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Kamen Rider Cyborg 009 and more

A 2018 picture book cover showing Kamen Rider 1, Kikaider and Cyborg 009 characters together.

Cyborg 009 was a manga created in 1964 by Shotaro Ishinomori. It is a story about nine cybernetically enhanced individuals from different cultures and backgrounds banding together to stop the terrorist organization Black Ghost. It is considered to be the first superhero team manga and set up some of the basic elements for what Kamen Rider is today.

Inspirations to Kamen Rider

Characters

Cyborg 009-2
  • Joe Shimamura/Cyborg 009- A Japanese-American who possesses super speed via an "advanced accelerator module" as well as (to a lesser degree) the powers of the previous 8 cyborgs.
  • Pyunma/Cyborg 008- An African man who has been modified for underwater combat.
  • Great Britain aka G.B./Cyborg 007- A Briton who has shape-shifting powers used for infiltration missions
  • Chang Changku/Cyborg 006- A Chinese man who has the ability to breathe fire
  • Geronimo Jr/ Cyborg 005- A Native American who has super strength,enhanced skin which gives him high resistance to damage (but not invulnerability), and a sixth sense that detects imbalances in nature and the human heart.
  • Albert Heinrich/Cyborg 004- A German who has cybernetic implants that make his entire body a weapon. (gatling gun fingers,concealed rocket launcher in his knee joint etc.)
  • Francoise Arnoul/Cyborg 003- A Frenchwoman and the only female member, she possesses super hearing, X-ray vison and telescopic vision.
  • Jet Link/Cyborg 002- An American who has an earlier prototype version of Joe's Acceleration module and jets in his feet that allow him to fly at Mach 5.
  • Ivan Whisky/Cyborg 001- A Russian baby whose brain was enhanced by cybernetics, his powers are super intellect, teleportation, telekinesis, ESP, psionic blasts and telepathy. Despite being the most powerful cyborg on the team, Ivan's body cannot maintain the awesome power he wields for very long and usually tires out after using it. As a result he spends most of his time sleeping and only uses his powers when the team is in a situation they can't handle on their own.
  • Professor Issac Gilmore
  • Black Ghost- A shadowy terrorist organization that plots to start World War III so that it can profit off its weapon designs on the black market.

1964 Manga

The original manga is available on Comixology as well as 10 out-of-print volumes of the story by publisher Tokyopop.
009 Tokyopop

Tokyopop print

This release was based off the then-recent tankoban release by Media Factory's "MF Comics" imprint, which lasted 36 volumes. One notable aspect of the Tokyopop/Comixology US release is that it only covers the first 10 volumes (from the "Birth" arc to "Underground Empire of Yomi") and the other 26 volumes have never made it to the US.

One highly speculated reason for Tokyopop's cessation of their translation has to do with how "The Underground Empire of Yomi" was initially supposed to be the final Cyborg 009 story, after Ishinomori had moved the feature to Weekly Shonen Magazine for the purpose of concluding the series (following a messy cancellation by Weekly Shonen King that had cut the "Mythos" arc short). The afterword by the editor Luis Reyes in volume 10 also treats it as the finale of the series.

However, due to fan letters stating their dissatisfaction with the ending and their love of the manga, Ishinomori had quickly resumed the series with "Monster Island" and wrote more stories throughout the course of his life. It is also more likely that the US release ceased due to the manga's sales in the US not meeting Tokyopop's expectations, or Ishimori Pro's expectations for that matter.

Any further volumes of the manga for Comixology were put on hold indefinitely due to Ishimori Pro's outright refusal to pay for translations, as its sales there were presumably not up to par. Comixology's release most notably recycled the old Tokyopop translation, which had numerous liberties and errors, which might have been also due to refusal to commission a new translation.

2013 Graphic Novel

009 USA

2013 U.S. Graphic novel

An American graphic novel adaptation of the story was released by publisher Archaia Entertainment on September 24, 2013. On January 23, 2013, a preview of the story was released on Comixology. The release of the preview chapter was to honor what would have been Shotaro Ishinomori's 75th birthday. The book was originally intended to be part of a graphic novel series showcasing Shotaro Ishinomori's superheroes, with early drafts ready for a Skull Man and a Kikaider novel. However, the plans for the series fell through due to Ishimori Pro's unwillingness to continue the project due to "cultural differences".

Written by: F.J. Desanto (The Spirit)

Conclusion: God's War

Conclusion: God's War is the final story of Cyborg 009, it was plotted out and given rough concept sketches by Ishinomori towards the end of his life in the late 1990s, but the artist died before it could be finished.

However, the cartoonist did leave enough notes and sketches for his son Joe Onodera to draft a script for a light novel series and manga, and former colleague and assistant Masato Hayase to pen the artwork for the manga adaptation. After the first five parts of the story, Hayase was replaced by Sugar Sato, who illustrated the rest of the comic.

On April 13, 2013, 14 years after Shotaro Ishinomori's death, the first manga volume of the final chapter was released and the final 5th volume came on April 4th, 2014.

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