Black Jack, Volume 16
By Osamu Tezuka
(Vertical, Paperback, 9781935654018, 344pp.)
Publication Date: October 11, 2011
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Black Jack is a mysterious and charismatic genius surgeon who travels the world performing amazing and impossible medical feats. Through highly trained, he freelances without a license because he distains the medical establishment. This leads to run-ins with the authorities and unscrupulous, sometimes criminal, individuals. Because Black Jack keeps his true motives secret, his ethics are perceived as questionable and he is considered a selfish, uncaring devil.
Osamu Tezuka was born on November 3, 1928, in Osaka. He grew up in an open-minded family exposed to comics and Walt Disney. As a boy he also had a love for insects, which he would later as a grown-up incorporate into pen name. Having developed an intense understanding of the preciousness of life from his wartime experience, Osamu Tezuka aimed to become a physician and later earned his degree in medicine, but ultimately chose the profession he loved best: manga artist and animated film writer.
Tezuka's manga and animated films had a tremendous impact on the shaping of the psychology of Japan's postwar youth. His work changed the concept of Japanese comics, transforming it into an art form and incorporating a variety of new styles in creating the "story cartoon." Osamu Tezuka lived out his entire life tirelessly pursuing his efforts, passing away at the age of 60 on February 8, 1989.
In all, Tezuka produced more than 150,000 pages of graphic storytelling before his death. Posthumously Tezuka's work have won a number of awards in the U.S., including the 2009 Eisner Award given to his series Dororo.
“What makes Black Jack so great, in addition to Tezuka’s artwork and whirlwind narrative velocity (you can either breeze through these volumes or linger on the details), is his bottomless bag of stories. Tezuka effortlessly integrates scores of different surgical procedures into short, sharp tales that eviscerate the codified vicissitudes (especially reticence and duty) of Japanese society with, yes, surgical precision.” —Richard Gehr, The Village Voice
“Manga master Osamu Tezuka may be best known for Astro Boy, but this installment of Black Jack continues the adventures of a far superior character… With his shock of white hair and rock-star demeanour, Black Jack transfers well to the manga version of the operating room. The book is peppered with enough knowledge to hint at Tezuka’s fascination with the frailty of the human body. [I]t means he can avoid the clichés of most manga storylines.”—The Guardian (U.K.)
“Black Jack is a dramatic, nearly Byronic figure… With genre-spanning stories—horror, sci-fi, romance— and Tezuka’s signature blend of drama, bathos, and extreme broad comedy jammed together on every page, Black Jack is a wild but extravagantly entertaining ride that’s far more accessible than the author’s novel-length epics.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)