Process: Osamu Tezuka

Ever wondered how Osamu Tezuka came up with those wonderful backgrounds in works like Phoenix (1967-88) or Buddha (1972-83)? 
Get a chart! By using established background fills, Tezuka could literally call in the artwork to his assistants. He’d simply indicate which numerical value he wanted for each background zone.

Wednesday's New Things: Marvel of Marvels, Miracles of Miracles, But Where Does It Go?

There is plenty about Marvel's recent activity on the Miracle Man property, a property that's been dormant since they acquired specific parts of it a half decade ago, that's confusing for me. How did they untangle the rights? What does it have to do with Neil Gaiman selling Angela to the company? What was that all about anyway? Why did they even bother publishing that Golden Age Miracle Man stuff back in 2010? Now that they own the rights, why didn't they change the name back to Marvel Man? Isn't that the most logical thing to do?

Truth is, though, I'm just glad they've finally come around to publishing the damn thing. Between Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, and the never ending story of who owned what, who owed what, and who owed whom, this is the only series that's ever entered that mythical, must read space for me; certainly the only one I can think of that I would have felt comfortable pirating, simply because there was no other good way to get it. I guess I just never got around to it. And, now that its here, I haven't been purchasing it, or at least I'm not yet. There's something about launching this particular book in an oversized floppy edition that feels wrong, to me; after having waited so long for this material, it just seems like it should be owned in hardcover. And I wasn't even born yet when the series conceived, and I wasn't talking when it concluded with issue #24-- there have to be people who've been waiting to read this story (that is, if they've bothered waiting) much longer than me. Put simply, it's not something I want to file away in a longbox, it's something I want to put on my shelf.

The thinking behind that choice-- do I put it in my longbox or do I put it on my shelf?-- is something that's long interested me. I can't say I've come up with a coherent solution, although I'll admit that I've tried. What I would like to do, in general, is buy the stories I don't think I'll come back to as floppies, and the stories I do think I'll come back to as trades; ease of access is related to how often I think I'll want to find them. In practice, I return to very little, and mainstream monthly comics even less so; Ed Brubaker's Captain America, Immortal Iron Fist, Phonogram. I can see myself returning to Manhattan Projects, too, and Young Avengers, SagaEast of WestSatellite Sam, and Pretty Deadly, among others. The problem is that I'm buying those last few every month-- I want to know what happens in Saga, I don't want to fall behind. I want the trades, sure, but I don't want to spend the cash on material I already own-- it's why I've never bought that beautiful Criminal omnibus, for example. A few times I've abandoned comics, Hawkeye, Prophet, Fatale, either because I've lost track or because of some wonky publishing thing, and I've decided not to catch up, specifically so I can start over with the trades. Barring those weird situations, though, its a choice that has to do with whether you prefer the instant gratification of the low durability floppy or the long term satisfaction of the higher quality collection; in theory, I'm for the former, but, when it comes to actual purchasing habits, I'm a weak, weak man. And, of course, I'm not interested in comics as a hardcore collector would be, which means that things like variants don't even enter the calculation.

Miracleman's history, though, makes the choice easy. I've waited this long. I'll wait until April for the edition that I want, and then it'll go on my shelf, in between The Manhattan Projects and Darwyn Cooke's Parker books, where it belongs.