Disclaimer : Well for most of you, this post might sound like the usual useless rantings of a fanboy, but I can't help sharing the magical experience of reading this wonderful book : PLUTO 001 : Urasawa X Tezuka
I came to know about PLUTO when Skottie Young (one of my fav. artists whom I follow on twitter) was tripping over it for over a month. With so many trashy manga titles around in the market, I generally keep a safe distance from most of them until its by my favorite artists, publishers or referred by somebody I can trust. Last it was (almost 2 years back), when Vikram introduced me to Lone Wolf & Cub series, which is really awesome. Before that it was Osamu Tezuka's Buddha series and some more titles by the maestro.
Anyway, after Skottie's non-stop praises and numerous reccomendations for the series, I really wanted to read it. Wiki said its Naoki Urasawa's take on one of the very old Astroboy stories by Tezuka - Astroboy and The Greatest Robot on Earth. A contemporary take on my most favorite manga artist's story! this one reason was more than enough for me to search for PLUTO. When I wasn't able to find the book at any bookstore, I ordered it from Flipkart (last entry).
I wanted to save the book for Sunday, but once I started flipping thru the pages, I couldn't help but finish it in one reading.
A wonderful book, which thankfully is presented in its original form (unlike other mirrored mangas published in America), so reading from right to left was a unique experience. Wonderfully planned narrative structure which takes a classic story and twists it with a contemporary story telling style. Brilliant use of imagery, compelling characters and careful selection of words while translating it from Japanese have made the book a worth read for anybody and everybody.
Urasawa is a master storyteller with very evolved sense of visualization which makes the book look as good as any aesthetically shot good movie. His command over emotions and dialogues is just outstanding and this humane story says it all. I can't wait to read more of his stuff especially - 20th Century Boys (which Skottie is tripping over these days) & his Monster series, along with other volumes of PLUTO.
Junot Diaz, winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (Brief Wondorous Life of Oscar Wao) aptly said, "Urasawa is a national treasure in Japan, and if you aren't afraid of picture books, you'll see why."
Now I am looking forward to read the original story by Tezuka and rest of the PLUTO Volumes, as and when my pocket allows.
Went to Landmark this afternoon, just to check if they have the Astroboy Story, which sadly was unavailable with them, but I ended up buying The Art of Up:
(High on Books, Low on Bank Balance)