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What Are You Reading?

Blood's a Rover

Blood's a Rover

Hello and welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where the Robot 6 crew talk about the comics and graphic novels that they’ve been enjoying lately. Our special guest this week is comics journalist and critic Dirk Deppey of Journalista and The Comics Journal fame.

To see what Dirk and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, read on …

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Straight for the art | OMAC meets Astro Boy

OMAC meets Astro Boy

OMAC meets Astro Boy

Artist Luis Chichón shows what OMAC might have looked liked if he was drawn by Osamu Tezuka. Via & via.

Your video of the day: Tezuka rave-up

The Shooting Star Project found this crazy animated video from the band Raver (circa 2008) featuring just about every Osamu Tezuka character around (though I didn’t see Lamp anywhere). (via)

Thin wallets, fat bookshelves: A publishing news round-up

Two quick items of note:

1) Lissa “Kuriousity” Pattillo has sussed out what Vertical’s next big Osamu Tezuka translation project is, following their ongoing release of Black Jack. Apparently it’s Ayako, a work I’m unfamiliar with, but intially came out in 1972 and is described in detail over at the Anime News Network:

Ayako

Ayako

Jiro Tenge, the second son of what used to be an influential Japanese family, returns home after being a POW in an American camp during the Second World War. He finds his family corrupted by the terrible social aftereffects of the war. His elder brother, determined to keep what remains of the family patrimony after the Government’s forced land reallocation, has prostituted his wife to his father to secure his blessing, while other members of Jiro’s family have been drawn into similar corruption, and he himself is being forced to spy for the Americans after being broken as a POW. Now the family’s youngest daughter Ayako will have to bear the brunt of the family’s sins.

Judging by the page count, it looks like this will be a done-in-one volume similar to MW rather than separated into different volumes. According to Amazon, the book will be out in October. (via)

2) Paul Hornschemeier is currently working on a new collection of short stories entitled Forlorn Funnies Vol. 1. The book will come out in the fall from Fantagraphics. Here he is describing some of the contents:

Our principal concern of this volume, “Obvious Amenities,” is Act One of the story of Edward Molson, salesman. After the untimely osprey-induced death of a co-worker, Molson is thrust into a cross-country speaking engagement, a chance to revisit youthful diversions, and a potential extra-marital love affair. But for now, he has to walk his wife’s dog. Again.

What Are You Reading?

Beasts of Burden #3

Beasts of Burden #3

Like the Sunday newspaper, it’s time once again for another round of What Are You Reading. Our guest this week is Ryan Sands, who can be found over at the Same Hat blog, recommending and even translating (Tokyo Zombie) some great, and occasionally bizarre manga (and I mean that in a good way).

To see what Ryan and the rest of us are reading this week, click on the link below. Then let us know what books you’re enjoying and want to recommend (or not) in the comments section.

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Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

Weekly Astro Boy Magazine

Weekly Astro Boy Magazine

Publishing | Tezuka Productions and D-Arc Inc. has launched Weekly Astro Boy Magazine, a service that delivers manga by Osamu Tezuka to iPhones and iPods in the United States. Announced last month, it’s the first English-language manga service for mobile devices.

If I’m reading the site correctly, the premier “edition” of Weekly Astro Boy Magazine offers the first volume of Astro Boy for free. Subsequent volumes of that title, and other Tezuka classics like Phoenix, Dororo, Black Jack and Buddha, cost 99 cents each, and are available in weekly installments. [Weekly Astro Boy Magazine]

Education | Ryan Sohmer and Lar deSouza, creators of the webcomic Least I Could Do, have established The Rayne Summers Webcomic Scholarship at The Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont. Named for the protagonist of their nearly seven-year-old comic, the scholarship will cover tuition for one student each year who is working toward a career in webcomics. [Least I Could Do, via The Daily Cartoonist]

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Comics College: Osamu Tezuka

Phoenix Vol. 4

Phoenix Vol. 4

Welcome to Comics College, a semi-monthly feature where we provide an introductory guide to some of the comics medium’s most important auteurs and offer our best educated suggestions on how to become familiar with their body of work.

