Sunday, January 3, 2010

Top 10 Comics of 2009: # 8: Black Jack Book 3, hardcover

It's more than a bit disingenuous to cite a work done more than 30 years ago as the best of last year, but Vizion's reprint of this fine series is, to many of us Gaijin, new work.
This is the first time Osamu Tezuka's Black Jack has been reprinted in its entirety. I believe 24 volumes are planned, a worthy companion to Dark Horse's Astro Boy series from a few years back. The first three books are distinguished by having hardcover editions (long out of print, sorry) containing material not reprinted elsewhere in the series. Hence, the choice of book 3 as a best of- I think they're on Book 8 now. I'm a bit behind!

As the cover implies, this series deals with medicine. The title character is a rogue doctor who freelances without a license for exorbitant fees, and who sometimes declines a case if it conflicts with his own morality. His back story is a mystery, revealed in dribs and drabs. Reminds me of some of the things I like about HOUSE.
Black Jack is action driven, soulful, and gives answers that pose new questions.
Tezuka cited this as his best work and his favorite. While I prefer his Phoenix saga, this work is on the same level.
Tomorrow: #7, all love and power, Brother!

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