Monday, September 17, 2007

TOP TEN :: Best Comics Artists Ever :: #9 :: Osamu Tezuka


If you were to combine Carl Barks, Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Kirby and Frank Miller together into a single American artist, this amalgam would still fall far short from the influence this one man has had in the history of manga. Osamu Tezuka (1928-1989) was best known in this country for creating Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion. With the explosion of manga, American audiences have gotten a healthy taste of Tezuka's work, offered in a dizzying array of genres and styles: Buddha: Tezuka--an Asian Christian--tells the life story of Siddhartha; Adolph: a five part novel dealing with Japan and Germany during WWII, and a fantasy told in realistic and brutal manner; and Phoenix: Tezuka's unfinished masterpiece, a series of time spanning morality plays combining Asian folk tales and science fiction. With over 10,000 pages already translated into English, we still have over 150,000 pages left that we can look forward to. As the works continue to be translated, watch as Tezuka's influence in THIS country grows. I would bet is that 10 years from now, Tezuka will be much higher on the list than 9.

8 comments:

Shawn Reynolds said...

I recently read "Apollo's Song." It was awesome, and awesomely depressing.

Rusty Baily said...

Well....I thought I might want to read that if I ever finish Buddha, but I think I'll go to Phoenix from here. Thanx Shawn!

Shawn Reynolds said...

It's really good. I don't mean to discourage you from reading it. It's just all about how love is suffering, and love may, or may not, be worth it in the end.

Rich Barrett said...

I'm reading Ode to Kirohito right now. A very large book about an epidemic that de-evolves people into wolf-like creatures. First book I've ever read by Tezuka and I'm digging it so far.

Dustin Harbin said...

Hm. Not to malign Ode to Kirihito, but don't judge all of Tezuka's stuff by that stick. I recently read it after hearing no end of praise from Todd and Andy, but it was probably my least favorite of all of his books. Very longwinded and unrelentingly strange.

Best bet is Adolf, which might rank up there in my all-time top 5. Unfortunately it's out of print, but you might be able to find them used on Amazon. Hold on, hold on.... here you go: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw/105-9317556-7826025?initialSearch=1&url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=adolf

Well worth the shipping cost, especially if you can find all 5 volumes from the same seller, thus minimizing your need for multiple shipments. Failing Adolf, definitely Buddha is next in line, which we have in stock. Again, not that Kirihito is bad, it's just really weird. I hear that Apollo's Song is like ten times weirder.

Rich Barrett said...

Hmm. Strange to hear you use "weird" as a negative. I'm actually hoping for it to get weirder though I'm not too far in yet and have no idea where it's going for the next 700 something pages. Both this book and Apollo appeal to me more than the others because they seem a little more out there. I guess there definitely is "good weird" and "bad weird" though.

Dustin Harbin said...

Well, in this case it's not necessarily "bad", but it's definitely not the best. Believe me, there's no shortage of weirdness in anything by Osamu Tezuka. Buddha is plenty weird--it's a fictionalized account by a Japanese Christian of an Indian prince/ascetic. By fictionalized, I mean plenty of creative license is taken. I won't say more.

Kirihito gets weird in more of a "what the heck?" way later on.

Andy Mansell said...

If Kirohito is what the heck weird, then apollo's Song is what the h-e double hockeysticks weird, but both-- even with theiir faults are so worthwhile. Hard to find any other creator on this list that you can say you can say that about. (Okay, maybe Pope)

I still say-- read ANY issue of Phoenix-- he managed to sum up all of the themes and motifs of his entire career in one brilliant but unfinished masterstroke.

Thanks for listening