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The Blog of Gene Luen Yang - Astroboy Volume 3
Astroboy Volume 3 
I love love LOVE Japan's God of Manga Osamu Tezuka. I started reading his stuff as an adult and credit him for helping me get past my teenage anti-manga bias. (A friend and I used to argue American comics vs. Japanese comics, with me defending the good ol' U.S. of A.) His series Adolf is probably my all-time favorite, and Phoenix is a work of genius.

But, I must admit, some of his comics leave me cold. And that's to be expected, given that he is probably the most prolific cartoonist to ever cartoon on planet Earth. With literally hundreds of thousands of Tezuka pages in existence, SOMETHING'S bound to not work for any given reader.

Astroboy, arguably his most famous creation, happens to be one of those Tezuka comics that I can't get into. I think Astroboy's design is really cool (how can anyone not love a robot with machine guns that come out of his butt) and I tried so hard to like his comics... but I couldn't.

Except for Volume 3 of the Dark Horse Astroboy reprints, which I read last week!!! Mostly because it's three shades of awesome.

Volume 3 reprints the story "Greatest Robot On Earth" and it's as fun as comics get. Pluto, a giant robot with demon-like horns, tries to become the greatest robot on Earth by destroying the other top seven robots, one of whom is our hero Astroboy. What follows is sort of a robotic MMA tournament, with a discussion about the purpose of AI woven in for good measure. Supposedly, every kid in Japan knows this story. Manga master Naoki Urasawa has even retold it in his series Pluto.

If you're looking for a way to get into kid's manga, this might be your best bet.



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Administrator (Gene Yang) 
I agree, Grace! I don't know how well that Vertical stuff is selling, though. I try to get as many of the books as our family budget allows (which isn't all that much).

grace 
Agreed - with Tezuka's 600+ works, it's hard to like absolutely everything but this is where I think he's so brilliant and beloved worldwide because there's something for everyone. When I visited the Osamu Tezuka Museum in Osaka a few months ago, I was blown away about how much of him and his work I didn't know...and yes, there's an abundance of Astro Boy stuff on display -- maybe too much -- it's not my favorite title...but that Museum is a must if you're a fan. Personally, I love Ribon no kishi (Princess Knight) and hope Vertical (or Viz/Dark Horse/whoever) will get it licensed and translated for English language so others may enjoy this story.

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