Tezuka’s ASTRO BOY (Tetsuwan Atomu)

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Created in 1952 by Osamu Tezuka, Astro Boy (or Mighty Atom) is one of Japan’s most enduring characters of both manga and anime. Astro is a robot boy powered by a “100,000 horsepower” engine whose greatest attribute is his giant heart.

I did this mostly from memory, knowing I was taking a lot of liberties with Tezuka’s design. I wanted to recreate how Astro feels in my memory, not make an exact replica. Tezuka often placed the artificial Astro Boy in natural environments, and I did the same, with man-made detritus (including the arm of an older, ill-fated robot) on the ground; nature reclaiming it.

In Naoki Urasawa’s wonderful manga PLUTO, an updated retelling of Tezuka’s Astro Boy story The Greatest Robot in the World, Atom makes his entrance saving a snail off the sidewalk, and I paid homage to that story with Astro’s little snail pal here.

Astro Boy is 1/6th scale, approximately 8″ high, made of Super Sculpey, and Apoxie Sculpt on an aluminum wire and foil armature. He’s painted with spraypaint, acrylics, and enamel. The base is mostly found materials like dried, used coffee grounds, bits of tubing, and glue. The severed robot arm is scratch-built from wire and styrene plastic, and painted with Tamiya enamels.


Gatchaman: Washio No Ken Minibust

The hero of my all-time favorite cartoon, SCIENCE NINJA TEAM GATCHAMAN, known (in bowdlerized form) as BATTLE OF THE PLANETS or G-FORCE in the US. Gatchaman is seen here in his unmasked civilian guise, Ken. The stand is a replica of  Ken’s handy weapon,  called a “Sonic Boomerang” in English (in Japan he’d shout “Bird GO!” in English when he threw it). The producers of the 2000s TEEN TITANS cartoon used this same birdlike boomerang design as Robin’s weapon.

Ken as he appeared on the cartoon.
Comic book painter Alex Ross is a fan of the series, and did some nice covers for the DVD sets as well.

The big Gs in action.


Update 6/22/13:

They’ve made a live-action GATCHAMAN movie. I have no idea whether or not it’s going to be any good, but the trailer is suitably flashy: