Tag Archives: Pluto

Guest Post: Sam Kusek’s V-Day Gift Guide for Comic-Loving Lovers

Whether you are in a romantic relationship or are just single and loving it, Valentines Day can be an important day for all of us. It’s good to let people know how to you feel about them, showing them that you care deeply. Heck, I still get a card from my grandma every year! For those of us who are heavily invested in comics and manga though, we’d like to add our own personal touch to our gifts and good wishes! I know that I love introducing my friends to manga & comics, helping them understand the art form and I can’t think of a better opportunity to give out some good books!

1. Red Snow by Susumu Katsumata; Published Drawn & Quarterly – This anthology of short stories about life in rural Japan and its mythical folklore is sure to impress any history buff you may have in your circle!

2. Pluto by Naoki Urasawa; Published by Viz – I can’t recommend this series enough. Not only is it a stunning reinterpretation of a great sci-fi tale, it is emotionally touching! A must read for anyone with a soft spot for robots!

3. Swallowing the Earth by Osamu Tezuka; Published by Digital Manga Publishing – Even with all the crime dramas on television, you can’t beat a classic noir story! Tezuka keeps us on our toes at every turn as he explores the complex relationships between men, money, woman and gold!

4. GoGo Monster by Taiyo Matsumoto; Published by Viz – Gogo Monster may not be the most straightforward story (it really makes you think and rethink your opinions), but its certainly got its charm! If you have any artsy friends or someone looking for a “deeper” meaning in life, pass this along to them.

5. Cyborg 009 by Shotaro Ishinomori; Published by Tokyopop – Thought hard to find, this series really is worth searching for. Starting its original run in the 60’s, Cyborg 009 deals a lot with race relations and unity, as nine strangers from around the globe have their lives changed forever as they are changed into machines of war!

6. Nana by Ai Yazawa; Published by Viz – The quintessential girls comic. The story of two utterly different girls who share the same name and pretty soon, the same apartment. It’s an amazing series and a great read for any girl who is going through some big life changes.

7. Cat Eyed Boy by Kazuo Umezu; Published by Viz – If you are a horror fan or know someone who likes a good scare, look no further. CEB is a great example of all Japanese horror, getting under and into the skin of the reader. Not only that, but the main character is cute enough to hit a warm spot with anyone.

8. Earth X by Jim Kreuger and Alex Ross; Published by Marvel – Marvel has some great characters under their belt, but how great can they be when they are put to the ultimate test of just being a face in the crowd? Check out this exciting first of 4 books that makes you question everything you thought you knew about Marvel.

9. Crisis on Infinite Earths by Marv Wolfman and George Perez; Published by DC – In a similar vein to Earth X, this book changed the DC universe forever, giving birth to some new great heroes and eras but bringing death to some of the most beloved. It’s an essential read for understanding the DC universe today.

10. Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud; Published by Harper Perennial – Finally, this is for anyone who truly wants to make comics a profession, whether as an artist, marketer or whatever. McCloud is a visionary, touching upon perception and the way the human mind works to explain everything you could ever think of (and not think of) about comics all across the world!

Thanks and I hope that you and your loved ones find some good things to read!

~Sam Kusek

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Comic Book Movies: Astro Boy

If you were an American child in the 1960’s, you probably watched “Astro Boy” on T.V. and I’d call you lucky because I grew up in the late 1980’s and didn’t know “Astro Boy” existed until I did a small history project on anime in middle school.

But now I know and the new “Astro Boy”  movie is coming out in theaters on Oct. 23rd and, boy oh boy, am I excited!


Originally called “Tetsuwan Atom” in Japan, the comic-book-turned-anime-turned-film has captured the heart of many kids and adults alike ever since it was released. It tells the story of a robot implanted with human memories created by Dr. Tenma to help him get over the death of his son. When that goes awry, Astro becomes a crime-fighter, particularly focusing on human-robot conflicts, out of control robots and evil doers looking to exploit robot powers.

The movie follows a similar origin story, but also focuses on self-discovery and a typical good-v.-evil energy conflict, which makes me happy since various filmmakers worldwide now feel the need to address ecological issues. I’m sure  the legendary Osamu Tezuka,  the creator of  “Astro Boy” would have approved of the eco-friendly message too.

Speaking of Osamu Tezuka, Dark Horse Comics publishes the U.S. version of “Astro Boy” and still has 23 volumes and a few other Tezuka titles for sale. Nozomi Entertainment/Right Stuf International publishes and sells the anime version.

Vertical sells a number of Tezuka’s darker and deeper works including “Buddha”, “Ode to Kirihito” and “Black Jack” amongst others.

Also, “Astro Boy”-related comic book is “Pluto” which is a post-mortem collaboration between (the very much alive) Naoki Urasawa and Tezuka. “Pluto” is like a darker version of “Astro Boy”, but instead of focusing on Astro, it focuses on Gesicht, a German robot working as a detective. Astro (called by his original name, Atom) and Gesicht are two of the world’s seven great robots and the mysterious Pluto is murdering these  robots and their creators for their involvment in the 39th Central Asian War.

You may remember Naoki Urasawa since I mentioned him yesterday in my post about the debut of “Monster” on Syfy, and he is half the reason why I really love “Pluto” too. More importantly, it’s a really gripping read. Urasawa really took Tezuka’s idea and ran with it until the readers are left on the edge of a cliff trying to see who’s dead on the ground below.

But just because the new movie and “Pluto” are modern takes on Tezuka originals doesn’t mean that Tezuka’s genius won’t shine through. I’m looking forward to seeing it next week.

See some exclusive pictures of the film on Comic Book Resources.

Some more stills from the movie and pictures of some of the cast from Comic Book Movies.

A Wikipedia article on the film.

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