Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Art of Osamu Tezuka

The Art of Osamu Tezuka by Helen McCarthy is an absolutely gorgeous comprehensive biography on one of the most creative minds of the 20th century. In addition to a time-line of Tezuka from his early family life, going through medical school, before finally deciding that he was going to create manga and anime for the rest of his life with photos and examples of his art throughout his career, The Art of Osamu Tezuka, also has a forty-five minute DVD that shows Tezuka at work. From this enclosed DVD, one gets a sense of how busy Tezuka was, how passionate he was about his art, how many people were reliant on his creations, basically what a giant Tezuka was to the comic / manga / anime artform.
Osamu Tezuka is mostly known in the United States as the creator of Astro Boy and Kimba The White Lion (which Disney's The Lion King was based on / swiped from). I couldn't even begin to enumerate all of the manga and anime creations that Tezuka produced, but amongst my favorites are BlackJack (the renegade doctor), MW, Apollo's Song, his Phoenix series, and his Buddha. I'm going to use an excerpt from Helen McCarthy's preface as it gives a better sense of what a huge creative force Tezuka was than any number of words I could string together:

"Tezuka was sometimes called the Walt Disney of Japan, but he was more like Walt Disney, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Tim Burton, Arthur C., Clarke, and Carl Sagan all rolled into one incredibly prolific creator."

Tezuka started creating manga and anime for young people, but he went on to create stories crossing all genres for people of all ages. The Art of Osamu Tezuka is an over-sized hardcover with 272 pages (many of them in full color), published by Abrams Comicarts, for only $40.00 (I realize that forty dollars isn't a small amount no matter how you slice it, but when one sees / reads / experiences this book, they'll understand that this book with a DVD could have easily been a lot more).

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