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A whirlwind of Zeitgeist & Synchronicity has resulted in the nearly simultaneous arrival of a half dozen volumes that together collect over 2500 pages of Tezuka’s work, almost all from the key, fraught period of 1968 - 1971 (and that also include a few short pieces from 1972  - 1973).  Vertical Publishing has at long last reissued the mega-classic manga masterpieces that fully realized Tezuka’s ambition to create thematically complex novel-length works that dealt with mature and weighty themes through a science fiction lens: APOLLO’S SONG and ODE TO KIRIHITO.  Then, Digital Manga Publishing has released an onslaught of collections of thematically and narratively linked short works, most produced on a monthly schedule and at fixed lengths, primarily in the 20-30 page range:  UNDER THE AIR, RECORD OF THE GLASS CASTLE, CLOCKWORK APPLE and the massive THE CRATER. 

Tezuka's powerhouse creativity is in full effect here.  During this period he is churning out in the neighborhood of ten fully completed pages every DAY – with the help of his studio assistants, who were generally responsible for the finishes and details.  One idea after another flow out in these pages. Tezuka gets an idea and runs with it! Readers can feel the story coming together on the fly; the narrative coalescing as it goes.  The thematically linked short works are in some ways hyperbolic descendants of the classic EC shorts, often concluding with an unexpected twist (and sometimes with a WTF? ending).  

Read here in 2022, these 50 year old works may come across to some as ridiculous and/or straining credulity, but… they’re not! Along with demonstrating Tezuka's dazzling and dynamic artistry, these stories delve deeply into hidden recesses of the human psyche.  

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