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From Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy, comes Metropolis, the legendary 1949 graphic novel that inspired the animated fame that floored audiences and critics alike. In a not-so-far-off future a beautiful, artifically created girl -- unaware of her non-human background -- searches for the non-existent parents she believes must exist, wandering alone in a world populated by humans and by the slave-driven robots who serve them. Tezuka's key theme of the nature of humanity in a technological society is framed in bold relief, as well as his wry allegorical observations of the Cold War that was escalating when he created Metropolis. A brilliant work of wit and wisdom -- and guest-starring some friends you may recognize from Astro Boy! -- Metropolis is one of graphic fiction's most enduring tales, available for the first time in an English-language edition.
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A still from the German film Metropolis inspired the famed creator of Astro Boy to draw this graphic novel in 1949, and the process was reversed last year, when the graphic novel was made into an animated film. The tale concerns a scientist who's forced to create a genderless being named Michi and then steals it from the criminal who forced its creation. Eventually Michi runs away from its surrogate father and wanders the world searching for its nonexistent parents. Michi's encounters provide a tragicomic commentary on Tezuka's surroundings: the escalating Cold War, human folly and the search for love and affection in an increasingly harsh world. As with Astro Boy and the Disney films Tezuka loved, this work elicits strong emotions through simple allegory. The art, done in Tezuka's early style, beautifully combines classic American cartooning, Art Deco and the Disney stylings of the day. Tezuka's character designs are elaborate and decorative but never distracting, and his panels are crammed with machinery and people, giving his world a bustling vibrancy. He also never lets an opportunity for a joke pass him by. When confronted with a gun, one character says, "I've hated pistols since I was born. Pistols and carrots." Likewise, when the scientist recounts Michi's hardships, Tezuka seizes a chance for melodrama and draws the flashback sequence in an exquisite silhouette style. Metropolis has a bit of everything and is a wonderful graphic novel for both children and adults. With each American release of Tezuka's work, it becomes clearer why he's regarded as the master of Japanese comics.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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