July 10, 2013 6:50pm PT by Graeme McMillan
'Astro Boy' Creator's Complete Works Coming to U.S. for First Time
Good news for fans of classic manga, or even just those with a fondness for Astro Boy: Californian publisher Digital Manga Inc. has announced that it has acquired the U.S. rights for the entire catalog of Osamu Tezuka's work, and plans to bring everything into circulation for American audiences.
Tezuka is likely best known in the U.S. as the creator of Astro Boy (or Tetsuwan Atomu to give the series its original title, which translates to "Iron-Armed Atom"), but his accomplishments go far beyond that. With an output estimated to be somewhere in the realm of 150,000 pages of comics spread across more than 700 manga volumes, his other creations include pre-WWII-era political drama Message to Adolf; Buddha, a memoir of Gautama Buddha; and the epic, unfinished Phoenix, a series about reincarnation that spans the length of human existence from the distant past to the far future.
Additionally, Tezuka headed-up Mushi Production, an animation company credited with pioneering television animation in Japan (Alongside original series like Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion and Princess Knight, Mushi also animated Frosty the Snowman for Rankin Bass; yes, you've likely seen some of Tezuka's work without even knowing it).
Digital Manga confirmed its new deal with Japan's Tezuka Productions to Anime News Network last week. According to ANN, the publisher plans to release Tezuka's entire back catalog digitally, with select titles receiving print editions via Kickstarter campaigns.
Titles that already have print editions in the U.S. -- Black Jack, Message to Adolf, Buddha and other series -- will remain with their current publishers for print editions, but Digital Manga will retain digital rights.
Sadly, no launch details have been released yet, but when they are, fill up your Kindles and iPads, people. This isn't just good stuff, it's some of the best stuff.