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Vertical to Publish Osamu Tezuka's Black Jack Manga

posted on by Egan Loo
Translation of entire medical suspense series planned

Publishers Weekly's Comics Week reports that the North American publisher Vertical Inc. will publish the entire run of the Black Jack medical suspense series from manga pioneer Osamu Tezuka. The story revolves around a gifted maverick doctor who treats patients at the edge of society without regard for rules. Tezuka himself was a medical student before he decided to pursue his passion of manga.

The original manga ran in Akita Shoten's Weekly Shōnen Champion magazine in Japan from 1973 to 1979, with occasional one-shot installments up until 1983. Almost all of the installments were eventually collected into various book editions that totaled 22 volumes. The North American manga distributor Viz published several installments in the defunct Manga Vizion magazine and compiled two volumes in the 1990s.

The manga has been been adapted numerous times in animation and live-action formats for television, film, home video, and even Internet distribution. Tezuka's frequent collaborator Osamu Dezaki directed ten animated video volumes between 1993 and 2000, which were later distributed in North America by U.S. Manga Corps. Dezaki also directed a 1996 movie which Manga Entertainment distributed in North America.

A 2003 Black Jack animated television special mini-series spawned a series of 11 Flash-animated shorts that was one of the first anime to premiere exclusively online. (The net series also featured pop star Hikaru Utada as the doctor's young companion Pinoko.) Those videos in turn spawned the first Black Jack animated television series, which ran from 2004 to 2006, as well as yet another animated movie in 2005. The Black Jack 21 television sequel followed in 2006.

Four different live-action actors played the doctor in a 1977 live-action film, a 1981 serialized drama, a 1996 video series, and three 2000 drama specials. Akita Shoten itself revived the manga after Tezuka's passing with five different manga serializations, including three volumes by Kenji Yamamoto in 2006.

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