I am starting out my daily comic reading challenge on high note. I picked up Apollo’s Song by Osamu Tezuka over the weekend at my favorite used book store(Pulp Fiction Books) for cheap. Normally I don’t pick up manga, but I make exceptions for Tezuka and Tatsumi. I had already read most of his Buddha run and loved it and some of Ode to Kirihito that I need to revisit. Apollo’s Song was really incredible. I had heard good things, but really, it blew me away. There are so many issues that Tezuka is dealing with, within this one book. In one part, he is doing a Scifi epic that is commenting on the changes in Japanese society in 1970. It seems to follow a thread throughout hte book of unease with his surroundings, as seen through his protagonist eyes.
It follows the life of Shogo and his problems with love. the accompanying chapters all take a different look at love and the challenges it represents. He sends Shogo through a mental minefield, leaping him through time like its straight out of a Philip K. Dick book. Tezuka makes some really interesting commentaries of Japanese life within Shogo. The part that I found most interesting, was were his character is living the experience of a German soldier during the second world war, loading civilians onto trains to be taken away, and well, I don’t need to fill in the blanks for you. I have feeling that the use of Germans or Nazis was a way of making a comment on the Japanese military excesses during the war, without being direct. There is so much to be gleaned from this book on so many different levels. I really can’t recommend this enough. I find Tezuka so fascinating, because he can create such strong work, and still keep making lots of great comics and not slow down. I really feel like he doesn’t have a western contemporary that has the same level of timeless appeal. Kirby and Ditko are great, but in a certain way, they hold a kind of nostalgia that impresses on their importance and makes them hard to read as objects within themselves without relying on repuation.
My other book for today was Diamond Comics 3 published by Floating World Comic Store in Portland. This is probably the opposite of the Tezuka. This newspaper is definitly from Kramers School of comic making. I wish I could find more info on it, but they seem to only have stuff for the first 2 issues. I do really like the newspaper format of comics quite alot. Its fun, easy and feels almost disposable(but I am such a dork, that when I have enough, I am going to get them bound into a hardcover). This paper is worth it just for the Josh Simmons story, “Christmas Eve”. Its an fun little dream like piece and just like any of Josh’s work, it creeps you out at just the right moment. I also love the part by Nathan Fox, who seems to be the best guy at comic violence going right now. Bald Eagles, you need to step it up. Most of the other stuff is neat, but I feel like the cartoonists aren’t really fully realized yet and still have some more work to do to strengthen up on. You can find more info about it at Floating World’s Myspace page, if you still go to myspace. And I think you can buy this easily at Atomic Books.