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Black Jack, Vol. 1 Paperback – September 23, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“Surely there’s nothing in this series more continually striking than the artist’s relentless, guaranteed depictions of surgery itself, happy rubber skin always peeled away to show realist meat and bone, minutely detailed organs mended or transplanted, then covered up again in the stuff of effortless napkin doodles… I found even the least of [these stories] fascinating examples of an artist casting his net especially far, secure in his talented hands and firm in his fame—ready to confront any malady, striving to cut away any harm, instrument tips sharp
for making flesh whole.”
—Jog –The Blog
“‘Iconic’ doesn't begin to sum up Black Jack's importance in the world of manga… I see a lot of Tezuka fans reaching for their wallets—not just for this volume alone, but for the whole of Black Jack as it's finally being re-released in the English-language edition it has always deserved. It was, and will be, more than worth the wait. Platinum Award.”
—Advanced Media Network
“Totally fun, totally engrossing. Black Jack is a page-turner of the highest order, and I blew through 280+ pages and I'm hungry for more.”
“Great material—classic crazy Tezuka with a bloody medical heartbeat tuning out the sound of man's inhumanity to man.”
“While Astro Boy is more iconic and Phoenix is more epic in scope, Black Jack is arguably Tezuka’s best and most enjoyable work… [It] hits Tezuka's sweet spot where his heart, his head and his sense of humor
meet in perfect company.”
“To match the beautiful outside, Camellia Nieh did a fantastic job with the translation. The entire book was a fantastic read cover-to-cover that I refused to put down. Whether you're just getting into manga, or have been a fan for decades, it would be a shame not to
own this seminal title.”
“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)
“The stories are a unique mix of an Isaac Bashevis Singer morality tale, and outstanding creative medicine. Though Black Jack is aimed at a young audience, it has maturity not found in adult works. It's a piece of comic art that excels in form, and message.”
—Ain’t It Cool News
“Vertical, Inc. has promised 17 volumes of Black Jack to be released every other month over the next three years. That seems like a bold commitment, until you start reading the stories… From sores that look like faces (and talk, too) to eyes that see ghosts, the busy doctors on ‘E.R.’ never had to deal with any of these unique patients. Osamu Tezuka’s attention to detail on close-ups for surgeries and strange growths makes for some rubber-necking horror hard to turn away from. Black Jack is a 10.”
“Black Jack was Tezuka at his best; moving beyond his comfort zone, away from licensable children’s robot characters (for him) uncharted gekiga manga territory… You don’t need a doctor’s prescription and there’s no complicated follow-up medication or painful physical therapy—just some serious entertainment from the pen of one of the world’s masters of comics.”
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Top Customer Reviews
Each story manages to set up a situation where a super surgeon is necessary. However, due to Tezuka's fine writing skills, there is a humanist element to each tale, that is often melancholy. Black Jack makes other's happy, but he is rarely happy himself. He cannot taste the forbidden fruit that is peace of mind. Life, death, failure, lost love, childhood and age, these are all the themes presented here. Each story is some sort of morality tale, so the logistics behind the melodrama are not as important.
Tezuka's cartoony style can be off-putting to those who are used to more refined Japanese manga artists, but it soon flows into the story and is admired rather than questioned. Those already familiar with Tezuka will find the art here as fine as anything done by the "God of Manga."
All in all, a really excellent comic. Give it a chance, and you won't be disappointed.
This edition of Black Jack has a total of 17 paperback volumes, containing about 12 stories each. It is based on the Japanese 17 volume Akita bunkouban edition.
Wait, paperback? so what are those expensive hardback versions?
Vertical also published special limited hardback editions of books 1 to 3 in the series. They are limited to 1500 (vol.1) and 1200 (vol.2 & 3) copies and distributed through Diamond to brick and mortar comic-book stores.
The difference is not only in the cover, they include three additional stories (one in each) NOT included in the Japanese edition on which the Vertical paperbacks are based. These three stories will not appear in the softcover books. More on this later.
Is this The Complete Osamu Tezuka's Black Jack, then?
Well, no. Even if you buy all the three hardcovers, the answer is still no. No book edition, including all the Japanese editions so far, includes all Black Jack stories as originally serialized in magazines. Also, not all the book editions omit exactly the same stories. It is a bit messy, actually. More on this later.
Why were some stories excluded from the books?
In many cases, criticism or controversy about the medical conditions depicted. Some of the stories missing from the books deal with lobotomies, for instance. Or are inaccurate. Or relatives of patients with the disease depicted in a story would complain. Tezuka was very sensitive to all this criticism. In other cases he simply thought the stories weren't good enough to be reprinted in book form.
So, how *complete* is this?
Very, actually, one of the more complete there is. There are a total of 243 issues of Black Jack.Read more ›
update: 9/16/2010 - fans of BJ are in luck. Vertical has published the entire BJ in 12+ volumes. Thank you.
To sum it up. Black Jack is for anyone who enjoys a good intelligent story. There is also a good spattering of comedy, (You see Astro Boy hidden in the odd corner, or running out of buildings occasionally!) and raw human emotion. The manga is rendered in Osamu Tezuka's typical loose style, but the characters have a feel of their own.
An absolutely fantasic read.
The book contains eight one-shot stories, and have no linkage to each other. Probably the most significant chapter is the one that tells the origin of Black Jack's "daughter" Pinoco, since she makes appearances in a few subsequent stories. Another significant chapter is the "origin" of B.J. himself, which tells the story of what inspired him to become a healer, and introduced (and sadly, also bade farewell to) his mentor. But quite possibly the most unusual moment is our hero's reunion with a lost love-an interesting take on the popular manga & anime formula of gender-switching. There's quite a few other offbeat moments inside this tome, which you'll have to read for yourself...
Quite a few of the secondary characters depicted in Tezuka's renderings are reminiscent of early Warner Brothers and Hanna-Barbera cartoon shorts, with a little bit of the "Speed Racer" look thrown in for good measure. For someone who's considered the originator of the modern anime and manga genre, I guess it was only natural that Tezuka had to draw his inspiration from somewhere.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an amazing series, serious yet interesting and entertaining. The art is great and the main character, Black Jack, is very intriguing and mysterious. Enjoy!Published 7 months ago by Reader & Runner Man
Where does one even begin with Black Jack? First of all this is a manga by Osamu Tezuka so you can bet your last dollar it's bizarre. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Mary
My boyfriend and I are fans of the Black Jack series and he's been trying to collect the mangas over time so since he doesn't have the first one to the series, I thought this would... Read morePublished on January 7, 2014 by Bianca
I now know why Tezuka is considered the godfather of manga. As I become more acquainted with his work I find myself actually falling in love with manga for the first time. Read morePublished on December 23, 2013 by Scott H Berwanger
My biggest problem with the Astro Boy comics sold in the U.S. was that the art was mirrored, and I felt kind of betrayed by that. Read morePublished on September 15, 2012 by WILHELM
This is my first Tezuka series and I'm really enjoying reading through these volumes (I'm on vol. 3 as of this review). Read morePublished on September 27, 2011 by Amazon Customer
I had a series of Black Jack books when I was under 12 (almost 30 years before). Even I don't remember all the details, I still remember how much I love the characters of this... Read morePublished on August 31, 2011 by Jessica Chen
Osamu Tezuka is known as the "God of Manga" in Japan. He single-handedly made Manga respectable after WWII and pioneered the use of cinematic techniques. Read morePublished on July 22, 2011 by Paige Turner