Osamu Tezuka, Vertical Inc.

Serious philosophy in graphic novels can be entertaining and fun! It is humorous and light-hearted yet serious and gripping in this eight-volume set of graphic novels by Osamu Tezuka. Tezuka is referred to as the father of manga, or Japanese comics. I am not into graphic novels but husband Raj loved manga, and these graphics novels/comics are beautifully done. They sit on our bookshelf and I read them over and over again. The books are a wonderful way to introduce the life of Buddha and his path to peace and meditation to young people who shrink from these ideas. The message and wisdom is timeless.

The novels take the reader from Buddha’s birth to his enlightenment and death. Fictional characters that spout contemporary statements add to the fun. They in no way diminish the serious issues of caste, war, poverty, and slavery. The characters are incredibly human and likeable. Women, though, are scantily clothed and many readers may feel that Tezuka is irreverent in his approach. If you can get past that initial reaction, you may be well rewarded.

As these are graphic novels/comics, the tone is not as respectful as religious books. We found this approach of making Buddha and all the other characters so human in every way rather appealing. If the Buddha could do this, there is hope for all of us! In comic form, the text has to be succinct and precise. We get the message in a few sentences, with the drawings often conveying more than words.

We found these beautifully bound novels (the spines line up to show the aging faces of Buddha through his lifetime) riveting and hope you enjoy them as well. This is a delightfully different way of coming to know the Buddha. You may find yourself reading these novels over and over again!

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