Writer and Artist: Osamu Tezuka
|via Jeffrey M Brackett|
Tezuka is the biggest name in manga, credited by many as the artist who brought the form to the Japanese mainstream. His most famous creation was Astro Boy, which ran from 1952-68. Religious historical fiction would seem an unusual choice for the medium but Tezuka's stunning artwork and masterful storytelling make it work.
Kapilavastu is mostly about characters other than Buddha. Siddharta is not even born until the latter half of Volume 1. The two characters who drive the narrative in the beginning are Chapra, a boy from the slave caste who aspires to a better life, and Tatta, a thief from the very lowest pariah caste who does not. Both are entirely fictional but help to establish the world of Ancient India and its social system. Also Tezuka-invented is the character Naradatta, a monk who is condemned for violating a newly emerging morality. The stage is set for a new spiritualism.
The tone is often different from what one would expect given the subject matter. At least in the early going, story is far more adventure tale than religious fable. But even within that context, Tezuka injects humor at odd moments: cameos for himself and Astro Boy characters as Chapra lies dying in his bed, for instance. Perhaps it is the writer's wink to the readers to let us know that Chapra won't die... yet.
The artwork is outstanding, particularly the landscapes. The very first panel is a breathtaking view of the Himalayas. With strong investment in character and a curiosity to see how the introduction of Buddha is developed, I can definitely see this series holding my long-term interest.
That sounds interesting and like something I would actually want to read.ReplyDelete
But I probably won't go buy it. Maybe, I'll glance around for it the next time I'm at a Magic thing.
It's well worth checking out.Delete
Sounds like an interesting read. Thanks for sharing about it.ReplyDelete
My pleasure, Kelly!Delete
That's an amazing idea. Taking a pivotal person from Middle Eastern history and telling it with a Japanese style. Fascinating.ReplyDelete
Well... more South and East Asian history than Middle Eastern but your broader point is well taken.Delete
Sound really interesting, I'll have to see where my daughter can get it. She brings all this manga stuff home all the time...or would we have to order it?ReplyDelete
We bought our copy at our favorite independent store in Montreal, Drawn & Quarterly. Barnes & Noble didn't have it. There's always Amazon. I hope you'll check it out.Delete