and thus gained spider-powers. Like Peter Parker, Komori donned the red and blue Spider-Man suit and initially fought villains like Electro and the Lizard... until things got dark. This was 1970. This was manga. More precisely, it was gekiga (mature pictures, or “dramatic” pictures), a form of manga grown up and aimed at grown-ups (i.e. young men) rather than kids. The artist was Ikegami Ryōichi, an important young talent in Japanese comics who debuted as a teenager in the rental manga (kashihon) scene of the early '60s, soon becoming a notable contributor to the first years of the avant-garde magazine Garo. Ikegami would go on to produce groundbreaking and well-loved works like Crying Freeman and Sanctuary, which even became hits in North America as the first big wave of manga rolled in from Japan. But before those manga, there was Supaidāman.

Who was the first, true Japanese Spider-Man? How did he come about? How did Ikegami prove his chops with this assignment? And what made Supaidāman interesting for Japanese readers? Here, for the first time in English, Ono Kōsei (b. 1939) tells the story. We thank Ono-sensei for letting us translate his essay from the original Japanese.

Ono’s own story is the stuff of legend. He was one of the first fans of American superhero comics in Japan, and early on traded Japanese manga with American fans for their Marvels and DCs, effectively becoming a bridge to help promote manga abroad. This was before Scott McCloud, Frank Miller and others discovered manga in the 1980s, and passed the influence on to the American comics industry. In the late 1960s, Ono was an important contributor to COM (Tezuka Osamu’s rival magazine to Garo), where he wrote columns about American film and comics.1 Although his role in Ikegami’s Supaidāman was limited, he would later go on to translate and publish scores of American superhero comics for Japanese audiences. His 24-volume Kōbunsha paperback set of Marvel comics is a milestone in comics translation (including eight volumes of the early issues of Amazing Spider-Man). Ono regularly writes important English-language essays about Japanese comics for John Lent’s International Journal of Comic Art as an overseas comics researcher.

In this two-part essay,2 which appears in most paperback reprints of Ikegami’s Supaidāman, Ono describes how Komori Yū and the gekiga Spider-Man came to be; his role in making it happen; and his later discussions with Stan Lee about the American editor's disappointment with this Japanese version of the wall-crawler. Marvel later reprinted about two-thirds of these Ikegami stories (later written by 8 Man co-creator Hirai Kazumasa, who goes uncredited) in stapled comic book form as Spider-Man: The Manga from 1997 to 1999 for a total of 31 issues. Although these comic books were edited to remove explicit content (and are now incredibly hard to find), they are worth it.

Incidentally, Ono makes a few (all-too-short) appearances in the Disney+ documentary, helping give context to the 1978-1979 tv production. There, he too affirms that the Tōei live-action show featured a Spider-Man that is “completely different from the American version.” One wonders if Disney’s documentary team perhaps cut Ono off from pointing out that there was another, earlier Japanese Spider-Man, completely different from the Tōei version. Now, let Ono Kōsei tell you how the first Japanese Spider-Man came to be, and why he had to be so dark and gloomy.

-Jon Holt & Saki Hirozane, translators

* * *

Part 1

The Start of the Spider-Man Gambit

“Lately, that Ikegami Ryōichi has really gotten better at drawing, hasn’t he?”

Ikegami had been a topic of discussion for the gekiga artist Kamimura Kazuo and myself for a while.

“You know,” Kamimura replied, “with his Aiueo Boy (Aiueo bōi), he made the setting in America, right? He really pulled it off drawing all those New York skyscrapers. Where you do think he got the skills to do it?”

“It’s because of Supaidāman,” he then said. “Since he has been drawing the Japanese version of [The Amazing] Spider-Man, he must have been studying how they do comics over there. That probably explains how he could draw ‘America’ as well as he does now.”

