Buddha by Osamu Tezuka (Vol. 1)
Fabulous. I don’t have words for how much I loved it. Especially as I put off reading this one for almost a year. And I put it off for the lamest reason imaginable. See, back in the dark ages when I was in primary school one of my scripture teachers gave us all these Jesus comic books to read. They told the story of Jesus, and, well, there is no gentle way to put this: they sucked. The art was unspeakably bad. They were horribly written in a strange ESL English and they were indescribably boring. Seriously they were the worst comic books of all time.
When I was given Buddha, I had a flash back to those bad vile Jesus comic books, and even though the book in my hands had gorgeous artwork, it was still a comic book version of the life of a religious figure, and, I confess, that my heart was filled with dread.
Buddha is funny, action-packed, moving, the art is gorgeous and Tatta is my new hero. Go forth and read this! I’m convinced that Tezuka can do no wrong.
Dragon Dog by Mick Takeuchi (Vols. 1-3)
I don’t want to tell you too much about this. I read it knowing nothing beforehand and it was full of delightful surprises. Kind of a sweet, wry version of Buffy only without vampires.
One of the things I really enjoyed about it and also Nana and Buddha too, now that I think about it, are all the cool, wry, witty authorial asides.
I suspect that I’ve just made a fool of myself in front of the hard-core manga lovers, haven’t I? That’s like a sign of it being manga, isn’t it? Are there any books about the history and development of manga I should be reading? Please to tell. I want to know more!
Monster by Naoki Urasawa (Vols. 1-7)
Wow. Seriously wow. This one seemed to this ignorant reader to owe a lot to Ode to Kirihito. Another doctor hero, lots of surgery scenes, also completely unputdownable. I can’t tell you what agonies I’m in waiting to get my hands on the next few volumes. It hits so many of my buttons, but I can’t say which without major spoilers.
I’d be really happy to discuss all of these in more detail in the comments thread. Just please please please don’t mention anything beyond the volumes I’ve read. And, um, I guess that constitutes a spoiler warning for the comments.
Here’s my big complaint about manga: it’s almost impossible to get hold of the volumes I want. I’ve tried every book shop in NYC trying to get hold of Her Majesty’s Dog vols 4, 5 & 6. And don’t get me started about Buddha. Is there a volume 2, 3, 4 or 5 available on the face of the earth? No, there is not. Lots of 9 and 10s though! Aaaarggghhh!!!!!!!! It drives me completely spare. I need them now. I do not wish to wait. Even stupid Amazon won’t give me more Her Majesty’s. I kick Amazon. I kick NYC book shops. I want more Buddha. And I want it NOW!!!
In short: Manga = good. Not being able to find the vols you want = bad.