The Japanese mangaka Buichi Terasawa, known in particular for his science fiction work Cobra and for having been a pioneer in the creation of manga on the computer, died at the age of 68 of a myocardial infarction, his studio announced Monday, September 11. “Despite three operations for brain tumors, Buichi Terasawa had survived with the same vitality as Cobra himself, but this time he must have been taken by surprise,” wrote his Terasawa Production company, specifying that his death occurred last Friday.

Born in 1955 on the northern island of Hokkaido, Buichi Terasawa first tried his hand at shojo manga, aimed at girls and teenagers, before going to Tokyo in 1976 to study with Osamu Tezuka, considered the father modern manga. It was from 1978 that his best-known work began to appear in the weekly Shonen Jump: Cobra, featuring a space adventurer whose left arm conceals a rifle, the “psychogun”.

Passionate about cinema, Terasawa gives his hero scouring the galaxy the features of the French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo whom he discovered in the film Breathless (1959), and whose cheeky and casual side he admires. This manga will sell some 50 million copies worldwide according to the specialized site Mangazenkan, and will be adapted into a cartoon (broadcast notably in France from 1985) and into an animated film. At the beginning of the 1980s, the mangaka began to create works on computers: he notably published The Black Knight BAT (1985), then in 1992 Takeru, considered the first manga in the world entirely produced on computers.