Magazine article World Literature Today

The Osamu Tezuka Story: A Life in Manga and Anime

Magazine article World Literature Today

The Osamu Tezuka Story: A Life in Manga and Anime

Article excerpt

Toshio Ban & Tezuka Productions. The Osamu Tezuka Story: A Life in Manga and Anime. Trans. Frederik L. Schodt. Berkeley, California. Stone Bridge Press. 2016. 914 pages.

This is a big book. Massive. Shockingly so. In fact, when you first pick it up there is little you can do other than marvel at the size and wonder how the binding holds it together. But then you dig into the story and you realize what a giant Osamu Tezuka really was and how even a book at a hundred times this size could barely begin to capture this explosive genius.

When talking about Tezuka, you are obligated to mention his title as Japan's "God of Manga." Before reading this, I never gave much thought to what this meant. It was a nickname, like Jack "King" Kirby for American comics. And, to be perfectly honest, I was never a Tezuka fan. Sure, I knew he was brilliant, but aside from Astro Boy and Black Jack, I hadn't read much of his work. His style didn't appeal to me, and I have always been a Shigeru Mizuki guy. But wow, The Osamu Tezuka Story opened my eyes. Tezuka didn't just make manga, he created manga genres. He invented the idea of "story manga," of moving beyond gag strips into long-format stories, aka "The way all manga is done today." Tezuka could have lived for a thousand years and never run out of ideas. Reading this, Tezuka seems less like a human being and more like creativity incarnate-a true "God of Manga."

Cartoonist Toshio Ban pulls off this manga biography beautifully. …

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