One of my New Year’s resolutions is to actually update this blog on a regular basis, so now that I’ve returned from a brief getaway, let’s actually try to stick to that plan!
Though I’m a veteran of the comic book world, I’m fairly new to the manga world – all of two years. I started how I would think many new readers would: I asked my friends what they recommended. There were some definite winners and absolute losers, and several series I found that enjoyed more as anime, and even some anime I MUCH prefer as a manga. While I do enjoy the ones I have discovered with help from my friends, there is one I have found that I am absolutely in love with: Osamu Tezuka’s Black Jack.
So, who is Black Jack? Good question. May I first present this:
That’s pretty much the gist of it. The 17 book series (published by Vertical) features someone getting hurt or approaching Dr. Black Jack or even the Doc finding patients on his own and Black Jack doing his best to save them… or not. Seriously. He is an unlicensed surgeon who can perform any surgery – for a price, typically monetary. The series was created by Osamu Tezuka to a more adult series, compared to some of his more all-ages work, like Astro Boy.
Having read nearly every published story (I’m missing a book. It’s massively frustrating.), I can say that the series is easily my favorite manga and just as easily in my favorite comics, too. The stories are sometimes very light and often pretty dark, but they leave me smiling, saddened, laughing, thinking – always feeling.
So, if I go on about the good stuff, I know I should mention the bad stuff. In the first volume, Black Jack gets an assistant – Pinoko. There’s a bit of a back story, which is very well done, but I’m going to skip it for the sake of getting to the point: Pinoko is really, really annoying. Black Jack claims she is his daughter, but Pinoko claims she’s Black Jack’s wife – don’t worry, it doesn’t get weird. She’s in many stories, which is fine, but she is a typical little girl with a written speech impediment. She has a lisp, so “see ya, Sally” is written in the books as “shee ya, Shally.”She also pronounces the letter “r” softly, a la Elmer Fudd. She can be a little obnoxious sometimes in the books, but I understand that she’s downright god-awful in the anime. I’m a dubber rather than a subber (sorry not sorry) and I can’t find the episodes, so rather than experience the negative firsthand, I’d rather stay in love.
And I’m very much in love with this series.
I hope you’ll give it a try. Whether you read it online for free or buy an e-book or a physical copy, I really hope that you dig it as much as I do.
I look forward to writing again soon. Definitely not waiting six months again. I’ll try to alternate between new material and old material. Please feel free to ask questions, leave comments, or just say hi!
(all pictures taken by me)