Happy Birthday Astro Boy / Tetsuwan Atom

Happy Birthday Tetsuwan AtomOn April 7th 1951, Dr Tenma created a robot in the image of his deceased son, Tobio. The robot was named Tetsuwan Atom and would later be known to more as Astro Boy.

My very first episode of Astro Boy was in black & white. The opening act left a deep impression on me. Astro Boy was a creation made out of sorrow, in a desperate bid by a grieving father to fill the void his deceased son has left him. As a child, it’s not often that you’re made privy to a father’s grief as he puts together, piece by piece, an image of his dead son. Upon completion, Dr. Tenma’s grief turned into anger at Astro’s inability to relief his loss. He then sold Astro to a circus. The scenes of Dr. Tenma disowning fatherhood and even the most basic sense of ownership over his own creation were heart-wrenching. This was the birth scene of a character beloved by many and one of the scenes I remember Astro the most for.

Tezuka’s concept and appreciation of life is one of the key reasons why he’s such a prolific writer. Decades later and his works are still some of the best storytelling present in any medium.

Tezuka demonstrated immense, nigh-unmatched range with Phoenix, Alabaster, Black Jack, Dororo, MW, Ode to Kirihito, Journey to The West, Buddha, Adolf, Jungle Taito, Metropolis, New Treasure Island, Princess Knight, Cleopatra and many others. With a career spanning 43 years of respectable, illustrious work, it’d be a loss to miss out on such a great collection of work. Among the adaptations of his work, Astro Boy fans should also read the notable Pluto by Naoki Urasawa.

Happy 58th Birthday Astro Boy,

Signed, WEIGY

Posted Wednesday, April 7th, 2010 under Artists, Work: Personal.

2 comments

  1. What a lovely tribute, both the picture and the words.

    It’s difficult to really grasp how incredibly influential Tezuka has been the world over. What’s even more amazing is the deep range of emotion that has always been present in his work. One thing I’ve learned to cherish about Astro Boy is that the stories aren’t focused on good and evil and justice, they are about empathy and compassion. Astro Boy is one of my favorite heroes because he works so hard to save everyone. He always strives for a resolution that respects every point of view, and it doesn’t always work out. But he will always try.

    I think Tezuka must have been a man of incredible compassion and imagination to imbue his characters with such life and such nuanced motivations. Even the simplest, most action packed Astro Boy stories give the reader pause to consider that all intelligent life has the capacity to love and hate, to feel joy and pain, to make mistakes and to try to reconcile them. The stories have integrity and consequence. They respect the characters and the reader. I’m glad I was able to grow up with Tezuka’s stories, because his characters feel like great lifelong companions to me.

    Happy Birthday Astro Boy! You may be a fictional character, but the feelings you’ve inspired in me throughout my life have been very real!

  2. I didnt realize its been 58 years, in some way, it seems longer. AstroBoy was always one of those timeless characters that I grew up with and considering it was BEFORE my time, I never really think about the age.

    Y ‘know, kinda like they way young kids think about their parents. They’re just OLDER than us. lol.

    Great words and drawing there!

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