General Information: History of Dragon Ball
In 1993 Dragon Ball made its first official appearance in the US. It came in the form of the very first Dragon Ball feature movie. In 1996, Dragon Ball resurfaced, but the producers knew that the real action would not be at Dragon Ball, but at Dragon Ball Z. So the following year Dragon Ball Z was introduced to American audiences super charged and ready for consumption. Sadly however, its ratings were not good as it was shown at 5:00 am in the morning. In 1998 Cartoon Network began to air the show in the afternoon, its popularity rose like it never did before. It began the whole Toonami deal(more anime series at CN), exposing fans to different anime shows. The Dragon Ball craze began and is still going, but not many people know about Akira Toriyama's other works. He had made other mangas related to Dragon Ball/Journey to the West.
This is Akira Toriyama's first attempt to make a Dragon Ball manga. Instead of publishing it on Jump Weekly or Jump Monthly, it was printed on a comic book called Fresh Jump. The syndication was from August to October of 1983. The "Goku" of this story is named "Tanton". He looks like Bruce Lee and has wings coming out of his back. Although Goku and Tanton differ in their physical state, their mental state is exactly alike. There were also shape shifting animals and monsters in the story, much to the Chinese reference. There are round like objects, called ronpao, that are very similar to the dragon balls in the actual series. These are called dragon treasure, and when you hit them with ki, a small dragon appears.
-Tonpuu's Great Adventure
Here is the second attempt at Dragon Ball called, "Topuu's Great Adventure". The manga was published in the 52nd issue of 1983 in the Weekly Shounen Jump. Tonpuu travels to different planets in space, which is supposed to give the feel of science fiction like Dragon Ball. The "Bulma" of this story is Puramo. In this story, there is an invention with the capability to store large objects in a capsule. To open it back up, you have to boil it in water for ten seconds. These capsules were supposed to represent the hoi poi capsules of Dragon Ball that Capsule Corporation uses.