Versions of Early Astro Boy Stories



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Versions of Early Astro Boy Stories

Postby James Moar » Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:59 am

I recently bought two different editions of the first few Astro Boy stories -- vol 15 of the Sunday Comics edition that formed the basis for the English translation, and vol 1 of the Akita Bunko edition. The Akita version seems to represent the stories as originally published, and both "Ambassador Atom" and "Atom's Parents" are very different. "Ambassador Atom" has had material added, deleted and moved about all through the story (to the point where only about half the panels are in each version), and "Atom's Parents" has been almost entirely redrawn, with Astro's dream sequence being a later addition. (Incidentally, "Gaseous Beings" isn't different at all.)

Would anyone be interested in me writing up what's changed, with some guessing as to why?
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Postby strobe_z » Tue Oct 21, 2008 2:52 pm

Heck of a good first post...

Absolutely. If you can provide some scans as well that would be fantastic. We're always interested in Tezuka research, and the fact that he's known to have re-drawn stories many times in an attempt to "fix" them is of particular interest.

I'm sure Jeffbert would love to be involved in that kind of project as well. Have you seen his intensive Astro Boy reviews?

His review of Astro Boy's Parents is here! This may help you out as well...
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Postby Kevin » Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:11 pm

I never knew this :D
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Postby strobe_z » Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:21 pm

It doesn't surprise me though. Tezuka is well known for having revisited many of his stories for new editions. Considering that Atom is his most famous creation, it only stands to reason that he'd have reworked some of the stories... in particular the early ones that introduce the character.
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Postby James Moar » Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:44 pm

Don't have a scanner at hand, but I'll see if I can think of something. Here's the write-up for "Astro's Parents" -- did it first, since it's shorter.


Astro's Parents

This story has been almost entirely redrawn.

The first few scenes -- Astro receives his school report, a bully throws it in the fire, and Astro jumps in to get it -- have the same plot but completely different layouts. From there on, the story
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Postby Jeffbert » Tue Oct 21, 2008 9:35 pm

This is all new to me, even though Fred Schodt did mention Tezuka's habit of revising things for just about every new collection printed. My main impression from reading the Astro Boy Essays was that he revised the drawings, as sometimes he used other artists to draw backgrounds and such. Fred talks about their various styles on page 49, for example.

So, in that last post, you are speaking of the other version and mention the English vers only as necessary.

Please tell me about 'Electro' or "Lightning Man," as I understand it that “Ishinomori’s cross-hatched backgrounds are easily identifiable in the 1955 episode ‘Electro’” (Schodt, 49).
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Postby James Moar » Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:28 pm

Jeffbert,

When I say "the original", I mean the version in "Osamu Tezuka Complete Works". When I say the "Sunday version", I mean the one in the "Sunday Comics" edition, which was used for the English translation.

I suppose there could be changes between the actual original and the version in the Complete Works, though the much more self-consistent art suggests there aren't. Even if there are, though, it's clearly an earlier draft than the Sunday version.

I'm sorry, I only have these two volumes on hand to put side-by-side, and they don't include "Electro". "Ambassador Atom", "Atom's Parents" and "Gaseous Beings" are the only shared ones.
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Postby Jeffbert » Wed Oct 22, 2008 3:22 pm

:oops: Thanks for the data.
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Postby James Moar » Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:07 pm

Sorry I've let this slide so long -- I plan to do the writeup for Captain Atom at the weekend.

Tezuka's official website has the first few pages of the original version of Captain Atom available for free here: http://dres4.ebookbank.jp/sc/view3/samp ... index.html -- two pages of a different introduction by Tezuka, the same first four pages that were in the translated version, then it starts a bit that got skipped entirely.
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Postby James Moar » Sun Nov 09, 2008 6:48 pm

Okay, here we go...


The very first installment of Ambassador Atom is largely the same, but there are a few minor rewritten lines, and a couple of very small art changes.

After this, the Sunday Comics version skips the second and most of the third installment. I
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Postby Jeffbert » Mon Nov 10, 2008 4:03 am

8) Wow! You have really blown me away with all those differences. I need to update my Ambassador Atom page!

http://tezukainenglish.com/?q=node/210

Please take a look at it; I admit that I must update many of the images since the demise of Tezuka Osamu World. :lol:
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Postby James Moar » Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:07 pm

I need to update my Ambassador Atom page!


Feel free to use what I've written however you like.
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Postby ASTROBUDDY » Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:10 am

Wow! Reading your posts, I'm glad to know someone else knows what I have known for some time now: that the translated version of "Atom Taishi" was not a complete version nor was it the original version! As was noted in the old Tezuka World page for "Captain Atom" the version currently available closest to the original version is the version reprinted in the Kodansha "Complete Works of Tezuka Osamu" which apparently you have! It is good to see someone who has a grasp of the Japanese language help explain the differences in the original version and the version readily available in English! I was very disappointed when I read the version in Dark Horse's collection and referred back to the version I have, which I recognized as the same one in that website you referred to in your post! Now if only someone would translate and publish that version! (Unfortunatley Kodansha has no plans of publishing any of Tezuka works in English as they did with the English editions of Princess Knight!) Although I do have a rudimentary knowledge of Japanese I am not proficient enough to translate such a long work! I have translated small paragraphs like episode synopses from Roman Album No. 7: Memories of Mighty Atom! I congratulate you on your work!
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Postby Kevin » Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:05 am

It's nice to have members who know a lot of tezuka, enough to answer all of our questions 8)
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