Message to Adolf

This is the story of three men named Adolf.

Message to Adolf

By Osamu Tezuka

Translated by Kumar Sivasubramanian
Graphic Novel / Manga
Hardcover, approx. 600-648 pages each
Part 1: 978-1-935654-43-8 Buy.
Part 2: 978-1-935654-44-5 Buy.
U.S.$26.95 / CAN$29.95

Originally serialized in the 1980's in newsmagazine Weekly Bunshun in the first such attempt by comics master Osamu Tezuka, the magnum opus from the last decade of his momentous career returns in two hardcover installments and a new translation.

A graveyard in contemporary Israel has an unlikely visitor. The elderly gentleman from Japan, a former news correspondent, lays a bouquet of flowers at the tomb of one Adolf Kamil. For he remembers the tale of three Adolfs: Kamil, a Jew who grew up in Kobe, Japan, the son of a baker; Kaufmann, only child of a German consul stationed at that port city and his Japanese wife; and the F├╝hrer with whom the Far Eastern nation made common cause.

A briskly paced political thriller, in this first part Message to Adolf takes us from the Nazi propaganda victory of the 1936 Berlin Olympics to the ravaging flames and atrocities of World War II. The disastrous education of Adolf Kaufmann in the ways and prerogatives of the master race begins.

Osamu TezukaOsamu Tezuka (1928-89) is the godfather of Japanese manga comics. He originally intended to become a doctor and earned his degree before turning to what was still then considered a frivolous medium. His many early masterpieces include the series known in the U.S. as Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion. From the early seventies on, he increasingly targeted older readers as well, employing a grittier style and mature themes. With his sweeping vision, deftly intertwined plots, and indefatigable commitment to human dignity, Tezuka elevated manga to an art form. Since his passing, his international stature has only grown, his eight-volume epic Buddha winning multiple Eisner and Harvey Awards in the United States.

“If you were to combine Lee and Kirby, Neal Adams and Carl Barks and combine them into a single cartooning entity, this amalgam would still not be as influential to the American comic audience as Osama Tezuka is to Japanese Manga... [Message to Adolf] is a great place to sample the work of Tezuka (or any manga for that matter) for the first time. If you are already a manga fan, I know Adolf is already on your must-buy list. Message to Adolf is a must-read.”
HEROES Aren’t Hard to Find

“[T]he pick of the week is going to be Message to Adolf, the new Tezuka release from Vertical...The premise alone sounds good, examining the life of three people named Adolf, one of whom you probably know, but the artwork is also more advanced and detailed, and the book's design is gorgeous. At about 1200 pages total between the two volumes, this tome is a big investment, but I sense that it’s going to be worth it.”
Manga Bookshelf

“A moment of perspective, the first Osamu Tezuka series ever released in its entirety in the English language arrived in 1995-96, less than twenty years ago. The project was titled Adolf, a five-volume Viz series released via their Cadence Books line of graphic novels, no doubt with an eye toward separating genuine pioneer Tezuka from the kiddy roots of his style: these were books, drawn from a serial positioned near the end of the artist’s career, 1983-85, its from a weekly news magazine. There’s plenty more material of all sorts out there now, so maybe the particular blend of pulpy thrills and memories-of-fascism’s-rise present in this re-titled, re-translated, re-collected 648-page Vertical hardcover edition of the stuff is due some reassessment.”
The Comics Journal

“Vertical’s new edition of Osamu Tezuka’s Message to Adolf is a striking-looking book...Tezuka’s artwork is amazing, and this story is one of the best of his I have read so far.”
Comic Book Resources“ Robot 6“


“A sophisticated, nightmarish and thoroughly adult tale despite the cartoonish conventions of Tezuka’s art, this handsome volume reaffirms the definitive role the creator of Astro Boy had in elevating manga to serious literary status.”
Time Out New York

“Brilliant. Just once, I’d like to read a work by Tezuka that wasn’t either at least nearly or totally perfectly crafted… A typical complaint nowadays is that the usual comic costs about $4 and takes about 10 minutes (or less) to read. But with Tezuka’s work, you’re invited to linger over a page for a minute, just taking everything in. One of Tezuka’s (many) skills is his deftness with background details, with an emphasis on lived-in spaces that seem to have texture that you could just grip.”
MTV Geek

“I suppose just reading a story like that could be repugnant to some people, but I found it weirdly enjoyable. It’s not like Tezuka sugarcoats his lead’s fundamental awfulness, or blatantly asks that we enjoy it as she destroys people—even in that ‘hate the player/love the game’ way that you saw all over pop culture in the early 1970s. It’s most fascinating to me as a big ol’ hate letter to the emerging Japanese post-war generation, although Tezuka includes a vile war-era criminal in the book as well.”
The Comics Reporter

“Even those who have read Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha series are likely to be startled… It’s an unbelievably bleak, unsentimental indictment of human life that makes no attempt to impart anything like a moral, ending with a conclusion that’s as cold as its main character. But ultimately it’s a compelling work, meant for a genuinely mature audience, skillfully told by the undisputed master of manga.”