Kapilavastu (Buddha, Vol. 1) – by Osamu Tezuka (4.5/5)

For the last year or so I’d noticed this amazing set of hardcover comics in a Montreal comic shop, along the spine of which was the face of a Manga Buddha growing up. Finally I took the plunge and bought the first one and I’m glad I did. The story, by master of Manga Osamu Tezuka (creater of Astro Boy), starts at the beginning of the life of Buddha as he is prophesized and born to the king. From this well known life Tezuka then expands out to add his own world of magic, transfiguration and fable – all drawn in beautiful black and white, a style echoed by the beautiful white covers with removable colour bands (on the hardcover edition which I highly recommend you get).

The read is over quickly, as it’s not a dense story and the characters tend not to get into long soliloquays, but ‘luckily’ there’s another 9 or so books after this one. My one other gripe is that sometimes the translations come across a bit tacky and American, somewhat akin to the Archie comics, which seems off given the epic scope of the story. A must-have addition to any comic addicts bookshelf – which may need widening if you get the whole series!

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