Come to think of it, Kamimura was right. I hadn’t noticed the change in Ikegami until then, so upon hearing Kamimura’s appraisal, I was really impressed by what he said. Coincidently, I was also present at the origin of Japanese Spider-Man…

In 1969, I was paid a visit by the editor of Weekly Shōnen Magazine (Shūkan shōnen magajin), Mr. Uchida Masaru. In those days, Shōnen Magazine was riding a huge wave of popularity because of two of its manga: Tomorrow’s Joe (Ashita no Jō) and Star of the Giants (Kyojin no hoshi). They were leading the pack in the world of boys’ manga magazines. Mr. Uchida also ended up taking over editorial duties for the supplemental monthly version of the magazine, Monthly Shōnen Magazine.3 He told me that they wanted to try to sell more copies so they were going to increase the amount of color pages, which was something only possible as it would be a monthly magazine.

It was then that he told me he had had his eye on American superhero comics. Since at that time I had been in charge of the tiny “Introduction to Overseas Manga” column for the monthly manga magazine COM, I had a feeling that we were well past the era of Superman. Going into the 1960s, all sorts of new superheroes were bursting onto the scene, and [American] students were really caught up reading these new comics. Well, this the kind of thing had gotten me really worked up, so I had been writing about that in COM. However, Mr. Uchida had been reading my column and it seems that what I said resonated with his own instincts as an editor.

Among all the new hero comics [hīrō gekiga], there had been a wave of characters born out of Marvel Comics: Fantastic Four, Captain America, [The Incredible] Hulk, and Spider-Man. I knew that Mr. Uchida was amazed at the huge pile of American comic books I had piled up in front of me, but I think what he had always really wanted deep down was Spider-Man.

If you ask why, it is because Spider-Man (real name: Peter Parker) was at that time Marvel’s youngest male character, a high school student. Among all of Marvel’s characters who were a part of their new style of comics, Peter was a young man with issues and I think that is what made Mr. Uchida think he would have something in common with the boys in Japan reading the magazine. And yet, he felt that they could not simply take this foreigner comics character and put him out there just like that for the Japanese version. Mr. Uchida had made up his mind and was thinking that he wanted to totally make the setting in Japan and even take its protagonist and make him into a Japanese person.

And so, thus marked the beginning of (what I call) the “Spider-Man Gambit”, which would add a new page to the history of the connections between Japanese and American comics. For the artist, Mr. Uchida had already decided on Mr. Ikegami Ryōichi, who had published a number of manga in Garo that realistically depicted the mindsets of young men. And when I got to meet Mr. Ikegami, who showed up dressed in a super-casual way and talked in a deep voice, I suddenly felt curious how such a sensitive and kind young man would treat such an action-packed “gekiga” for his Spider-Man. I then became busy working on a number of translations of the originals for Mr. Ikegami, handing over to him my notes about the character (written in my usual way); I also began writing a letter to the American publisher, Marvel’s Stan Lee, asking him to please send us some materials that we could use here in Japan.

Japanese Spider-Man (Supaidāman) would have his origin story appear in the January 1970 issue of Monthly Shōnen Magazine, running at 13 pages. In the next monthly issue [February 1970], he would have a whopping 100-page story.


Japanese Spider-Man (Main Family) Is Thus Born

Marvel Comics’ editor, Stan Lee, born in 1922, had been an ongoing hero himself.

That was because he had been so successful with his version of superhero characters: he started by making his protagonists out of a four-person group, out of a bunch of characters that always were bickering, and thus made the Fantastic Four; he then published the Hulk, a hero modeled on Jekyll and Hyde.

However, at Marvel, they published not just superhero action comics, but in those early days they also put out a number of monster and adventure titles. One of those was a comic entitled Amazing Fantasy. Usually, in Amazing Fantasy, there were three mini-stories, often featuring the conventional alien visitor or monster, but the magazine’s sales were rather poor. They had decided to cancel the magazine after its 15th issue.

For that issue, since it was going to end anyway, no matter what story they ran, it would not matter anyway. It was for that reason that writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko teamed up and brought out the third in the company’s new kind of superhero—their Spider-Man. The protagonist was an unpopular high school student who ends up gaining superpowers after being bitten by a radioactive spider. Even so, the boy’s anxieties just keep piling up. This was the 11-page story they ran in Amazing Fantasy, but just as they were about to abandon the character to the wind, reports from the company’s sales division came in and as they saw the numbers, they were shocked. Somehow, Amazing Fantasy’s final issue was at the top of the company’s bestsellers. On top of that, they started getting inundated by fan letters demanding that they publish more Spider-Man stories.

