Thursday, October 30, 2008

Manga legend's work set for reprint

The original version of a classic manga comic written by Osamu Tezuka (1928-1989), will be reprinted for the first time in 62 years in February 2009 by Shogakukan Creative Inc., The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

"Shin Takarajima" (New Treasure Island) is an action adventure drama that was first printed by a small publisher in Osaka in January 1947. The manga marked the first time that Tezuka's works were published as an independent volume.

Existing copies of the original comic are extremely scarce, so most fans have so far been unable to read it. The reprint will commemorate the original publication and coincide with the 80th anniversary of the birth of Tezuka, known as the "god of Manga," sources said.

The famed manga artist is often credited with ushering in a cinematic approach to manga, using a combination of framing, sequences and juxtaposition to convey a feeling of speed in conjunction with a fast-paced storyline. "Shin Takarajima" was a best seller at the time, with about 400,000 copies flying off the shelves.

Tezuka's comics pioneered the postwar manga industry and shot him to fame. His other famous creations include "Astro Boy" and "Black Jack."

"Shin Takarajima" was said to have greatly influenced many other young manga artists of the time, including Shotaro Ishinomori, Fujio Fujiko and Reiji Matsumoto, which lead to the phrase "Shin Takarajima shock."

However, the sources said there was some dissatisfaction over the original edition in which the pictures and storylines were rendered by Shichima Sakai, leading to modifications in "The Complete Works of Tezuka Osamu," completed in 1984.

Meanwhile, due to the small number of copies of the original manga, which can fetch as much as 5 million yen on the used-book market, manga researchers and fans have been unable to get hold of the comic.

Shogakukan Creative took three years to negotiate with Tezuka Productions Co., which holds the copyright to Tezuka's works, before an agreement was reached on reprinting the first edition, the sources added.

The reprinted manga will contain 192 pages and is expected to cost a few thousand yen.

(Oct. 29, 2008)

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