MW is another masterpiece by comics-god Osamu Tezuka. The Japanese Walt Disney brings us the touching story of Michio Yuki… a careering banker by day, a kidnapping transvestite, poison gas damaged priest-fucker by night. Doesn’t sound much like the lovable robot Astro Boy comics Tezuka is known for in America, does it?
Starting his career in 1946, super genius Osamu Tezuka turned Japanese comics into a serious art form, earning him the title “the godfather of manga”. For no reason at all, I recently decided that I needed to read one of these fat little graphic novels. Having no prior knowledge of manga comics I had the good fortune of somewhat randomly picking the first volume of Tezuka’s critically acclaimed “Buddha” to read on the subway. By the end of the end my train ride I was ready to go back to the bookstore to buy the next seven volumes. Over 5000 pages of Tezuka comics later, I’m still hooked. Beautiful drawings and masterful writing, there’s not much praise I can give him that he hasn’t already received.
While I’m currently speed reading my way through his playful Astro Boy paperbacks, the last single volume book I read of Tezuka’s was the mind blowing MW. If Osamu were not a god of the comic book medium, it might be hard to believe that MW was written by the same guy who created Astro Boy… although Astro Boy does have two machine guns implanted in his ass which is pretty demented given his Disney-esque appeal.
MW (which I figured out can only stand for Massacre Weapons, although it is never specified) is a dark and haunting thriller. Written over thirty years ago it follows a sociopath and his quest to find the secret chemical weapon that traumatized him as a youth. A man of many faces (literally) he is a very likable personification of pure evil. He’s the kind of rapist that you can’t help liking… similar to the character Alex in Anthony Burgess’s “A Clockwork Orange”. I don’t want too say too much more about this page-turner. Pick it up and you won’t put it down. If pure evil isn’t your cup of tea start reading Buddha. Just be prepared to buy all 8 volumes if you do.
MW by Osamu Tezuka Translated by Camellia Nieh
Graphic Novel / Manga Hardcover
978-1-932234-83-1 / 1-932234-83-7
584 Pages 6 x 8 inches
There’s nothing better than scribbling on a wall. Mark makers making their mark wherever they may roam. For some, it’s proclamations of love, for others it’s a way of tracing their steps through a world of urban dystopia. And sometimes it’s just a way to burst the bubble of boredom that is waiting for the train. These days it’s also a felony. Maybe that’s why writing on the wall has turned into an extreme sport rather than a public forum. Now that scribbling, “I love my Mom” or “Cornbread was here” on the side of a bus depot can get you cuffed & caged it takes a certain amount of guts to leave your mark. Just putting the pen to the wall marks you as a criminal.
Not that writing wasn’t always illegal, but back then the worst punishment was community service. They made you buff walls along with other writers… a good time to plan the next story. Today it’s a high stakes game for public space… one fueled by corporate vandals who pay police protection so they can advertise on everything in sight. Today it’s an ass beating followed by a prison sentence. If “Monique” wants to advertise her love for “Tony” with a ballpoint pen she can do from inside a jail cell, not on a wall reserved for a five-foot tall hamburger from McDonald’s or seventy-five feet of Kool Nike Menthol cigarette swooshes. This book takes you back to the days when walls were big blank canvases with plenty of room to spray paint heartfelt sentiments like “Damn right Fuck Rizzo!” and “Peace & Love, North Philly Soul – Jimi Astro in ‘75”. Can it be that it was all so simple then?
Looking at Public Wall Writing in Philadelphia is like looking at footprints in the snow. There are no introductions, no text, and no explanations. Each photograph is a chapter in the Philly story told by the people who live there … mysteries, love stories, and a thousand biographies all on the same page.
The Megawords Magazine crew dug deep into the Urban Archives of Temple University Libraries to find these 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s black and white gems. These photos have something that most “graffiti” books lack… sincerity. Sincerity aka “keeping it real” is essential, so big ups to Megawords & Free News Projects for this book… keep writing… books, walls… whatever.
Public Wall Writing in Philadelphia
96 pages, black and white, two-color perfectbound softcover, 9.5 x 13.5
Published by www.megawordsmagazine.com and www.freenewsprojects.com