Out now: Osamu Tezuka’s 1948 full-color graphic novel, The Mysterious Underground Men.
The Mysterious Underground Men tells the story of Mimio the talking rabbit, as he struggles to prove his humanity while helping his friends save earth from an invasion of angry humanoid ants. While Tezuka’s New Treasure Island (1946-47) was the first major hit for the “god of manga,” the artist himself regarded this later book the first of his signature “story manga. Inspired by Bernhard Kellermann’s Der Tunnel (1913) and drawing widely on European and American science fiction, as well as Milt Gross’ own pioneering “graphic novel,” He Done Her Wrong (1930), this full-color edition of The Mysterious Underground Men will not only introduce to English-language readers a founding monument in modern Japanese comics. It will also offer a rare glimpse at the wide-ranging Western cultural sources that made up young Tezuka’s world.