5 Iconic Characters Who Got Insane Reboots in Foreign Comics
If you try to run out and sell your own comic book starring Batman or some popular video game character, your ass will get sued before the ink dries. The owners of these characters are hell-bent on making sure some other dumbass doesn't make bootleg versions that tarnish their good name.
In America, anyway. When it comes to translating these same characters into foreign comics, it seems like pretty much anything goes. That's why if you find yourself browsing in comic book shops abroad, you may be surprised to find ...
Robin's Manly, Racist Adventures, Co-Starring Batman (Spain)
If you have always wished the Batman franchise was really about Robin beating criminals to death with blunt objects and gunning down Asians with a machine gun, well, the people of Spain agree with you.
In 1948, Batman was well-known and even popular in the U.S., but perhaps not so much in other countries, so it is almost understandable why Spanish cartoonist Julio Ribera and writer J. Fernandez thought they could just start making their own Batman comics and pretend they invented him.
They also claimed to have invented Asians and racism.
Oftentimes artists will blatantly trace panels from Batman comics, but to be fair, these two guys made entirely new stories when they could have easily just reprinted the originals and put their names on it. We are glad they did, because their version is crazier than a clown fighting a howler monkey.
Is Batman throwing a grenade or his poop?
There are a few changes between the Batman you know and the one these two guys pulled out of their asses. Some of them are small, like calling the Batmobile the Catmobile, for some reason. The biggest change, though, is their version of Robin -- a relentless badass who is constantly getting Batman (known here as simply "The Bat") out of tough spots.
We can think of several explanations for that bloodstain on his shirt and none of them are good.
You see, Spain has a more stupidly macho-oriented culture than other countries (at least judging by their favorite hobbies, all of which seem to involve pissing off two-ton animals that can stab you with their heads). Considering that, it's clear why they thought that Robin, the damselboy in distress wonder, just wasn't gonna cut it there.
What we're trying to say is, don't mess with Spanish Robin -- seriously, he'll cap your ass.
"You stole my sidekick's nipples! YOU MONSTERS!"
In fact, one could even say they went a bit too far and Robin manned up so much that the comic ended up being called "Robin and the Bat," with poor Batman losing first billing and also his clothes, because in this version he seems to fight crime with just boxer shorts, a cape, and a smile.
"I have as many shirts as I have fucks to give!"
Another weird thing about this comic is that despite only lasting 13 issues, most of its covers show Batman and Robin beating the shit out of either Chinese or Indian people. Now, we don't want to say this comic was crazy racist but ...
"Eat lead, yellow rats"? We hope you're talking to some cowardly rodents there, mister.
So to recap, Batman and Robin in Spain was the story of a boy, his many guns, his almost-naked friend, and their violent never-ending war against Asia.
So who could possibly top that? How about Japan's version ...
Batman Takes on Lord Death Man and Dr. Faceless (Japan)
In the 1960s, the camptastic Batman TV show with Adam West became a phenomenon in every corner of the world, including Japan. Naturally, Japanese publishers decided to cash in on this craze by getting a license to create official Batman comics for their country, although they had to make some changes so that the stories better reflected Japan's culture. By which we mean they were fucking insane.
Etymologists believe that the term "batshit crazy" can be traced back to this exact comic.
Regular Batman stories, especially the ones from this era, were pretty nutty to begin with, so Japan apparently took this as an opportunity to prove that no one beats them when it comes to brain-melting insanity (as if that were necessary). For instance, one of Batman's recurring enemies in this series was Lord Death Man, a villain with the ability to die at will to get himself out of sticky situations. This creeps the shit out of Batman, who starts having freaky nightmares with Lord Death Man every night.
Batman's tendency to react like this when surprised explains why Alfred doesn't appear in this comic.
Batman also fought Japan-ified versions of his classic villains, like Clayface, who gets his shape-shifting powers from stepping into what appears to be a lake of poo. In order to defeat him, Batman submerges himself into the shit lake and emerges as a giant sentient batarang. Also, instead of Two-Face, Japanese readers got Dr. Faceless, who, after being accidentally disfigured, becomes obsessed with killing anything with a face.
