Synopses & Reviews
The Eisner and Harvey WinnerIn this fourth volume of the award-winning graphic novel biography, Buddha slowly discovers that his destiny lies in a path not readily available to him. With fellow ascetics Dhepa who has complete faith in the purifying quality of painful physical ordeals, and Assaji, who can predict everyone's death to the hour, Buddha travels through the kingdom of Magadha into the Forest of Uruvela, where The Middle Path and Enlightenment wait beyond a series of death-defying trials.Awake under the Pippala tree...
is a vast and fulfilling masterpiece of epic proportions executed with religious devotion. It stands as the opus of Japan's greatest cartoonist, and a high watermark for the medium. Tremendously inspiring, overwhelming, breathtaking, etc. etc... I wish it could go on forever." Craig Thompson, author of Blankets
"Osamu Tezuka invented a whole new grammar of comics storytelling and his place in the history of Japanese comics is about as central as Siddhartha's place in the history of Buddhism." Art Spiegelman
"I have been, and continue to be an ardent admirer of Osamu Tezuka, so I am especially pleased to have a chance to study his brilliant storytelling and narrative art that rises above the casual style of Tezuka's imitators." Will Eisner
"Filled with beauty, cruelty, comedy, romance and violence, Osamu Tezuka's Buddha encompasses the entirety of life in a masterpiece of graphic literature." Andrew D. Arnold, TIME
"Infused with humor and history, the epic of Siddhartha is perhaps Osamu Tezuka's crowning achievement and illustrates why, without irony, Tezuka is referred to as 'The King of Japanese Comics'. His penwork is remarkable at times resembling master etchings." LA Weekly
Japanese comics godfather Osamu Tezuka tells the story of Buddha's life like it's never been told before.
This life of Buddha is one that readers of all ages and persuasions can enjoy.
About the Author
Osamu Tezuka (1928-89) is the godfather of Japanese manga comics. A genuine intellectual, deeply familiar with Western culture from the Bible to Goethe to Hollywood, Tezuka originally intended to become a doctor and received an M.D. Had he not turned to the belittled art of manga storytelling, the medium may never have acquired its capacity for seriousness and depth. Though many have followed his example, it is still Tezuka who draws the deepest awe with his sweeping vision, deftly intertwined plots, persuasive characters, feel for the workings of power, and above all, an indefatigable commitment to human dignity and the sanctity of life.
Osamu Tezuka's vaunted storytelling genius, consummate skill at visual expression, and warm humanity blossom fully in his eight-volume epic of Siddhartha's life and times. Tezuka evidences his profound grasp of the subject by contextualizing the Buddha's ideas; the emphasis is on movement, action, emotion, and conflict as the prince Siddhartha runs away from home, travels across India, and questions Hindu practices such as ascetic self-mutilation and caste oppression. Rather than recommend resignation and impassivity, Tezuka's Buddha predicates enlightenment upon recognizing the interconnectedness of life, having compassion for the suffering, and ordering ones life sensibly. Philosophical segments are threaded into interpersonal situations with ground-breaking visual dynamism by an artist who makes sure never to lose his readers' attention.
Tezuka himself was a humanist rather than a Buddhist, and his magnum opus is not an attempt at propaganda. Hermann Hesse's novel or Bertolucci's film is comparable in this regard; in fact, Tezuka's approach is slightly irreverent in that it incorporates something that Western commentators often eschew, namely, humor.