Wednesday, October 31, 2007



Yes, you read that right!
According to a PW article, what many consider Osamu Tezuka's finest work has been licensed by Vertical, and they are planning to begin releasing it in Fall 2008. While I've geeked to know we get MW and Dororo, Black Jack has been on the top of my wish list for many, many years. (News via MangaCast)

Previously, Viz had attempted to publish Black Jack, but only released two volumes before discontinuing the series due to licensing conflicts with Tezuka Productions and poor sales (According to Viz folks at this summer's Tezuka Panel in SF). The books are very out-of-print and a bit of a pain to track down:

Of course, the market for manga has changed and Vertical's shown that if you package Tezuka's classic manga as luxury editions, they can sell and turn a profit. I've read various Black Jack collections here and there in Japanese, but having a release by Vertical (with Chip Kidd-ified covers a la Buddha) is a dream come true.

In the meantime, you can check out descriptions of all the Black Jack stories over at this Tezuka World page. They also have included references and guest appearances from other Tezuka manga. A few favorites:

Amidst Fire and Ashes - March 24, 1975
The president of a big company and his son argue over the management of their company. The President wants his son to succeed him, but the son rejects his offer and even threatens to ruin the company. The son falls into the crater of a volcano, and is badly burned. Discovering that he was pushed by his father, Black Jack performs an operation to treat the entangled relationship between them, while all the while the volcano continues to erupt violently.


Wildcat Boy - March 13, 1978
Black Jack visits a clinic in the mountains at the request of a French doctor named Truffaut. There he finds a micro cephalic boy who was raised by a wildcat. His flattened parietal apparently indicates that his head had been sandwiched by objects soon after his birth. If he were to be left untreated, he would not live long. BJ performs an orthopedic operation on his skull and starts to train him to behave like a human. But...

And as far as Black Jack stories go, that's seriously just the tip of the iceberg...

(Click picture above for more Black Jack cosplayers!)

According the the article, the 25 volume series will be printed in wideban format (Vertical estimates their complete English edition will run 12 volumes). Like other Tezuka releases, it's assumed that the pages will be flipped for the English edition.


Cal said...

Black Jack is the only manga I've gone out of my way to purchase in the original Japanese. I'm really psyched about the new books, the Viz collections are a treasured part of my collection.

The most badass Tezuka character ever? HERE'S THE EVIDENCE:

1. He's been known to comment on the human condition at the most
appropriately badass time with a pithy, often wry remark.
2. He once did surgery on HIMSELF in the Australian outback with a
pack of wild dingoes in hot pursuit.
3. He survived his entire childhood with a scalpel stabbing his pancreas.
4. He's a loose cannon, who plays by his own rules! Plus he's a
medical professional.
5. He wears a cape and looks a little bit like Dracula.

And damn you Ryan, I was literally just about to send this news to you but noooo, I decided to hit "refresh" on my browser!

Anonymous said...

Oh shiiiiit. Did we make this happen just by WISHING?

I think we did!

bittermelon said...

omg omg omg omg omg i just shat my pants. vertical is just scoring jackpot after jackpot.

Ryan S said...

Cal: All your proofs ring true to me. You forgot to add:

6. He removed a tumor that turned out to be a foetus in foeto, and then reassembled the organ stew into a small child/person!

I actually recently bought used copies of the Viz collections, just to be sure I had my own copy to refer back to...

Black Jack is the coolest creation by the coolest creator. HANDS DOWN

Ryan S said...

Solak: All those tantric tezuka prayers paid off! Can you clear off a space on our book shelves for the 12 hard copy volumes?

It's like HARRY POTTER x12. YES!

Ryan S said...

bittermelon: Dude, Vertical is out of control. I wonder if at the AAM panel on Tezuka the Viz guys already knew that the other V had hit the muthalode?

Anonymous said...

I´m happy to see Tezuka´s most important works are being published in English. BJ was published a few years ago in Spain by Glénat, but they only got to Vol. 2. Now Glenát has given it a second chance, it will be published in 17 volumes. Still, we are far from the french catalogue. Go into de french amazon web, type osamu tezuka and cry...

By the way, you have a wonderful site, long live to the eroguro and Kazuo Umezu über alles!!!

Anonymous said...

The Black Jack pages were definitely the most awesome thing at the Tezuka exhibit, so I'll be checking this out. And by "checking this out," I mean, "borrowing your copies.