Of course, Spider-Man got his own title. In that short time, he came to exist as a superhero who could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Superman, the genre’s forefather.

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GALLERY: Images from the January 1970 debut of Supaidāman, courtesy of Jon Holt
(click and drag to see the images)

The 13th and final page of the preview Supaidāman story, serving as an advertisement for the next month’s issue. (Right side banner: “Starting next month: the first of our 100-page Spider-Man stories!”) In the blue box is Ono Kōsei’s short gloss of the Spider-Man character, “a hero for a new age.” January 1970 issue of Monthly Shōnen Magazine.


Part 2

The Spider-Man Gambit Continues

Now it suddenly strikes me that our gambit to bring the Japanese Spider-Man to life was an epoch-making effort in the history of the international comics exchange between East and West.

Generally speaking, up until that point in time, in the case of foreign comics being introduced to Japan, many times publishers simply translated the words into Japanese and reprinted them. On one hand, if one was trying to keep the original sense of Spider-Man, well, some might think that would have been the best way to do it. But in this case as he was to be published in Japan, if we took those stories, which were in four colors, and then left them out because of the magazine’s limitation of only being able to do monochrome, the impression one would get immediately upon seeing our Spider-Man would be totally different from the original color version.

Plus, what made things even more problematic was that for comics from other countries—and this might be a no-brainer—since the reader [over there] will read from left to right, things never matched up correctly in the Japanese magazine version. Another thing is that, after the comic Batman became a big hit on television, the Shōnen Illustrated Company (Shōnen Gahō Sha) went through a period where they put out their faithful magazine version of Batman that read from right to left, and even though they did try to print it in four-color, it did not sell well. Actually, I think the problem was that the story content was not really that interesting.

It really seemed that no matter hard we in Japan tried to create a place for international comics in a Japanese magazine, whatever we did just felt out of place. That is why Japanese manga artists even attempted to simply redraw the original comics.

Shōnen Illustrated Company did put out a trade paperback edition of their Superman like that. It was entirely redrawn here in Japan by a Japanese artist. If I remember correctly, they continued the series for up to about 15 volumes. Even so, no one made any effort to adjust the content. Those stories and the characters were just like what you saw in the American originals.

However, when we come to this point in time where we ran our “Spider-Man Gambit”, we totally shifted the setting to Tokyo and made our Spider-Man into a Japanese person. We did not do this just because it would be easier than redrawing the originals. We were making a totally new thing so we had to shift the basic premise and setting away from its American roots. What an adventure, I thought at the time. Of course, I had long read Japanese manga, but since I also had deep familiarity with American comics, thinking that ours were not inferior to theirs, it really hit home to me how difficult it would be for us to pull this off.

For a while, I talked with Mr. Ikegami Ryōichi and the editors at Monthly Shōnen Magazine while translating a stack of Spider-Man comic books for them. The stories of America that came out in my translations, the circulating cast of characters, and the kind of conversations
that had such freedom would not fully come off in the Japanese version, we thought, so in the end, how Mr. Ikegami would deal with them all then would depend entirely on his sense of things. On top of that, if all of those supervillains that first appeared in the American stories—like the Lizard or Electro the Electrical Man—were situated in Japan, it is only natural that they would appear out of place, so I had been wondering how would Ikegami respond to that point in particular, thinking the job would be quite tough.

I had also been a long-time reader of Mr. Ikegami’s works. In the magazine Garo, when they published their special issue on Mr. Ikegami’s works [December 1970], I had a favorite story of his, where a boy, who is confined to a hospital bed, daydreams about life while staring at a globe. I had also been corresponding with a number of American comic book researchers then. I had been able to translate into English one of stories from the manga series There Goes Jiro (Jiro ga yuku, 1969-1971), which was written and drawn by Mr. Masaki Mori, so I ended up buying up five copies of the Garo supplement issue and sending them to fans in America.

