Osamu Tezuka

If you've spoken to me lately you'll know that I am getting totally obsessed with the Japanese "God of Manga", the late Osamu Tezuka, having just read the amazing 8 volume manga "Buddha"

Tezuka initially trained as a doctor but also drew his first professional manga at 17.

Thereafter his output was prolific and he is credited with, among other things, pioneering the famous huge manga eyes that we all know and love and his complete works span more than 700 manga books and over 80,000 pages.

He later went on to use his medical knowledge as the basis for one of his best known characters, Dr. Black Jack, a renegade surgeon of incredible skill

The artist of life with godlike scalpel skills. The surgeon who the era has yearned for

Black Jack is the type of surgeon that Tezuka would have been, unorthodox and pioneering but incredibly skilled. Endowed with excellent surgical technique, Black Jack always miraculously saves seriously ill patients and those on the verge of death. But he always claims an outrageous price for his surgery, which is why his presence is rejected in medical circles.

Among Black Jack's many medical accomplishments are full-body skin grafts, arm transplants, brain transplants, fingerprint transplants, grafting two people together to share one heart, extracting full-body parasites, operating at lightning speed, operating blind, operating in space, operating on a dozen patients at once, operating on dogs, cats, deer, bears, monkeys, birds, whales, aliens, ghosts, mummies, plants and computers, and removing a parasitic worm from his own intestines while under assault by a pack of wild dingos.

Most of his books contain a moral somewhere, and in a review of Volume 1 of the printed editions the g-line says this

The first volume of the series can be exemplified in the first story: a dissolute young man almost gets himself killed, and Black Jack is compelled to save his life. Unfortunately, the only way the young man can be saved is by transplanting his organs. The boy's rich father ordered a young tailor's life to be destroyed, and offers up the young fellow for the operation. Black Jack, disgusted by the duplicity, operates -- but switches the faces of the two, leaving the innocent man with the wastrel's face and setting him free. So Black Jack does in his own way play God, but only because everyone else appears to have absconded from the playing field.

The books are bloody hard to get hold of but I'm working on it, and I've just been given a link to some of the Black Jack videos that were made by the company that he set up, Mushi productions, which connoisseurs may know produced Kimba the lion, which was totally plagiarised by Disney for the Lion King.

If you're at work and the boss isn't in, check out some Tezuka right now. Maybe start with the story of Toriton or maybe even episodes 1&2.

Long live Tezuka!
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