The Astro Boy Essays by Fred Schodt! MUST HAVE.

AND this perceptive piece in The San Francisco Guardian about the Tezuka exhibition which just opened, and his legacy.

Together, the exhibition and the book provide a detailed portrait of a man of unquestionable brilliance and stark contradictions. He was a humanist obsessed with machines, a trained scientist who warned of excessive reliance on technology. But most of all, perhaps, he was an idealist who nevertheless used his cute, friendly creations to depict a vaguely Hobbesian worldview — one that expects people to perpetually stumble into evil, even as they aspire to be good.

“Tezuka believed that humans are capable of transcending some of our most base instincts, but that we’re invariably pulled back by them, too,” says Schodt, who also served as the translator for the English-language version of the Astro Boy manga, as well as for Tezuka’s self-proclaimed lifework, “Phoenix” (“Hi no Tori”). “It’s a cyclical thing: His characters were evil people who were rehabilitated but then went back to being evil people again, or good people who did bad things but somehow got redeemed. That grand karmic cycle is a constant theme in his work; he didn’t believe that humans could ever be completely pure.”

Tezuka is not just a great cartoonist but a great writer and humanist whose philosophy can be studied in depth.

 Covers Full Edu Mother-1And there’s alsothis. Which is just funny, but does tend to detract from his greatness from time to time.

BTW, one way or another we’re going out west to see that Tezuka show!


  1. Tezuka didn’t do the Mother Teresa manga, but yes Astro Boy and his sister are in the first few pages. Actuallly as much as I like Astro Boy his appearance in the Mother Teresa manga actually is the only negative thing about this otherwise excellent manga (I think people who would like the Mother Teresa manga are put off by seeing Astro Boy on the cover).

    I wish I could make it to San Francisco to see the Tezuka exhibit.

  2. ‘Which is just funny, but does tend to detract from his greatness from time to time.’

    But I’m pretty sure it was made without his consent long after his death. Trust me, if Tezuka made a manga where Astro Boy teams up with Mother Teresa, it would SHATTER YOUR SOUL!

  3. Heidi, you’ll hate me for this one; even though I live in the Bay Area, I won’t be going to see this…because it’s the same exhibit as was on display in Melbourne that I saw when in Australia back in November. I’m very surprised the website is listing SF as an “Exclusive US venue” for the exhibit; would’ve figured another West Coast city or two and at least one East Coast, probably NYC.