by Osamu Tezuka. Translated by Camellia Nieh. Vertical, publisher. $16.95.
I'm on record that Tezuka gives me nightmares, Black Jack in particular. What a pleasure it is to see a new and more thorough English edition of this jaw-dropping serial masterwork.
Black Jack is a long string of short, self-contained medical thrillers about a dashingly Byronic outlaw surgeon, with the requisite mysterious past and a slashing stitch-mark scar from brow to left cheek:
The Black Jack series, reported to be Tezuka's most popular among adult readers in Japan, perfectly distills what I've come to expect from him: a volatile, superheated mashup of melodrama, moral fable, philosophical problem-posing, and jouncing, unexpected humor; a rough mix of chain-jerking sentimentality, lancing cruelty, jolting plot twists, occasional raw horror, and broad, broad cartooning.