Jerry Robinson, the artist who collaborated with Bob Kane and Bill Finger on the original Batman and who gave the world Batman's first great supervillain--The Joker--is participating in a unique international collaboration with writer Ken-ichi Oishi (Hotel) and artist Shojin Tanaka to create Astra, a science fiction manga with strong elements of classic 'good girl' art.  Astra is a beautiful, blonde interstellar princess who has never seen a man, since all the men on her planet were killed in an interplanetary war.  Her search for the manly essence needed to continue her race forms the basis for this eight issue mini-series which debuts in July from CPM Manga.


Astra was originally conceived as a theatrical musical, but Robinson found that the basic storyline intrigued his Japanese friends.  The result of their mutual interest is one of the first truly trans-Pacific comics.  Robinson obviously enjoyed the experience, 'The collaboration between Sidra Cohn and myself and the Japanese artists has been an enriching experience. I am sure there will be more such creative crossfertilization between continents an cultures in the future.'


Astra #1 will ship with two different covers in equal ratios.  The original cover by Shojin Tanaka (Metal Boy, Maniacs 21) and an alternate cover by fan favorite Jim Balent (Catwoman, Tarot, Witch of the Black Rose).  The second issue will also ship 50/50 with a second cover by Frank Thorne (Red Sonja).  A very limited edition of 500 Astra #1's signed by Jerry Robinson is also available with a cover price of $29.95.  The regular edition carries a cover price of $2.95.  Astra #1 is being solicited in the May edition of Diamond Previews.