I like that headline, but it’s not really accurate.
When I heard that The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga had been nominated for an Eisner Award by the Comic-Con International judges, I was, as you’d expect, thrilled, delighted, and honoured. I was also aware that the real Eisner nominee is the book, and the team behind it. I worked with gifted, generous people to create something remarkable.
Of course, so did all the other nominees. It takes serious talent in every area to make a book that impresses judges like this year’s Eisner team. The writer is only part of the package.
Given that there are four other amazing books on the list (including Eric P. Nash’s Manga Kamishibai: The Art of Japanese Paper Theater) I have only a one in five chance of making the traditional acceptance speech and thanking everyone who helped to make the book happen. So I’d like to say a few thank-yous now:
To commissioning editor Tim Pilcher, no slouch as a writer himself, who championed the book onto Ilex’s list;
To the team at Tezuka Production, whose unfailing support made the book and attached DVD possible and whose expertise made it much more accurate and valuable;
To Nick Jones and his editorial and design team at Ilex, who made it look beautiful;
To Charles Kochman and his team at Abrams ComicArts, whose authority and vision enabled it to reach a wider audience outside the UK;
To my team of beta readers, Walter Amos, Dr. Darren-Jon Ashmore, Jonathan Clements, Tim Eldred, Rob Fenelon, Dr. Marc Hairston, Dr. Natsu Onoda Power and Ada Palmer, whose input added layers of experience and credibility and whose constant challenges made me a better writer;
To my friends, colleagues and peers all over the world, who kindly provided images, information, opinion and support;
To Frederik L. Schodt and Fred Patten, whose work inspired me and set the example I try to follow;
To Steve Kyte, whose love, humour, intelligence and infallible bullpat detector are my secret weapons in the fight against idiocy.
This is their Eisner nomination too.
Above all, it’s Osamu Tezuka’s Eisner nomination. He’s no stranger to the Eisners. He won an Inkpot Award in 1980, and has since collected a couple of posthumous Eisners for US releases of Buddha, and been inducted into the Eisner Hall of Fame. His achievements were far-reaching and remarkable, yet even now, over twenty years after his death, many comics fans outside Japan still don’t realise just how influential he is. A comicbook artist and animator might expect to influence other artists and animators: Tezuka influenced scientists, technologists, surgeons, writers, musicians, educators – in fact, the whole of Japan’s postwar popular culture. He never stopped reminding us that every life is precious, filled with potential for wonder, and far too easily thrown away or taken away.
He deserves to be remembered and honoured as the prime mover of postwar manga, and one of the leading creators of the current global interest in graphic narrative.