What Ikegami did in his works was draw everything with a fresh sensibility, and although they were finely produced, instead of having you feel like he was shutting you inside this almost autistic world, on the contrary, he made you feel like a force was ready to spring forth at any minute. In his works, people had this kind side, but I also felt a glimmer like what comes from the edge of a sharp knife there, too. I’m guessing that Mr. Uchida Masaru, the editor of Monthly Shōnen Magazine, saw the same things, too. What I mean is that Ikegami was entirely the right choice to draw Spider-Man because he could have a high school boy who was easily heartbroken but also could be that person who would turn around and force himself to put himself in harm’s way to protect the world. After all, Spider-Man took the form of an action comic book, but it also was a story about a young man growing up…

At one point, Mr. Ikegami fully expressed his admiration for the visuals in the American comic, saying, “Spider-Man’s face is completely covered by a mask, right? But still, despite the fact that he should not be able to express his emotions, somehow the artist can bring out those reactions. Like when he’s mad. Or like when he’s sad. It’s such a simple mask he wears, but you see exactly what’s feeling in it…” I remember Mr. Ikegami saying that to me. He also told me, “Gosh, look at all the lines of the spider web that are drawn into his costume. It’s like each one’s place is perfectly set right.”

In manga, because artists ended up generally following the cinema-like style set by Tezuka Osamu, even in action scenes, you would never see all of the movements of a character depicted by the artist. (On top of that, the artist would have to perfectly draw the person’s anatomy to match the movement.) So, in manga, you might only see the close-up of a fist punching a person; you might see only the face of the person being punched; anyway, it was usually a series of depictions of only the parts of the action. (I think the artists could distract the reader and get away without drawing everything.) We readers were completely trained to accept this way of drawing action.

That’s why Japanese manga action sequences, while at a glance they might seem really flashy, but in reality, compared to what the Americans do in their superhero comic books, in terms of sheer power, our manga come off looking quite inferior. And yet, while Mr. Ikegami was reading in and learning from the American Spider-Man, he ended up making a style of action sequences that were entirely his own.

Soon enough, I collected together the Japanese Supaidāman stories that began to appear in Monthly Shōnen Magazine and I sent them off to America.


The American-Japanese Spider-Man War

And yet, one wonders, just what kind of impression did Japanese Spider-Man have in his country of origin?

Once the regular 100-page installments started to run in Monthly Shōnen Magazine, I would receive from the editorial office quite a number of the magazines with Spider-Man in them, and I quite took it upon myself to keep up letter correspondences with and doing comics exchanges with the comics maniacs [read: freaks] overseas in America. (During that time in 1970, by doing so I was so happy because I ended up increasing my supplies of international comics. Now of course, I simply don’t have that kind of time to enjoying writing to others, but it was good that I did it then.)

At any rate, since those manga magazines were quite thick with over 400 pages each issue, to try to send even one of them by sea mail was not so easy on my pocketbook, but I did it all—far from being an act of greed, I only could have done as much as I did because we all felt a kind of shared mania for comics.

Among those I corresponded with, there was one man whom I definitely wanted to show the Japanese version of the character. His name was Jim Steranko. At that time, he was about 25 years old, and in the world of comic books, he was one of the most progressive artists working then. His Captain America and the other Marvel work he did had the most amazing and gorgeous layouts and constructions; there was even something sensual about his work. What he did was not fundamentally all that skillful, I think, but the boldness of his layouts [in Japanese: gamen tenkai, or the development of panels on the page] showed that he was even a step ahead of Japanese manga artists who could brag about their applications of cinema-like techniques in their panel breakdowns.

Steranko was called the comic book world’s modernist. He was such the artist that he sought out friendships like with French filmmaker Alain Resnais, who even went to America to meet with him. Even the Italian director Federico Fellini had written the introduction to Steranko’s (then just-published) History of Comics — Volume One (Fellini’s introduction seemed more like a note from a friend; it is a rather short text.)

When I got Steranko’s signed copy of History, on the back cover of that big book he wrote: “The Japanese Spider-Man had greater artistic layouts than those of the American version. I am so jealous at how [Ikegami] could do those risky expressions. Personally, seeing the art of Yokoo Tadanori became a catalyst for me and I’ve long been curious about Japanese comics.”

Well, what then of the house that originated him, those at Marvel Comics who published Spider-Man? What was their reaction?

