Monday, July 09, 2007

Buddha Was An Action Hero



On Saturday, the Asian Art Museum was hosting an event called "BLAST OFF! a manga, anime and pop culture extravaganza."



It was being held in conjunction with the Tezuka Osamu (1928-89) exhibit that is visiting for the summer.



The event was a fairly disorganized mess...



...but also lots of fun...



...with hands-on art activities for kids and adults...



...serious scholarly lecturers...



...and interesting looking characters dressed up in a manner you don't usually see at museums...



...as they clutched their Astro Boy dolls.



The best part of the exhibit for me is that it's led to the purchase of a couple of books that Tezuka wrote specifically for adults after decades creating work for children such as Astro Boy and Simba the Lion.



What the exhibit doesn't really hint at it is just how ambitious these "adult" books really are, 500-page philosophical action tales filled with graphic sex and violence. They are also amazingly dense works of illustrative art and I'm finding it best to read them in short, daily doses. This means that I may be finished with Tezuka's magnum opus from 1987, the 3,000+ page, eight-volume "Buddha," sometime before I die.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

sf mike,
you're hip as ever! sorry we missed each other..next time.
saudades
P

Matty Boy said...

Thanks for reminding me, sfmike! I was thinking about going to this exhibit, then something came up, then I found out it was around all summer... dawdle, dawdle, dawdle. It's now on my schedule for Saturday.

sfmike said...

Dear matty boy: Give me a call if you'd like to use my membership cards on Saturday. The phone number is (415) 552-4549. Same with you, Pedro.

Anonymous said...

sfmike,

It's never too late to discover the joys of comic books! You've also gotta check out Barefoot Gen by Keiji Nakazawa. Gen opened up the world of manga to me almost three decades ago. When you have the winner of the Pulitzer for literature (Michael Chabon), writing comic book movies (Spiderman 2) and comic books such as the Escapist, a sea-change has taken place. Some of the most cutting edge literature is currently taking place in graphic novels. Although I don't always agree with you, one of the things I LOVE about your blog is that it reflects your INFORMED aesthetic, as well as political curiosity. Yur pal, Billium