Embrace me, Father, for I have sinned


By Osamu Tezuka

Translated by Camellia Nieh
Graphic Novel / Manga
New Paperback Edition for 2010!
Paperback, 584 pages, 6 x 8 inches
U.S.$19.95 / CAN$24.95
Age 16 and up

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Comics god Osamu Tezuka’s darkest work, MW is a chilling picaresque of evil. Steering clear of the supernatural as well as the cuddly designs and slapstick humor that enliven many of Tezuka’s better-known works, MW explores a stark modern reality where neither divine nor secular justice seems to prevail. This willfully “anti-Tezuka” achievement from the master’s own pen nevertheless pulsates with his unique genius.

Michio Yuki has it all: looks, intelligence, a pedigree as the scion of a famous Kabuki family, a promising career at a major bank, legions of female admirers. But underneath the sheen of perfection lurks a secret with the power to shake the world to its foundations.

During a boyhood excursion to one of the southern archipelagos near Okinawa, Yuki barely survived exposure to a poison gas stored at a foreign military facility. The leakage annihilated all of the island’s inhabitants but was promptly covered up by the authorities, leaving Yuki as an unacknowledged witness—one whose sense of right and wrong, however, the potent nerve agent managed to obliterate.

Now, fifteen years later, Yuki is a social climber of Balzacian proportions, infiltrating the worlds of finance and politics by day while brutally murdering children and women by night—perversely using his Kabuki-honed skills as a female impersonator to pass himself off as the women he’s killed. His drive, however, will not be satiated with a promotion here and a rape there. Michio Yuki has a far more ominous objective: obtaining MW, the ultimate weapon that spared his life but robbed him of all conscience.

There are only two men with any hope of stopping him: one, a brilliant public prosecutor who struggles to build a case against the psychopath; the other, a tormented Catholic priest, Iwao Garai, who shares Yuki’ls past—and frequently his bed.

Serialized beginning in 1976 in Big Comic magazine, where Tezuka’s trailblazing medical thriller Ode to Kirihito had appeared a few years earlier, MW probes the complexities of homoeroticism as well as the reality of extensive U.S. military presence in Japan. The result is as bracing today as it was thirty years ago.

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. With his sweeping vision, deftly intertwined plots, and indefatigable commitment to human dignity, Tezuka elevated manga to an art form. Other works available from Vertical include Apollo’s Song, Ode to Kirihito, Black Jack, and the eight-volume epic Buddha, winner of the Eisner and Harvey Awards.


“Darker than you think—than you want to think […] MW took on the stuff of today’s headlines some thirty years ago.”
The Agony Column

MW is the newest of those masterpieces to be translated into English, and like everything else with [Tezuka’s] name on it, you are cheating yourself out of one of the best graphic novels out right now if you don’t read it.”
Advanced Media Network

“Tezuka spins an entertaining, slightly preposterous yarn, serving up more plot twists, car chases, and gender-bending costume changes than Dressed to Kill and The Manchurian Candidate combined.”

“You’ll stare at the page, eyes popping and muttering, ‘I cannot believe I just read that.’ But you did, and it worked, and you turn the page.”
—David Welsh, Comic World News


“It’s a mark of his artistic singularity that almost 20 years after his death, we are still playing catch-up with his achievements.”

“Tezuka was like a god for me. He shocked the manga world with the medical thriller genre, and the work he did it with was Ode to Kirihito—a monumental suspense masterpiece that shows off Tezuka’s two points of expertise—manga and medicine.”
—Yoshihiro Tatsumi, author of The Push-Man and Abandon the Old in Tokyo

“I have been, and continue to be an ardent admirer of Osamu Tezuka, so I am especially pleased to have a chance to study his brilliant storytelling and narrative art that rises above the casual style of Tezuka’s imitators.”
—The late Will Eisner, author of A Contract With God

“His works deal with the most profound questions of human existence.”
Publishers Weekly

“Osamu Tezuka invented a whole new grammar of comics storytelling and his place in the history of Japanese comics is about as central as Siddartha’s place in the history of Buddhism.”
—Art Spiegelman, author of Maus

“Paging through Buddha by Osamu Tezuka is revelatory, like hearing the Beatles for the first time.”
Rochester City Newspaper

“In Tezuka’s world, the exquisite collapses into the goofy in a New York minute, the goofy into the melodramatic, the melodramatic into the brutal, and the brutal into the sincerely touching. The surprising result is a work wholly unique and downright fun.”
Time Out New York