Influential, artistically innovative and prodigiously productive, Osamu Tezuka is widely regarded as the "God of Manga." In his 40-year career, he created over 700 manga series, and drew over 150,000 pages. A mere fraction of his works have been published in English so far, but what is available shows a wide range of Tezuka-sensei's storytelling style.
This list provides a brief chronological overview of manga by Tezuka-sensei that has been published in English. From Buddha to Adolf, Metropolis to MW, these stories give comics fans a chance to discover the astonishing worlds created by this manga master.
Released by Dark Horse as part of a Tezuka sci-fi triology, Lost World refers to a rogue planet that enters Earth's orbit. When a band of adventurers take a space ship to explore this world, they discover it's populated with dinosaurs, and that their ship had a band of bandits as stowaways.
Bottom Line: Fun and fascinating, but mostly for die-hard Tezuka fans
In a world where humans and their robot slaves co-exist, a young girl searches for her parents, all the while unaware that she herself is an artificially-created being. Naturally, there are evil forces who are looking to capture and use her powers for destructive purposes. Metropolis was recently adapted into a feature length animated movie, with a slightly different ending.
Bottom Line: An interesting precursor to Astro Boy and interesting to compare with its animated adaptation, but Metropolis will likely seem a little dated for most contemporary readers.
NextWorld features some of the earliest appearances of two of his 'stars': Mr. Mustachio and boy reporter Rock, as the discovery of a mutant creatures sets off a worldwide race to find and control these strange beings.
Bottom Line: A kid-friendly mix of sci-fi and humor that can be a little hard to follow.
In Japan, Astro Boy almost needs no introduction. Astro Boy, or Atom, as he is called in Japan, is an atomic-powered robot boy created to replace Dr. Tenma's deceased son. When his father/creator casts him out, Astro finds allies and a new family who help him find his way, as he becomes a hero to humans and robots alike.
Bottom Line: Has lots of fun and adventure -- but if you only buy one, pick up the 2-volume introductory omnibus or Volume 3, which inspired Pluto.
Japanese Title: Ribon no Kishi
Japan Publication Dates: 1953 - 1968
US Publication Dates: 2011
In this rare title for girls from this manga master, Princess Knight features a princess who is raised as a boy, but as she grows older, she finds that her inner girl yearns to come out.
Bottom Line: Royal intrigue, romance, magic and adventure make this well worth reading, especially for shojo manga fans who will delight in reading the adventures of this daring young princess.
Japanese Title: Tsumi To Batsu
Publisher: Japan Times
Japan Publication Dates: 1953
US Publication Dates: 1990
Currently out of print
Instead of creating his own story, Tezuka adapted Fyodor Dostoevsky's classic, Crime and Punishment. Rascalnikov is a boy from a poor Russian family who murders an old woman who was a loan shark. Rascalnikov tries to avoid facing the consequences for his crime, but will his conscience prevail, or will a determined judge find him first?
Bottom Line: An early work by Tezuka where he delves into more mature themes, but this bilingual edition is very out of print and difficult to find. Strictly for the devoted Tezuka fan.
Part samurai drama, part shonen manga fantasy, Dororo follows the adventures of Hyakkimaru, a wandering warrior who was born without numerous vital organs and body parts due to his warlord father's deal with demons. Now Hyakkimaru must find and defeat these demons to regain his true body.
Bottom Line: An entertaining supernatural shonen manga adventure filled with monsters and action, Dororo has numerous examples of Tezuka's mastery of visual storytelling. It's downside is that it ends a bit abruptly at the end of Volume 3.
A time-traveling tale of birth, death, good, evil and redemption, Phoenix is a multi-volume epic that Tezuka considered to be his masterwork. The immortal firebird acts as witness to the lives of several beings who are born, live, die and are reborn again to redeem themselves or repeat their past mistakes once more.
Bottom Line: An astonishing series filled with jaw-dropping beauty, artistic innovation and thought-provoking storytelling. If you only get one, the must-buy is Volume 4: Karma.
Zephyrus is a mysterious seductress whose unparalleled beauty makes her the obession and the demise of many a man. That's just how this icy siren likes it, as she uses her charms to wreck revenge on men. Then she meets a young sailor who seems immune to her powers, and much to her horror, she falls in love with him.
Bottom Line: As one of the first of Tezuka's stories for grown-ups, Swallowing the Earth provides an interesting stylistic and thematic bridge beween the kids stuff of Astro Boy and sexual politics of Apollo's Song.
Sociopath Shogo is the product of a childhood without love, and his cruelty to animals and fellow humans earns him an eternity of damnation, as he's doomed to love and lose his love over and over again until the end of time.
Bottom Line: Definitely not a 'feel good' love story, Apollo's Song shows Tezuka's willingness to look at the dark side of the human psyche.