According to the letter I received from Marvel’s editor, Stan Lee, somehow no Japanese Spider-Man ever reached him, he explained. I was under the impression that the licensing agent at Kōdansha, who had been involved the whole time with us getting the rights to publish the character in Japan, had sent the issues that carried the manga to America, and Kodansha’s editorial office checked on this and confirmed it, but, well, somehow none of the books ever made it to Stan Lee. Well, if that’s the way it is, okay, I thought, and so I took it upon myself to personally send a few copies to Stan directly. Among those I included was a story that ran in the August 1970 issues of Monthly Shōnen Magazine, [the story entitled “Yū, Lost in the Weeds,” “Gimon no naka no Yū”] where [the hero] Yū finds a teenage girl in a thicket on the outskirts of town right as she is about to be raped by a bunch of guys.4

Finally, I got a letter back from Stan Lee. I thought he would be so happy to hold in his hands the Japanese Spider-Man. “The pictures are utterly fantastic. But I have to tell you, the scene where the teenage girl is about to be raped by those young men, well, that kind of thing wouldn’t happen in our comics. I feel like this is something that makes your Spider-Man different from ours. If you asked me what I think of it, from my point of view, it seems like we have different standards than you do there [in Japan], so I don’t think I know how to judge your version.” That was what he essentially wrote.

American comic books had long had a Comics Code [Authority] that regulated their content since the 1950s. Just like American movies have their Motion Picture Production Code, any depictions of violence or cruelty can only go so far, so the comics companies regulate themselves. And although the Comics Code certainly has become looser over the years, artists like Jim Steranko would do drawings that were caught by the Code regulators a number of times and that is one reason why he ultimately walked away from doing any more work for the comic book companies. Of course, they would not allow a depiction [like Ikegami’s] of a girl in her underpants running to escape a bunch of thugs trying to rape her. Of course.

It’s hard to say that though, because different countries allow different things to be depicted in their stories. Yet, regardless of whether there was the Code or not, at least when it comes to American comics for boys, such depictions would just not be possible. After many years of having experience reading American comics, this was something I knew and understood.

The Japanese Spider-Man and the protagonist of the American version were caught up in problems—but different kinds of problems. And although he also got into even deeper problems, that didn’t matter to Stan Lee. Even more than that, with the stage set in Japan, where his Japanese readers were not used to having colorful superheroes and villains jumping around in everyday settings, our Spider-Man eventually would not don his superhero costume even once over the span of a hundred-page episode. And even though we had stories like that, it didn’t seem to matter to Stan. What did matter to Stan Lee was seeing his beloved creation, that teenage superhero—the Spider-Man character appear in a world, where on a lonely moor a girl was going to be raped by a bunch of guys. Surely that is what made Stan Lee unable to accept our version of the character.

I believe that I could completely understand Stan Lee’s point of view, but, at the same time, there was that Japanese part of me that could really get what [Ikegami] was doing in that story. But the Japanese side, also, is all too easy to get.

If you are going to switch the setting to Japan, if you are going to depict in a realistic way the thoughts and feelings of a young man, then one cannot help feeling (from the Japanese point of view) that something doesn’t work if you also make that protagonist fight unrealistic supervillains. And when you put those extremely Japan-like, “intense feelings” (jōnen) of the gekiga genre into it, then there is no way those different elements could work together. It seemed to be a natural response. As a result, while [Ikegami] was drawing the hang-ups of this young man, he never forgot to color in the nitty-gritty details of the protagonist’s daily life with humor, but there was also a serious side to it and, in the end, of course, it always made you think that you were reading a Japanese manga. So, there were probably a number of reasons why this version diverged from the American original with its original overall positivity. (Even if it didn’t have that, the fact that for at least the last 15 years,5 and probably even into the future, just like Superman, Ikegami at the very least in his manga pulled off an incredible feat that couldn’t be done in America).

I think it is fair to say that people in both Japan and America are not different in seriously wanting to attach to their heroes some real truth, but, even though their point of departures were the same, in the end, their Spider-Men over time became different because of the their home country’s cultural background and their customs. Even though I have been able to understand what drives these two different peoples separated by the Pacific Ocean, ultimately, I have kept silent about this. From the very beginning of this fight, I decided to give up, as even though I might be able to explain where each side is coming from, in the end I didn’t think anyone would really understand the other side.

