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Osamu Tezuka, God of Manga

Osamu Tezuka (1928-1989) is the focal point of the social, economic, and stylistic origins of anime and manga as we know them today. He produced nearly 150,000 pages of comics spread across 700 books and pioneered Japanese animation through his own studio. I recently gave a lecture about his life and works at the anime convention NashiCon in Columbia, South Carolina, and would like to share some important takeaways from his biography.

He made art all the time.

Tezuka was raised by a cinephile father and a theater-loving mother. He was regularly exposed to films, photography, and stage shows, especially the all-female Takarazuka Theater. He and his younger siblings would draw all the time to amuse each other, with several scribbled characters surviving into Tezuka’s adult works as inside jokes. At school Tezuka was bullied for his shrimpy build and wavy hair, which only drove him further into his art.

Tezuka’s parents supplied him with a fresh sketchpad every day to fill however he pleased. Tezuka would explore his neighborhood and catalog different bugs he found. He drew whenever he was sick in bed. His effort paid off when he was published as a newspaper cartoonist at the age of 17 with his humorous four-panel comic called Diary of Ma-Chan.

He thrived under pressure and rose to challenges.

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Graphic Novelists You Should Know: Manga Edition

Join me in a manga?

Manga.  At first it seemed like a visitor from another planet, alien and intimidating, but now the chibis, catgirls and exclamations of “dattebayo” are a part of everyday life. For the reader late to the manga party, however, standing in front of a wall covered in series with titles like “Neon Genesis Evangelion,” “xxxHolic” and “Afterschool Charisma” can be a disorienting, almost dizzying experience. That’s why The Hub exists, dear reader, to help you embrace new formats without fear!

Astute readers will note that we have written about manga before — take in our guide to some of manga genres and tropes for reference. This post will help the manga novice to follow Rule 1 of the Novice’s Guide to Enjoying Comics found in our post about the DC Reboot: “Find a good comic book creator.” Here, for your reading pleasure, are some of the giants of manga, people who consistently and frequently produce good work, and who are shoo-in recommendations to anyone who wants to break into the manga-verse. Are you ready? Ikimashou!

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