Osamu Tezuka is considered by many to be the greatest mangakas of all time. He can be ranked alongside Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Walt Disney as one of the most influential creators in the fields of comics and animation. It is only fitting that his most famous creation should return to print in a new omnibus edition.
Debuting in 1952, Astro Boy is the story of a robotic child in the future built by a genius roboticist to replace his dead son, but upon being cast away for being unable to age and express human aesthetics, the child ends up in a circus. Gaining the name Astro, he is eventually adopted by Ministry of Science head Professor Ochanomizu. A strong advocate of human and Robot coexistence, the professor treats Astro as one of his own and even creates a robotic family for him so he can experience family life. Astro must now balance his family life alongside taking on missions for the Ministry of Science to resolve human and robot conflicts, whilst trying to learn the complexities of being a human.
Widely seen to be the Japanese equivalent of Mickey Mouse, Astro Boy is regarded as a pop culture icon and this collection is a perfect way to find out why. Still relatively early into Tezuka’s career, you only have to take a peek to see that he was a master in the making of comic art and storytelling. The series has something for everyone and goes beyond being a modern version of Pinocchio. Presented in a left to right format, it is an ideal starting point for younger readers getting to manga. For those who are big fans of Tezuka, it is a must read. Commonly described as a moralist, Tezuka’s world views are in full display in Astro Boy as the struggle for peace between man and machine is ever present, and the pacifist Astro finds himself in situations where violence seems to be the only solution despite his reservations. Finally, for anyone who just wants straight up action adventure, what better place to look than one of the original shonen manga pioneers.
Astro Boy Omnibus Volume 1 (9781616558604 – p/b – 688pp – £14.99) is available from all good UK bookshops and online retailers on 15 October 2015.
Post by Leo Sutherland.