Today we’re looking at one of the most influential and prolific and  cartoonists in the world, a man who’s body of work reportedly encompassed more then 150,000 drawn pages in just about every genre known to man. And that doesn’t even begin to mention his pioneering work in animation. I’m speaking, of course, about Osamu Tezuka.

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Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

Stuck in the Middle

Stuck in the Middle

Libraries | There is, of course, follow-up on the decision by the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to remove the anthology Stuck in the Middle: Seventeen Comics from an Unpleasant Age from middle-school libraries. Local CBS affiliate KELO reports on the reactions of parents and highlights some of the better-known challenged and banned books.

As we noted yesterday, teachers will still have access to the 2007 collection of stories about life as a teen-ager (by such contributors as Gabrielle Bell, Daniel Clowes, Joe Matt and Dash Shaw). That’s because, in the words of School Board President Kent Alberty, “There is value in the book. One of the subjects addressed is bullying, something the district is very interested in making sure is handled appropriately, and the book does address that.” [KELOLAND.com]

Publishing | Japan’s NHK television network reports that publishing giant Shueisha, a co-owner of Viz Media, plans to develop plans to sell manga via mobile phones in the United States beginning in spring 2010. [Anime News Network]

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Everyone’s A Critic: A round-up of comic book reviews and thinkpieces

Footnotes in Gaza

Footnotes in Gaza

Tom Spurgeon once again beats everyone to the punch with a review of Joe Sacco’s new book, Footnotes in Gaza: The first good news to report … is that the cartoonist is in top form throughout.” He also has good things to say about Prison Pit.

Christopher Allen offers 60 ways of looking at Watchmen.

• Critics critique critics — Robert Boyd reviews Bart Beaty’s Unpopular Culture: “This is a thought-provoking book, and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in comics-as-art.”

David Welsh gets schooled in college manga.

Rob Clough calls MK Reed’s new book, Cross Country “the most complex, ambitious and visually interesting of her comics.”

• Perhaps if I link to Sean Collins’ review of Refresh, Refresh, he’ll forgive me for accidentally (I swear) stealing the title of his review feature.

Nina Stone enjoyed the first issue of Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love: “All the pieces of the story just started to fit together perfectly.”

Grant Goggans declares The Art of Osamu Tezuka “very highly recommended.”

• Finally, Kristy Valenti looks at a 1999 graphic novel drawn by Mia Wolff and written by acclaimed sci-fi author Samuel Delany.

Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

The Pirate Bay

The Pirate Bay

Legal | A new study claim the shutdown two months ago of file-trading site The Pirate Bay by Swedish authorities “significantly, if temporarily, disrupted” the illegal trafficking of digital files worldwide. The emphasis is on temporarily. The white paper, released by anti-piracy company DtecNet, found the closing forced traffic to flood other BitTorrent trackers, “causing temporary secondary outages” for several days.

The study finds that BitTorrent traffic is soon expected to return to levels seen before the shutdown, with relatively new website OpenBitTorrent emerging as the successor to The Pirate Bay. [The Live Feed]

Sales charts | R. Crumb’s much-publicized adaptation of The Book of Genesis debuts at No. 8 on USA Today’s bestseller list. Meanwhile, the 46th volume of Masashi Kishimoto’s popular shonen series Naruto inches up three spaces to No. 136. [USA Today]

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Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Libraries | Two library employees in Nicholasville, Kentucky, were fired last month after they refused to allow an 11-year-old girl to check out The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which they dubbed pornographic. However, the policy of the Jessamine County Library states it’s the responsibility of parents to decide what’s appropriate for their child to read.

The fired employees, Beth Bovaire and Sharon Cook, stand behind their decision, asserting that the award-winning comic by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill contains lewd pictures that are inappropriate for children.

