Tezuka in English pointed out that I’ve mostly read his “transitional works”. Books like Swallowing the Earth get translated because they’re historically important (in that case, one of his first attempts at manga for adults), but that doesn’t mean they read well, here in a different century. A lot more Tezuka is available in French, including more adventure work not aimed at kids, which might be a better introduction to the non-scholarly U.S. reader.
I’ve realized there is one credited Tezuka work I absolutely adore: Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka. OK, it’s not “authentic” Tezuka, I guess, but by presenting his ideas in a modern context (and thus avoiding the racist and sexist stereotypes which are a huge turn-off) with a more accomplished art style (and thus not causing cognitive conflict between big ideas expressed by cutesy-pie characters, most problematic in Buddha), it’s a lot easier to read and enjoy.
I’d like to see more projects of this type, reworking Tezuka for a modern audience. Eliminate the problems and emphasize the strengths, as Darwyn Cooke did for Will Eisner’s Spirit.