8th Man Print By Bob Kessel
Shown above; 8th Man smoking an atomic cigarette by Bob Kessel. 8th Man, also known as 8 Man (Eitoman), was an animated cartoon that appeared in the 1960s. In the middle of every episode, 8th Man would run out of energy and need to stop and smoke an atomic cigarette (which he kept in his belt buckle secret compartment) to restore his energy. Back in the sixties this was acceptable in a cartoon for kids. Today it would be considered politically incorrect. This picture is available as a limited edition fine art print by Bob Kessel. Contact the artist for pricing and availability. More pictures of 8th Man and Astroboy and other Japanese characters can be seen in the art series “KAIJU” (Japanese monsters) and “FUTURISM” by Bob Kessel.
8th Man was a Japanese “manga” or comic strip which first appeared on a weekly basis in May of 1963. Written by Kazumasa Hirai and drawn by 28 year old artist, Jiro Kuwata, 8-Man told the story of Detective Hachiro Azuma, who was killed by the notorious gangster Mukade and resurrected by Dr. Tani in the form of a human-looking robot.
The series proved to be so popular that TCJ Animation produced 56 animated episodes of 8-Man’s nuclear-age escapades. On November 7, 1963 – 8-man made his television debut in Japan! Within two years (or less) a freshly dubbed 8th Man was showing in American living rooms.
8th Man is hands-down my most favorite animated series (but you’ve probably guessed that already!) Truly ahead of its time, 8th Man pioneered many of the elements that have distinguished Japanese Anime for years until the present. So did Astroboy, but this is not his page, ok? Despite the “limited-action” and low cel count, even in the earliest works of 60’s Anime, we see that the inventive Japanese went beyond the one-dimensional mind-set of the American television industry animation houses and their shallow “talking animal” toons. And in the most ingenious manner applied cinematic technique to their TV animated works. Through the use of simple yet clever camera methods – cut, pan, focus & zoom were used to create tension, excitment, or suspense. Characters were manipulated inside the frame as never before with highly exaggerated and 3-D in-your-face action!
But more than this, the Japanese totally revolutionized that industry with stories and scripting that went beyond children’s ideas and introduced passion, pathos, and personality into the world arena of TV animation, filling the void left by the cat-&-mouse slapstick humor prevelant in American TV animation at that time.
Yes, 8th Man, Prince Planet, Astroboy and others were the dawn of a new age of TV animation where the players could laugh, cry, hurt, and even die…were these concepts too strong for young children? Perhaps. Many people who testify of their childhood experiences with these early anime-works will state they were deeply moved and thus, well remember these works as they have seemed to make more than a lasting impression…