"Fuck you, Mark Zuckerberg!"
Literally all of the faces must die. At one point Batman finds a note from Dr. Faceless:
It should be obvious to anyone with a passing knowledge of world monuments that the villain actually meant he was destroying Mount Batman, the giant Bat-face carved on a mountain just outside Gotham City. Batman rushes there to prevent this tragedy.
In the real world, this is in Minnesota.
And finally there's Professor Gorilla, a regular ape who steals Batman's intelligence and by doing so bestows the Caped Crusader with gorilla-like strength.
Of all the gorillas, monkey gorillas are the stupidest.
Professor Gorilla wants to exterminate the human race, but once he's been defeated, Robin points out that his actions were perfectly logical.
"Shit, if anything, he didn't want revenge enough."
Super Mario Goes to Hell (Germany)
If you ever read Nintendo Power magazine in the '90s, you probably remember that they used to have little comics starring Mario and other Nintendo characters going on adventures that usually involved whatever new peripheral the company put out that month. Well, it turns out that the German version of the magazine made its own comics, and they were a little ... different.
Judging by the placement of the chains on his gimp suit, we now know exactly where Kirby's nipples are located.
To be fair, the characters didn't always look like they were heavily into S&M (or, in Link's case, furries); most issues featured completely innocent Mario stories, like the one where Cthulhu turns everyone in Switzerland into cheese. That changed in a comic that begins with Mario and Princess Peach about to get intimate in the New York skyscraper where she apparently lives.
"You were there for me when I lost my castle to debt, Mario. Let me repay the favor."
Unfortunately, the lights go out when lightning strikes the building. Mario goes out to investigate and hopefully restore the power before the effects of the dick pill he took wear off. In the building's basement, he runs into Link and Kirby, who presumably had their hot dates interrupted as well, and together they stumble upon a terrifying scene -- they peek into a room where Wario is making a deal with Satan.
That, or they're waiting to order at a restaurant.
On Wario's wishes, Satan unleashes a horde of demons to destroy Mario. Mario and friends start fighting the demons, but in doing so they themselves become monsters, echoing Nietzsche's words. After defeating Satan's forces, everything seems to go back to normal, and Mario heads back to Peach's room for some mushroom-rubbing.
And then, this happens:
"... aaaaaand, my erection's gone."
That's the end of the comic. There's no "It was all a dream" or "To be continued," just Mario gasping in horror at Peach's eyeless stare. The magazine did publish a sequel to this story a year later, presumably to stop the torrent of fan letters containing nothing but children's tears. This time, Mario has to visit the underworld to rescue Peach's soul. Once he finds her, she greets him by saying, "Your mother scrubs toilets in hell" (which kids everywhere will recognize as a reference to that line from The Exorcist).
Plumbing runs in the family.
Mega Man and His Nudist Robot Sister (Brazil)
Mega Man is a little cartoon robot who shoots lasers at other goofy robots to save the world from a mad scientist. How wrong can a Mega Man comic really go?
Allow us to answer that question with a metal anus coffin.
Looking at these pictures, you might think this comic is just the fan creation of sex-starved teenagers with a half-read "How to Draw Manga!" book with some pages stuck together. In reality, this is a real comic book fully licensed by Capcom, with all the pages stuck together.
In the mid-'90s, Capcom was king of video games; everyone wanted to milk their franchises, and like a slutty cow, Capcom allowed anyone to get to second base with their udders. This led to some results you might regret knowing. And in 1996, they licensed Mega Man to Brazilian publisher Magnum Press. It turns out exactly how you'd expect from a publisher with that name.
The comic begins normally enough, with Mega Man waking up after 30 years in a post-apocalyptic world where Dr. Wily's robots have almost wiped out the entire human race.
Also, good ol' Wily has been hitting the gym.
