Book Review: The Art of Osamu Tezuka

The Art of Osamu Tezuka

Here's a look at The Art of Osamu Tezuka which isn't out yet online, but I managed to find it in the bookshop. Lucky!

It comes with cardboard onlay of Astro Boy pasted on top the hardcover, a 45 minute documentary DVD and a soft transparent vinyl dust jacket. There are two publishers for the book, Ilex and Abrams ComicArt, with Ilex distributing for the UK market.

The author Helen McCarthy has compiled a rather in depth biography of Osamu Tezuka. The content is presented chronologically detailing the different characters, book titles and animation he has created. Over his career, he has created a staggering amount of over 170,000 pages of comic in over 700 titles. He's a prolific artist at the start who became even more so after using comic assistants, a system currently used today to create comics and animation.

In addition to the manga and anime art, there are also a lot of great photos of Osamu Tezuka, even from when he was a kid born in 1928, thanks to his father who's a photographer. The biography looks at his life of creating comics from when he was a kid, to studying medicine and to the post war period when he rose to fame with the numerous creation to his name.

Since he created so many titles, the book only list his key works and characters. But even so, there are quite a lot ranging from his 4-panel strips to Black Jack and later on animation titles. It's interesting to find out that many characters he created actually cross over to other titles making cameo appearances, sometimes even including Osamu Tezuka himself. Many themes in his comics are from his philosophy and influences from life.

On the DVD, the documentary shows us how he works when camera men are allowed, for the first time, into his personal studio. There's a section showing him rushing for a publication deadline while chasing a flight overseas at the same time. He was drawing on the car, with his editor holding a watch, constantly informing him of the time left. There's a shot of his assistant smiling which I interpret it to be, "That's how he is all the time, drawing." He finished the rest of the pages on the plane and met the deadline by faxing them over.

Osamu Tezuka is really in love with his work, blurring the line between dedication and addiction. His last words when he died in 1989, at the age of 60, were, "I'm begging you, let me work."

This book is really well put together and comes with a great video documentary as well. It's recommended to all fans of Osamu Tezuka.

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The Art of Osamu Tezuka is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | JP | CN) and Book Depository

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1 Comment

Nice review, and good work

Nice review, and good work getting hold of the book before it's officially available on amazon! I was lucky enough to see this book (and its lovely author Helen McCarthy) in Atlanta about 2 weeks ago. I am looking forward to getting a copy myself. The extra-rare giveaway copy the Atlanta anime convention managed to procure ended up in the hands of Clarissa Graffeo, one of the three members of the "Anime World Order" podcast, who will hopefully review it soon!

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