In the photo above, the guy on the left is yours truly, Jerry Beck, blathering on about the fine points of American animation to the guy on the right: the father of anime, the Disney of Japan, Osamu Tezuka.
This fateful meeting took place in 1978, at a screening of Bander’s Book at the Japan Society in New York City. And obviously, it was one of the greatest days of my life.
Tezuka San had somehow obtained a copy of Mindrot, the fanzine, in which I wrote about my love of his comics and Astro Boy, and was as delighted to meet me as I was to meet him. He even invited me out to have sushi after the screening. I’ll never forget it. He was a great artist and a great human being.
The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco will be presenting an exhibit, Tezuka: The Marvel of Manga, June 2nd through September 9th, which is shaping up to be an absolute must-see event. The official website is loaded with essays, information, podcasts and even a blog worth reading.
And in case you don’t know who Tezuka is, here’s a 30 second refresher course: