one of the first looks of the original Skullman

Skull Man

(スカルマン Sukaru Man ) was a mangaseries created by Shotaro Ishinomori which first appeared in Shonen Magazine in 1970 and immediately caused a sensation, selling over 1.5 million copies. The hero, orphaned when his parents were murderd, grows up to use his peculiar powers to take his revenge. The original Skull Man was one of manga`s first anti-heroes, someone who would sacrifice the lives of innocents in his quest for vengeance. This darkness is what made the Skull Man so magnetic and successful.

While the TV series Kamen Rider (Masked Rider) was still in development, Ishinomori, who created that series with producer Toru Hirayama, made this manga as his own personal version, which the producers at Toei Company Ltd. used as the basis for the show. Several changes in content were made, as this 100-page one-shot story was too dark and gruesome (even cerebral) for a children's show.

In the late 90s, before Ishinomori's death, the ill cartoonist contacted young mangaka Kazuhiko Shimamoto to do a remake (ambiguously a continuation) of his original one-shot manga. This remake boasted an extensive, continuing storyline and more complex artwork (along with a tribute to Ishinomori in the final issue, with several of his famous characters gathered together). This was the manga that was presented in the US by TOKYOPOP. The original 1970 version has yet to be released in America.

An animeted TV series adaptation, produced by Bones and directed by Takeshi Mori  , has been airing on Fuji since april, 2007

skull man the anime

the story

There are mass murders and catastrophes all over Japan, committed by a masked/caped psychic madman called the Skull Man, and his shape-shifting aide Garo (named after the manga ninja Garo created by Sanpei Shiroto), who can turn into various powerful mutant monsters. The calamities caused by the Skull Man are investigated by the Tachiki Detective Agency, with the help of a young man named Tatsuo Kagura, the son of a Yakuza in the Kagura Clan.

Eventually, later in the story, Police Chief Tachiki, who heads the Tachiki Detective Agency, suspects Tatsuo to be the Skull Man, who, in turn, suspects the detective to be part of a public conspiracy that has been after him for fifteen years. It turns out that he was adopted by the Kagura Clan, and his real parents were murdered, and for those fifteen years, Tatsuo was hunting for the mastermind, who manipulates all industry, finance and even politics. Tatsuo, the Skull Man, threateningly demands Tachiki to tell him the name of the mastermind, but just as he mutters the culprit's first name, Chisato, he suddenly expires. Skull Man realizes who it is, and he and Garo race off to finally meet him.

The duo race to the estate of a reclusive old man named Chisato Kogetsu, who lives with a girl named Maya, who is mute and blind (she has perpetually closed eyes). With psychotic rage, Skull Man threatens to kill Chisato, who not only kindly welcomes him, but has been looking forward to his arrival. But Maya telepathically persuades him not to kill Chisato, and she reveals a shocking secret: Chisato is Skull Man's grandfather and Maya his younger sister.

Chisato tells his shocked grandson the whole story: his own son, Tatsuo's father, was a scientific genius beyond geniuses. In fact, he was so intelligent and unearthly that he was a mutant , a being of Newmanity (Shinjinrui - similar to that in Ishinomori's later creation, I zanuman).
His wife, whom he married and had Tatsuo with, was a mutant also. The couple conducted bizarre experiments that could be capable of destroying humanity as we know it.
Chisato feared this greatly, so when Maya was born, he killed his own son and daughter-in-law, and also sought to kill his grandson Tatsuo, who was rescued and raised by Garo. He couldn't bring himself to kill Maya, however, and raised her to be his faithful servant. Maya then told Skull Man that Chisato wanted to bring him back before he could do anything.

Chisato then traps himself with Skull Man, Garo and Maya in glass walls, proceeding to set himself and all the others ablaze, sadly stating that "We were born in the wrong era!". Along with his entire "family", Tatsuo, the Skull Man, dies a tragic, horrible death in the inferno, thus ending the original story.

skullman has been the original insperation source for most Kamen Riders today
(as he was Ishinomori`s first biker hero a year before Ichigo)

Maybe even for The Ghost rider(Johnny Blaze) who debuted at Marvel two years later
(nah just kidding that because of Evil knievel and his colleagues)

Skullman live action
Posted by Eddie Brock/Venom

well someone has a badass complex