May 8, 2013


Takao Saito, creator of Golgo 13, adapted James Bond and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. for the Japanese manga market in the 1960s. The stories were serialized in comic digests and collected for release as paperbacks. Saito's spy manga are some of the hardest artifacts to track down and it's a rare treat when collectors get to see examples of this work. The James Bond and U.N.C.L.E. books rarely appear on eBay and tend to be listed between $100-$300. Here are some rare examples of Saito's U.N.C.L.E manga, Napoleon Solo. It's fun to see how Saito fashioned the characters in the style of Golgo 13 and brought familiar secret agents into the dynamic world of his comic pages. It has been suggested that the style of Golgo 13 was derived from these earlier spy manga, which may have been cancelled due to legal issues. I'd love to see a large collection translated into English in the style of Chip Kidd's Batmanga (hear that, Chip?). Incidentally, Batman appeared alongside Solo in Shonen Magazine and I have included some pages by Jiro Kuwata below. 

Check Spy Vibe for recent posts about our fiendish villains archive, new James Bond omnibusOrson Welles the Shadow, rare Piero Umiliani Kriminal soundtrack, new Beatles Yellow Submarine game, James Bond audio book re-issues, Mid-Century Modern in PeanutsRalph Byrd Dick TracyThe Saint, Op Art, Thomas Allen pulp art, The Shadow, Operation Kid Brother (MST3K), 1960s espionage writers, my review of SKYFALL, 007 at the Intnl Spy Museum, and more. Spy Vibe is now on Pinterest! Check out our image archives and follow us here.

Ian Fleming on Spy Vibe: recent posts include Ian Fleming Music Series links: Noel CowardWhispering Jack SmithHawaiian GuitarJoe Fingers Carr, new Ian Fleming Catalogdiscovery of one of Ian Fleming's WWII Commandos, James Bond book coversIan Fleming's Playboy interview for Kindle, Spy Vibe's discovery of a rare Ian Fleming serialization, Fleming's Royal gold typewriter, Ian Fleming's memorial address, and our Ian Fleming image archive link here. 

Want to support Spy Vibe? Please make a small donation with our secure Paypal tip-jar link at the top left of the main page. Nothing is too small to help cover the increasing bills for the domain, web-forwarding and other costs to maintain the site. Thank you! 


  1. David Foster from Permission to Kill sent this interesting comment:

    ... allegedly Saito was sued (or at least told to desist) from doing his manga James Bond strips. It is alleged, that Golgo 13 arose from the ashes (maybe left over illustrations). That's why they look so similar (and why they haven't been re-published and now sell for exorbitant prices). I am sure with licensing deals, this will change one day - and we'll see the Japanese Bond in English.

    As for the Manga Batman (apparently has surfaced in English). Here's a little piece that Carol wrote a little while back on the Cultural Gutter - you may be interested in.

  2. and...

    According to john Cox - the Saito Bond's were licensed, but Glidrose put a stop to them...