Cosplayer Francesca Dani as Cyborg 003: Francoise Arnoul

Archaia Entertainment has announced it is adapting Cyborg 009 for the West.

“It’s an incredible opportunity to be charged with the reimagining of one of the classics of Japanese manga,” said Archaia Editor-in-Chief Stephen Christy. “CYBORG 009 has spawned generations of fans, several movies and anime series, countless toys and products, and is truly a cultural icon in Japan that has thrived for decades. We are honored to be working with Ishimori Production side by side to introduce this incredible story to a Western audience.”

Cyborg 009 introduced the first Japanese superheroes. They started out as nine strangers, who are kidnapped by a warmonger and transformed into cyborgs for the highest bidder. They manage to escape with the help of a sympathetic scientist and vow to put an end the mysterious organization, known as Black Ghost.

The popular series debuted half a century ago, outliving its prolific creator Shotaro Ishinomori, whose works include Kamen Rider, Kikaider and Himitsu Sentai Gorenger, which eventually morphed into the Power Rangers.

“On the surface, CYBORG 009 appears to be a science fiction action/adventure story,” says writer F.J. DeSanto (The Spirit). “However, Ishinomori’s creation has endured because it’s a story about the human spirit triumphing over incredible adversity. The sort of emotional trauma these nine people experience could happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any time. Instead of becoming dark and oppressive, the story evolves into a message of hope and cooperation between people of different countries and races who share the singular goal of bringing peace to the planet. Humanity is the heart and soul of CYBORG 009.”

Cyborg 009 graphic novel
art by Marcus To

The graphic novel won’t be released until late 2013 but artist Marcus To (DC Comics’ Red Robin and Huntress) has released a teaser image of the team looking very Westernized. They don spandex uniforms typical of American superheroes, while the exaggerated physical features that are characteristic of manga and anime have been toned down. Most notably, the uniforms don’t match. The color schemes vary and some of them are missing the iconic scarfs but it’s a work in progress says To.

“Still working on designs, not completely final yet for a lot of the characters. You’ll just have to wait and see,” he tweeted.

DeSanto is also attached to produce a live-action film adaptation.

“With the world in love with superheroes and superhero movies, the timing is perfect for a re-introduction of Ishinomori’s creations,” said DeSanto. “The book was created during the Cold War and its themes of teamwork and global co-operation still resonate in today’s culture and climate. The book was clearly ahead of its time.”