In October 1972, I paid a visit to the Marvel Comics company for the first time in my life. As soon as I stepped into Stan Lee’s office, my eye caught sight on his bookshelf of the three volumes of the Monthly Shōnen Magazine I had sent to Stan years before. Here I was finally able to meet with Stan Lee, with whom I had sent many letters and even interviewed through an exchange of tape recordings, so we should have had a ton of things to talk about, but not knowing how to start talking with him, in the end we just spent the whole time trading endless pleasantries and gossip. What was going through my mind at that time was something strange. At one point, Stan smiled and said, “You know, the Japanese version of Spider-Man really wasn’t Spider-Man.” And I myself ended up laughing and I remained silent on that point.

Later, in 1975, I would meet Stan again. It was August 1975. At that time too, we remembered the old days and he told me ours wasn’t a real Spider-Man. He also made a suggestion. He wondered if we shouldn’t perhaps try to put out a Marvel Comics magazine, just running his original stories just as they were. On this too, I kept my silence.

I think if Japanese Spider-Man had really been a success, of course it could have created a heated atmosphere, making everyone involved feel a certain kind of tension. What happened was that to make a Japanese version of an American comic, there was a feeling of tension that created a sense of adventure, a sense that what we were doing was really different; but also, a sense of revulsion, even a kind of hatred towards the country of its origin because of our different circumstances. I feel that our version could do that because it had a kind of power and all those things are reflected in the work itself. Although when the manga was being serialized in the magazine, the company used on the covers the original art from the American comic, but as you turned the pages what you saw stretching out between the covers was the story of a wholly different Spider-Man there. That kind of disconnect—that tension—is probably the spice that made our Supaidāman interesting for readers.

Today I can fondly look back on those days and that excitement at being a part of the fight for Japanese Spider-Man. And yet, it’s just that the American-Japanese Spider-Man War (wait, I call it that, but it is just an expression I use)—well, in the end, this war wasn’t real. Things like this happen all the time all over the world. Where was I? As I was saying: because I was a person there in the thick of it all, because I stood in the middle between the East and the West, because I understood we all had our cultural differences, all of these feelings are the reasons why I long maintained my silence on what happened. Even as I say that, I know these feelings of mine probably won’t be understood by most people.

* * *

  1. Ono’s 1968 essay on Captain America, “The Hero that the War Created: The Revival of Captain America”, is as knowledgeable about American cultural history as it is quintessentially Japanese in its outlook. Ono nods to his Japanese readers that Marvel’s shield-slinger might “perhaps be unpleasant to us these days,” but he also notes the “various thoughts” that plague “Cap,” who not only “bears America’s image” but also a kind of “sadness.” Ono perfectly sums up Captain America in a mere three pages. Reviews and Ono’s recommendations of American comics were featured in his “Kaigai manga shōkai” (“Introduction to Overseas Manga”) columns. (See the reprint of this essay in editor Chūjō Shōhei’s two-part anthology: Komu kessakusen 1967-1969 [Masterpieces of COM 1967-1969], Chikuma Bunko, 2015, 244-246.)
  2. Ono Kōsei, “Supaidāman zuisō” in Ikegami Ryōichi, Supaidāman (Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1995), Vol. 1 (pp. 338-342) and Vol. 2 (pp. 370-382).
  3. [Editor's Note] Technically, the full cover title of the magazine at this time, Gekkan bessatsu shōnen magajin, translates to "Monthly Special Issue Shōnen Magazine" to denote the monthly title's status as a supplement to Weekly [Shūkan] Shōnen Magazine.
  4. [Translators’ Note] This story, originally 100 pages long, was reprinted in edited form in Marvel’s Spider-Man: The Manga #16-18 (August and September 1998), although unlike other three-issue arcs in Marvel’s reprint series, this one went untitled.
  5. [Editor's Note] While the version of Ono's essay presented here is from 1995, that text represented a combination of several different pieces, revised over the years; this reference to "the last 15 years" dates from a 1980s revision, which was not amended in 1995.