“If you give children pornography, a child, a 12 year old, can not understand and process the same way a 30 year old can,” Cook told a local television news station. [WTVQ, WTVQ]

Tokyo International Manga Library

Tokyo International Manga Library

Libraries | A private university in Tokyo hopes to promote the serious study of manga by opening a library stocked with 2 million comics, anime drawings, video games and other artifacts. If everything goes as planned, the Tokyo International Manga Library would open on the campus of Meiji University in 2015. [AFP]

Publishing | Even after the closing last year of Virgin Comics, upbeat profiles of the Indian comics industry continue to appear regularly. But here Gaurav Jain, head of the Mumbai-based Illusion Interactive Animation, offers a more dismal assessment of the scene in India: “While competition has arrived, the local industry continues to live in its shell, churning out visually unappealing and terribly written local content with little or no film and television possibilities. One of the most widely read labels offers sanitized, vanilla retellings of Indian mythology and historical figures with visuals inspired from the works of Raja Ravi Verma. Derivative art work and bland writing, leads to visual fatigue.” [The Wall Street Journal]

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Crime, punishment and Tezuka

From Tezuka's 'Crime and Punishment'

From Tezuka's 'Crime and Punishment'

The Kurkutta blog posted a few sample pages from one of Osamu Tezuka’s early works, namely his adaptation of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. The scans are from a long-out-of-print English version that Frederick Schodt translated back when nobody knew what shojo meant. Look at the way he sets mood in these simple panels (remember: read right to left). Even in his early days, he was testing the boundaries of the medium. (found via Matthew Brady)

You, too, can design a Black Jack cover

Black Jack template

Black Jack template

Vertical Press book designer Peter Mendelsund wants some help choosing the color scheme for the next volume of Osamu Tezuka’s Black Jack:

I am a simple man (I know) and choosing the colors for this design (of which I am proud) brings me great satisfaction every time. But… I thought it might be fun to open up this process to the readership in order to see if any of you have any radical ideas vis a vis color: what colors look good together, what colors pop, what colors ring your own peculiar bell etc. So dust off your color theory books or just fly by the seats of your collective pants. Anyone, as they say, can be a winner.

Go here and then here to read the rules and related information. Entries are due Sept. 9 and the winner gets a full set of the Black Jack series, which is a pretty awesome prize.

(Found via Drawn!)

Everyone’s A Critic: A round-up of comic reviews and thinkpieces

Asterios Polyp

Asterios Polyp

• Man, everyone and their Uncle Bob is reviewing David Mazzucchelli’s Asterios Polyp these days aren’t they? This week alone we’ve seen Brian Hibbs, Rob Clough, Douglas Wolk and the LA Times’ David Ulin.

Not wanting to be left out of the fun, I’ll probably have my own review of the book up this Friday.

• The Groovy Age of Horror’s Curt Purcell has been spending a lot of time talking about Blackest Night, and, given that he’s not a regular fan, he has some interesting things to say about the crossover event. Rather than link to all the separate posts, I’ll just say start here and work your way back.

Oh, and while you’re at it, read his new review of Gilbert Hernandez’s Speak of the Devil.

Johnny Bacardi likes Blackest Night quite a bit too.

• Speaking of the Hernandez brothers, are you confused about where to dive into their expansive magnum opus, Love and Rockets? The Onion’s AV Club is here to help. Continue Reading »

Dear Chris, please pick me up an Astro Boy cookie jar. Thanks.

Astro Boy and Kimba guard the Tezuka installation

Astro Boy and Kimba guard the Tezuka installation

Chris Butcher is once again touring the Land of the Rising Sun and sending back photos of his excursions. So far he’s bought manga about cats and stopped by the  Village Vanguard book store, but the real gold mine so far is his trip to the Tezuka World Installation. Man, I can think of at least five people who would love getting one of those Astro Boy coffee mugs for Christmas.


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