Marvel has been publishing some of the greatest superhero comics to hit newsstands and comic shops for decades now. While they’re certainly recognized as one of the greatest comic book publishers in the world, there are certainly some titles that they have missed out on.
Though they may not focus on specifically American superheroes, mangaka in Japan have been crafting some of the finest super-stories ever told. But which ones do Marvel fans need to get ahold of immediately? Let’s find out!
10 Spider-Man: The Manga
This one is probably a no-brainer for most Marvel fans, but it deserves to be mentioned nonetheless. Spider-Man: The Manga follows the story of a young Japanese student names Yu Komori. After being bitten by a radioactive spider, Yu is granted abilities matching that of the American Spider-Man, Peter Parker.
While there are many parallels between this version of Spider-Man, including Japanese versions of his most iconic villains, an aunt Mei, and even J. Jonah Jameson, the similarities stop there. This story is a much darker, moodier, and more vulgar version of its American counterpart. This sure isn’t your grandfather’s Spider-Man.
9 Neon Genesis Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion is a story filled with timelines that don’t make sense, secret organizations within secret organizations and child saviors galore. So naturally its the perfect manga for Marvel fans to get into.
Seriously though, the series is filled with depressed and lonely young people fighting to save whatever scrap of a world they have left, all while being manipulated by a shady organization that may or may not be trying to bring about the end of the world. Definitely a must for any Marvel fan and especially for any manga fan.
8 X-Men: The Manga
Another no-brainer featured in this article is X-Men: The Manga. Unlike its Spider-Man counterpart, this series is actually focused on the familiar characters from the American comics.
The series, which was introduced as a way to help Marvel get a foot in the door in regards to the Japanese market, is actually based on the animated series from the 90s that was also airing in Japan at the time. The series follows the first two seasons of the animated series, so any fans looking for the same action in manga form will definitely be pleased.
7 Tiger & Bunny
Tiger & Bunny follows the story of the hero “Wild Tiger” and his newly assigned partner, Barnaby Brooks Jr. as they attempt to piece together the mystery surrounding the murder of Barnaby’s parents.
Their world is not like other superhero worlds, however, as heroes in this world are backed by corporations and even their suits carry advertisements. Though the homicidal hero “Lunatic” is beginning to change the publics’ opinion on professional heroes, typically heroes compete on live television to earn points towards becoming the “King of Heroes”.
6 My Hero Academia: Vigilantes
Unlike the series its spun-off from, My Hero Academia: Vigilantes is about the heroic people who just couldn’t make it as heroes. The series follows a young boy named Koichi, who after being harassed by a group of thugs is saved and then recruited by a vigilante named Knuckleduster.
These heroes were not the cream of the crop that fans may recognize from the main series, but with a little help from each other, they just may be able to rise up through the ranks and become true heroes.
When mangaka Katsuhiro Otomo created Akira, he did so with almost masochistic attention to detail in both the artwork and the story itself. While many readers may have already been introduced to Akira through the animated feature that was released back in 1989, it would be a terrible shame if that was the only form in which they had experienced the story.
For starters, the manga was only about halfway done when the film came out, which might explain the ending that only raises more questions than answers. In contrast, the manga goes far beyond the story of the film and the artwork is one of the best in the history of manga.
4 Spider-Man J
Spider-Man J, by mangaka Yamanaka Akira, is another series that should be a no-brainer for fans of the Marvel landscape. While the series does not feature Peter Parker in the role of Spider-Man, there are many familiar faces that will make Spidey fans right at home.
The story follows fifteen-year-old Sho Amano who has recently received spider-powers, much like Peter Parker. During his time as the Japanese Spider-Man, Sho has run-ins with the Japanese versions of the Fantastic Four, Dr. Doom, Electra and even Blade.
3 One-Punch Man
Any fans of Marvel comics who haven’t already picked up a copy of One-Punch Man already should probably make that their very next purchase when the hit the comics shop.
The series, created by One and illustrated by Yusuke Murata, follows Saitama a self-proclaimed “hero for fun” as he struggles with the fact that, due to his immense and inescapable strength, he no longer find joy in his heroic escapades. And why would he? He knows the outcome of every fight. He throws one punch and it’s over. Talk about anticlimactic!
2 Spider-Man: Fake Red
Created by mangaka Yusuke Osawa, Spider-Man: Fake Red, as the title may suggest, is not about Peter Parker. Or perhaps it would be better to say that it does not star Peter Parker as the main character. In this series, the main character is a young boy named Yuu, who after failing to save a classmate from some bullies, discovers a Spider-Man suit.
Unbeknownst to him, however, is the fact that this is actually Peter Parker’s real spidey suit. After he discovers the truth, Yuu decides to do his best to take on Spidey’s mantle and help those in need. But just how long can he keep this up without any superpowers of his own? And what happened to Peter Parker? Find out now by picking up your own copy!
1 My Hero Academia
It’s very likely that fans of Marvel comics have already heard of this series or watched the anime adaptation of it. However, if comic fans really want to get the full experience, then they’ll have to pick up mangaka Kohei Horikoshi’s original work.
For those who have yet to discover My Hero Academia, the series follows Izuku Midoriya as makes his way through UA, the preeminent school for young heroes, after inheriting the powers of the world’s number one hero, All Might. This manga (or anime, if you prefer) is something that needs to be experienced by any self-proclaimed fan of superheroes, supervillains, and the imaginative worlds they live in.