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Black Jack, Volume 1


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Osamu Tezuka (1928-89) is the godfather of Japanese manga comics. He originally intended to become a doctor and earned his degree before turning to what was then a medium for children. His many early masterpieces include the series known in the U.S. as Astro Boy. With his sweeping vision, deftly interwined plots, feel for the workings of power, and indefatigable commitment to human dignity, Tezuka elevated manga to an art form. The later Tezuka, who authored Buddha, often had in mind the mature readership that manga gained in the sixties and that had only grown ever since. The Kurosawa of Japanese pop culture, Osamu Tezuka is a twentieth century classic.


A mysterious, scarred surgeon charges outlandish fees for fantastic operations like body transplants, but he usually operates for free and also administers justice. Yet everything has a cost, psychic or financial, and both to patient and to doctor. Black Jack is no saint, and while he can deliver medical miracles, he cannot find peace himself. In Volume 4, Black Jack rehabilitates a beloved teacher gone on the skids, bullies a high school radio personality into silence to let her throat heal, and enlists residents of an apartment building to save the life of a militant who had tried to blow them up. Tezuka was known in Japan as the god of manga, and these quirky parables with twist endings show his mastery of cinematographic storytelling. Verdict This could be his manga most resonant for Americans, with health-care reform on everyone's wish list. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a superdoctor like him? Maybe. The series ran to 17 Japanese volumes and won a Kodansha Manga Award, and this edition was just nominated for an Eisner. Older teens and up.-M.C. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.


"Surely there's nothing in this series more continually striking than the artist's relentless, guaranteed depictions of surgery itself, happy rubber skin always peeled away to show realist meat and bone, minutely detailed organs mended or transplanted, then covered up again in the stuff of effortless napkin doodles... I found even the least of [these stories] fascinating examples of an artist casting his net especially far, secure in his talented hands and firm in his fame--ready to confront any malady, striving to cut away any harm, instrument tips sharp
for making flesh whole."
--Jog -The Blog

"'Iconic' doesn't begin to sum up Black Jack's importance in the world of manga... I see a lot of Tezuka fans reaching for their wallets--not just for this volume alone, but for the whole of Black Jack as it's finally being re-released in the English-language edition it has always deserved. It was, and will be, more than worth the wait. Platinum Award."
--Advanced Media Network "Totally fun, totally engrossing. Black Jack is a page-turner of the highest order, and I blew through 280+ pages and I'm hungry for more." "Great material--classic crazy Tezuka with a bloody medical heartbeat tuning out the sound of man's inhumanity to man."
--Newsrama "While Astro Boy is more iconic and Phoenix is more epic in scope, Black Jack is arguably Tezuka's best and most enjoyable work... [It] hits Tezuka's sweet spot where his heart, his head and his sense of humor
meet in perfect company." "To match the beautiful outside, Camellia Nieh did a fantastic job with the translation. The entire book was a fantastic read cover-to-cover that I refused to put down. Whether you're just getting into manga, or have been a fan for decades, it would be a shame not to
own this seminal title."
--Japanator "Black Jack is a dramatic, nearly Byronic figure... With genre-spanning stories--horror, sci-fi, romance--and Tezuka's signature blend of drama, bathos and extreme broad comedy jammed together on every page, Black Jack is a wild but extravagantly entertaining ride that's far more accessible than the author's novel-length epics."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review) "The stories are a unique mix of an Isaac Bashevis Singer morality tale, and outstanding creative medicine. Though Black Jack is aimed at a young audience, it has maturity not found in adult works. It's a piece of comic art that excels in form, and message."
--Ain't It Cool News "Vertical, Inc. has promised 17 volumes of Black Jack to be released every other month over the next three years. That seems like a bold commitment, until you start reading the stories... From sores that look like faces (and talk, too) to eyes that see ghosts, the busy doctors on 'E.R.' never had to deal with any of these unique patients. Osamu Tezuka's attention to detail on close-ups for surgeries and strange growths makes for some rubber-necking horror hard to turn away from. Black Jack is a 10."
--Comics Village "Black Jack was Tezuka at his best; moving beyond his comfort zone, away from licensable children's robot characters (for him) uncharted gekiga manga territory... You don't need a doctor's prescription and there's no complicated follow-up medication or painful physical therapy--just some serious entertainment from the pen of one of the world's masters of comics."
--Let's Anime

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