Sunday, March 10, 2019

A biography of Osamu Tezuka

Brad Hawley, The Osamu Tezuka Story: A Must-Read for Manga Fans, Fantasy Literature, March 9, 2019. A review of:
The Osamu Tezuka Story: A Life in Manga and Anime by Toshio Ban and Tezuka Productions and translated into English by Frederik L. Schodt. Stone Bridge Press, 2016.
Tezuka was a workaholic:
He was such a workaholic that he rarely left his office, where he often slept and usually ate his meals. Towards the end of his life, he even had multiple desks set up in his office with different ongoing projects on each desk: He would move from desk to desk throughout the day keeping multiple projects going simultaneously, often sleeping as little as three hours a night. He lived 60 years, and in this time period, his complete works became the largest publication of a single author’s output of all time.
And was known as "the god of manga":
Tezuka is Walt Disney, Stan Lee, Will Eisner, and Alan Moore rolled into one plus more. He artistically had impact greater than even what they accomplished all together. Like Walt Disney, Tezuka created loveable characters and cutting-edge animated films and T.V. shows that were for all-ages. Like Stan Lee, he created a universe of characters for all ages, many of them aimed at young men. Like Will Eisner, he paved the way for what sequential art could do and be, and like Eisner, he wrote intelligently about the art form. Like Alan Moore, but unlike Stan Lee and Walt Disney, Tezuka was far more mature, experimental, intellectual, and philosophical in many of his works, much of them coming from later in his life. When Tezuka is referred to as the “God of Manga” in Japan, they are calling him the God of animation and sequential art worldwide. And it is a fact that there is no other single creator of sequential art and animation worldwide who has had a bigger impact than he has. When people talk about the influence of anime on art and culture in the United States, they are talking about Tezuka’s influence. And that’s just a small example of his impact, years after he died.

I hope I have emphasized enough how important to the world Tezuka is as an artist, and therefore, how much a biography worthy of him is needed. The Osamu Tezuka Story is that biography, and most appropriately, it is told in manga format by a man who worked with Tezuka for many years. Therefore, the style is very much in the Tezuka tradition. Toshio Ban has captured visually the fast-paced life of an artist, an artist who was followed around by editors waiting for their pages. In his younger years, Tezuka would hide out in different hotels trying to get work done without interruption from the many editors waiting for work from him, but he took on so many assignments, he could barely keep up with his deadlines. This biography captures the frantic life of a young artist who matured without giving up on his commitments right up until the end of his life, when he left multiple works incomplete, most sadly his life-long work The Phoenix, though multiple stand-alone volumes of this series were completed.

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