They call him the godfather of manga, and the more of Osamu Tezuka’s work that Vertical puts out, the more you can understand why.
While this engaging character study is in progress, Tezuka uses Jack’s surgical skill to weave magical, self-contained chapters of medical drama. Jack conjures iatric wizardry, from ridding a man of a talking growth (complete with its own unpleasant personality), to transplanting new eyes into the sockets of a blind girl (and then solving the mystery of the ghost she keeps seeing). His particular speciality is in sewing the limbs of recently deceased donors onto amputees.
Tezuka’s art is typical of his style. His characters range from his most normal looking (think MW or Ode to Kirihito) through to the heavily caricatured and cute. There’s little of the exquisite location detail we’ve come to love, but urban hospital drama has little call for such scene setting.
Black Jack is an epic 17-volume series that draws heavily on Tezuka’s surgical knowledge – he trained as a doctor before embarking on his career as a manga maestro. Black Jack is a renegade doctor, practising without a licence and outside the remit of the healthcare industry. Despite this he has an unsurpassed reputation for curing the uncurable and fixing damaged humans that most doctors have written off. However, his prices are through the roof, earning him a reputation as a cold and callous capitalist, who’ll only operate on the rich or famous.