Thursday, February 26, 2009

Graphic Lit: Black Jack

How phenomenal is the mysterious, rogue surgeon known as Black Jack?

He can perform arm transplants! Heart transplants! Even brain transplants!

He’s a whiz at cosmetic surgery, capable of turning the most ugly mug in the world into a Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie look-alike.

He can even operate on himself! In the middle of the Australian outback! While fending off wild dingoes!

I’ve written about creator Osamu Tezuka at length before. Suffice it to say he remains one of the most significant cartoonists ever, having almost single-handedly birthed the manga industry since coming to the fore in 1947 (he passed away in 1989).

And “Black Jack” is one of his most famous creations, at least in his home country of Japan.

Now Vertical, a small-press imprint that has made a habit of translating Tezuka’s works for U.S. audiences, is serializing in what will eventually be a 17-volume collection of these medical tales. The first three volumes are in stores now.

Written for young audiences, the series combines high melodrama (the main character has a thing for wearing long, black capes) with an eye for medical detail (Tezuka trained to be a doctor).

As a result, the squeamish might have trouble with the manga as organs, bones and blood are plentiful and drawn as realistically as possible (in sharp contrast to the series’ more cartoony, slapstick style).

Often, “Black Jack” takes a turn toward the bizarre or downright implausible: That story about Black Jack’s sidekick, a baby-faced, lisping cutie named Pinoko.

She looks 5, but she’s actually 18, as she lived for several years in the body of her twin sister as an amniotic sac of organs before Black Jack built her a synthetic body. Oh, and she thinks of herself as Black Jack’s wife.

I cherish that sort of inspired lunacy from Tezuka. But I think ultimately what makes the manga work is its ongoing themes of humanism, sacrifice and the cruelty we constantly inflict on ourselves.

As a surgeon, Black Jack might be superhuman, but ultimately his adventures tell us a lot about our own frailty.

Copyright The Patriot-News, 2009

Labels: , ,


At 12:58 PM, Blogger Hooligans Comics said...

Hello my name is Marcianno Kane from Hooligans Comics and Id like to submit my first title FARO, for your review and consideration

FARO is the story of a rogue guardian angel captured seduced and brainwashed by a seductive demon goddess after being sent back in time by a brilliant scientist who destroys the world

I aiming FARO at comic readers not collectors as since I was a kid I was never interested in gimmicks or filler

I feel every issue of FARO should be important whether its issue 4 or 100 and I hope to simply tell a better time travel story with real consequences based on real historical figures mixed by espionage and the supernatural

Right now FARO 1 is on sale in print and PDF and will be quarterly with the issue 2 released this Spring and issue 3 this summer, eventually getting to bi monthly

We also have an original horror graphic novel VESSEL, which is already receiving interest from film developers

Samples and previews are available on our site or our myspace page

FARO 1 is being sold by Comixpress and the links are available on our site

We are also expanding and reaching out to other distributors in order to be released on a global scale

I can send you a PDF of FARO 1 via if you're interested

I look forward to hearing from you

Marcianno Kane

At 6:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


At 7:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post as for me. I'd like to read something more concerning this matter.
By the way check the design I've made myself London escorts

At 2:16 AM, Blogger aa said...


At 12:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...



At 1:14 PM, Blogger Laura said...

Cool story you place here.
It will be great to read anything more concerning this topic.
Thx you for giving that information.
With best regards Laura!
Kiev escort service

At 2:55 AM, Anonymous kamagra said...

Hi there, nice information provided. thanks for that. keep posting of blogs in the future. thanks once again..

At 3:32 AM, Anonymous Lovegra Online said...

Wow there is a nice informatiom provided.Keep it up.Lovegra Online

At 9:34 AM, Anonymous 4rx said...

I hope that the book doesn't fall into cliché after another. because that kind of topic is quite popular for that kind of clichés.

At 9:00 AM, Anonymous buy youtube views said...

I just started posting comments for blog and facing problem of lots of rejections. I think your suggestion would be helpful for me. I will let you know if its work for me too. Thanks for sharing.

At 4:43 AM, Anonymous Buy Vine Trial said...

Thanks for sharing,Very informative article.Really looking forward to read more. Buy Vine Trial

At 12:13 AM, Anonymous website designing company said...

Thanks so very much for taking your time to create this very useful and informative site. I have learned a lot from your site. Thanks!!


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home