The Promethean Challenge is the first of four manga volumes that inspired the OVA of the late eighties, the current two film episodes, and planned television series. Published in 1985, the debut installment of the saga was author Shirow Masamune's first venture into the world of serialized manga, following the successful, but ultimately one-off, premiere of the single episode graphic novel Black Magic earlier in 1982. Although some carryovers exist between Black Magic and The Promethean Challenge (minor plot elements, the use of some terms, for example) the majority of the story is quite original.
Graphically, many scenes depicted in the first volume were recreated faithfully in the 2004 CGI Appleseed, though their context and setting were often wildly different. The tank pursuit seen twenty pages in, for example, is used in the opening sequence of the movie, though in the book the pursuers are human aggressors, where in the movie they are savage cyborgs. Later on, spanning pages forty-six to forty-seven, is a rare double page cel showing Deunan's migration into Olympus, with the Tartaros and Daidalos arcologies rising above a ceiling of overcast clouds; everyone will recognize this as the opening sequence to the anime. Only in the book, the craft chosen is a helicopter, and not the contemporary AF5 VTOL, and Deunan is conscious, not sedated. Much more of the symbology seen in this episode can be found in the second volume as well, with a few vaguer elements of three, four, and the Hypernotes, seeing brief airtime in Appleseed: Ex Machina.