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1001 Astro Boy1
Added on 08th August 2020

Author Osamu Tezuka
First published 1952
Publisher Kobunsha

A manga comic story about a superhero child.

Story

After the devastating loss of his son Tobias, roboticist Dr Tenma creates Astro; a robot superhero with his son’s memory and image. However, Dr Tenma soon realises that Astro cannot ever be fully human nor fill the emptiness in his heart that his real son left behind. Each series of Astro Boy generally involves the plot of Astro and his friends coming into conflict with some form of threat; be it human, robot, or alien. A powerful overarching storyline sees Astro lead a revolution for robots to be treated as equals to humans.

Why we chose it

Astro Boy is a global, cultural phenomenon. The series takes darker themes such as the death of Tobias and discrimination against robots and combats them with more joyful themes; a superhero story with an innocent and childlike protagonist. This counterbalance of tone deeply immerses the reader into this futuristic universe and they become emotionally attached to the comic and its characters.

Where it came from

Astro Boy was written by Osamu Tezuka and published by Japanese publishing company Kobunsha. Tezuka is often referred to as the Japanese equivalent of Walt Disney due to his success and prominence in the manga industry. Tezuka wrote Astro Boy in postwar Japan and set it in the future where humans and robots coexist. The comic was originally named Mighty Atom and was serialised in Kobunsha’s magazine ‘Shonen’ from 1952 to 1968.

Where it went next

The original Astro Boy manga went on to sell over 100 million copies and became Osamu Tezuka’s most successful piece of work. The comics weren’t available in English until 2002. The story of Astro Boy has since been adapted across a variety of platforms into films, novels, TV shows and video games.

Associated stories

Astro Boy is said to have been influenced by the story of Pinocchio; a young boy who was made different but with a pure heart and who yearns to become more human-like in order to be accepted.

Added on 08th August 2020

Author Osamu Tezuka
First published 1952
Publisher Kobunsha