To say that we could all learn a few things from Osamu Tezuka is underselling it quite a bit. In a 40-year career that saw him become one of the world's most prolific and beloved comics creators --- not to mention one that was so influential that he earned the nickname "The God of Manga" from readers across the world --- he produced some of the most memorable stories in the medium. Now, it seems like there's a push to get more of his work published on this side of the Pacific, and the latest part of that is coming from Udon Entertainment with two hardcover collections of his sketches and designs.
This week, Udon released Osamu Tezuka: Anime Character Illustrations and Osamu Tezuka: Manga and Anime Character Sketchbook, totaling 368 pages of his designs for projects like Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion, and more. The books are available now, but if you want to see what's involved, check out a preview of both below!
On the off chance that your birthday party for manga legend Osamu Tezuka has lasted two weeks with no sign of stopping and you're looking for a way to finally cap it off, then I have some good news. This week saw the digital debut of a whole bunch of Tezuka's manga on Comixlology. Released by Platinum Manga, DMP's imprint for high-end Tezuka projects, there are over a dozen volumes in all, covering everything from the relatively well-known Unico to Tezuka's spin on Treasure Island and a world-traveling adventure complete with samurai and pirates to space westerns to a story about a cat that has all of Astro Boy's powers, which one assumes includes a machine gun in his butt.
There are a lot of comic book creators who could be considered "the greats." They're the ones who helped to shape genres, whose stories resonate decades after they were published, or who produced staggering amounts of high-quality work that inspired fans and creators alike. Among those, there are the rare creators who did all that and more, the ones who belong to a tier that goes beyond just "great." They're the ones who have defined the medium as a whole, the ones who make it impossible to imagine a world of comics without them.
Osamu Tezuka, born this day in 1928, is one of those. In a career that spanned 44 years and sparked the Golden Age of Japanese comics and a revolution in animation, he influenced Japanese culture on an unimaginable scale, and gave fans all over the world a very good reason to call him the God of Manga.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from our years on the Internet, it’s that there’s no aspect of comics that can’t be broken down and quantified in a single definitive list, preferably in amounts of five or ten. And since there’s no more definitive authority than ComicsAlliance, we’re taking it upon ourselves to compile Top Five lists of everything you could ever want to know about comics.
The Halloween season is upon us, and even though any time is always a good time to think about Dracula, this is probably an especially good time, so today we’re going to be talking about comics’ best Draculas!
Earlier this year, DMP started a series of Kickstarter campaigns designed to bring some of legendary creator Osamu Tezuka's stories back into print in America, including classics like Unico and more obscure titles like Storm Fairy. Today, it launched its latest project, Wonder 3, a book that might just have the most intriguing premise of the bunch.
Set in 196X, a year that finds Earth ravaged by a massive war to the point where a group of aliens are debating whether to save the planet or destroy it. To make their decision, they send a team of three investigators, disguised as animals, along with a gigantic bomb and a time limit of one year to determine whether or not we're worth saving.
If you've read one Astro Boy story, then the odds are pretty good that it's 1964's "The Greatest Robot On Earth." It's considered to be a high point not only for Astro Boy, but for Osamu Tezuka's career, a massive, sweeping story full of Earth-shattering fight scenes and a villain who, despite his horrible acts, isn't entirely evil. It was even revived as the basis for 2003's Pluto, one of the greatest comics of all time, where Naoki Urasawa retold the story as a murder mystery from an entirely new perspective. It is, by any measure, one of the all time greats.
But let's be real here: Why would anyone ever talk about that comic when the very next volume has a story where Astro Boy fights Lord Satan in an amusement park full of robot deathtraps?
Over the past year, DMP has been using Kickstarter to fund the American release of comics by Osamu Tezuka. Now, after the successful campaigns for Alabaster and Clockwork Apple, they're setting their sights on Storm Fairy, a collection of shojo stories by the incredibly prolific creator of Astro Boy.
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, as well as the special qualities of comic book storytelling, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great pinups, fan art and other illustrations on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, and some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it is awesome.
All right, look. I've been pretty late on getting around to reading the considerable library of titles that Osamu Tezuka produced over the course of his forty-year career in manga. Much as I've enjoyed going back through Astro Boy, and as much as I'm looking forward to continuing it when Dark Horse's line of omnibus editions drop this fall, I still haven't read Black Jack or Buddha or any of his other major works, despite knowing that I really should. But folks, I am doing my best, which is why I really hope you head over to Kickstarter and throw a few bucks towards DMP's project to bring Tezuka's Alabaster to America.
Good news for fans of robots who have jet-boots, rocket fists and machine guns that pop out of their butts: This October, Dark Horse is releasing an oversized omnibus of Osamu Tezuka's legendary Astro Boy, a welcome change since the original digest-sized versions from a few years back have been out of print for quite some time.
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