Sunday, May 8, 2011

Black Jack, Volume 1

Author: Osamu Tezuka
Softcover: 288 pages
Genre: medical manga, series
Publisher: Vertical, Inc. (2008)
Translation: Camellia Nieh
Rating: 5 of 5

From the back cover:

From the creator of Astro Boy and Kimba comes the epochal work that has been the God of Manga's most popular series among adult readers in Japan and most anticipated stateside release in recent years. Black Jack chronicles the travails of an enigmatic surgeon-for-hire who is more good than he pretends to be. 
My thoughts:
I judge the worth of a Hawaii public library by the young adult section, so when I visited the Kaimuki public library, I was impressed by their manga collection. Manga, even softcover ones, are very pricey, and this library had a large collection. This series caught my eye because of its distinctive black and grey cover in a market where many of the manga assault the readers in color. Volume one has a simple four square panel that opens up in the middle like one of those children's paper games, but inside the opening is a drawing of an open heart in surgery. It seems like every cover will have a close up of some surgical procedure.

The story is a Robin Hoodesque story of an unlicensed surgeon who will come in and do impossible surgeries for a huge cash reward. Others balk at his fees, but when faced with the impossible, everyone seeks him out. Despite his seeming greed, he does have a heart of gold.

Although it is fiction, Tezuka, who died in 1989, actually finished his medical training but decided to concentrate on manga instead. This series was originally written in the 1970s and it is only recently being released in America, but the medical storyline has a physician's realism to it which makes this appealing to adults, kind of like House in manga form.


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