Or at least that's what the comic claims, because several times we see humans living happily in a clearly not-apocalyptic setting not giving a damn about the army of human-hunting robots that sometimes exists and sometimes doesn't. Besides, the comic seems more concerned with apologizing for how shitty it is.
"If there were any justice in the world, I'd be starving to death on the streets!"
They were right to apologize; the artwork, for instance, seems to lie at the center of a Venn diagram between "manga" and "back of a notebook of a mentally disturbed teenager."
Little Billy is now seeing a psychologist.
And the script to this bullshit is what happens when you Google Translate police reports of sexual harassment into robot before going back to human.
"But first I've got to mount your boot drive! Computer sex!"
Yes, this comic reveals that Mega Man and his futuristic brother, Mega Man X, both want to plug their penises into the USB port of their robot sister, Roll (a minor character in the games). We pray that when the robot revolution comes, this comic is erased from the Internet immediately; otherwise it will teach the Terminators how to rape us.
It will not be a difficult task.
We're not sure how shocked the guy could have been about seeing her naked up there; she is even naked on the freaking cover of the first issue. And sales must have been pretty bad near the end, because in the last few issues, she gives up trying to remain dressed and becomes a one-girl nudist colony.
To be fair, in Brazil nipple pasties are considered casual clothes.
The comic was cancelled with No. 16, but probably not before a whole lot of disappointed Brazilian teenagers ran out to buy copies of Mega Man.
The Psychotic/Masturbating Spider-Man (Japan)
Perhaps inspired by the success of Batman's wacky Japanese adventures, in the '70s, Marvel Comics licensed a Spider-Man manga by artist Ryoichi Ikegami. The result was, well, we feel this image sums it up pretty well:
You probably remember this part from the Tobey Maguire movies.
You see, while the Batman series was made entirely out of random insanity, the Spider-Man one showed us the other side of Japanese comics -- you know, the deeply disturbing, bizarrely sexual one. Feast your eyes on this sequence, where "Peter Parker" is trying to study while his boobs-obsessed adolescent imagination tries to distract him:
What could the panel of his hand grabbing the pencil possibly repre- oh.
Of course, Peter puts those thoughts aside when an emergency arises and -- wait, no, he wanks. Yeah, that's not webbing on the ceiling, Aunt May.
Stan Lee dealt with these issues in more tactful ways.
The Spider-Manga began as a relatively faithful translation of the American comic: A high school student gets bitten by a radioactive spider, gains superpowers, and starts punching people in tights. The biggest difference, at this point, was that this Spider-Man was slightly more prone to fantasizing about fucking murdering everyone.
Then again, laughing at burning people is considered respectful in some cultures.
But then, in the third chapter, Spider-Man says "fuck it," throws away his webbed costume, and barely puts it on again for the rest of the series. In fact, in most issues, the classic mask only appears on the cover illustrations, or when little Spider-Man faces appear in the air and haunt Peter (Japan's version of the Spidey-sense).
And they're all singing the Spider-Man theme in squirrel voices.
From this point on, Spider-Man pretty much stops fighting supervillains; his main antagonists are either gangs of rapists (he fights at least four different ones in unrelated stories) or fake Spider-Men who gain his same powers and start killing people, only to be accidentally killed by Peter at the end of the issue (and of course he feels terrible about it, which is the only thing he had in common with the real Spidey).
Oh, and while the most brutal thing we'd seen in the American comic at this point was someone's neck snapping, this version wasn't so squeamish:
Japanese J. Jonah Jameson had it coming.
Why couldn't Japan just give Spider-Man a giant robot called Leopardon and ... hold on, that exists, too? Fuck this comic, we're watching that shit again.
Maxwell Yezpitelok writes comics and lives in Chile, but you can find him on Twitter.
For more foreign translations that missed the mark, check out Lost In Translation: 20 Baffling Foreign Movie Posters and The 7 Most Hilarious Foreign Twists on Common Movie ClichÃ©s.
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