Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Classics - Lone Wolf and Cub #1

Before buying this comic in 1987, I had heard about Lone Wolf and Cub - but I'd never seen it.

The series was a huge hit in Japan. Written by Kazuo Koike and drawn by Goseki Kojima, it tells the story of Itto Ogami, who was once the Executioner serving the Shogun. An evil plot leaves him dishonored, his wife murdered, and his master orders him to commit suicide. But Itto decides to walk a different path, and roams the country with his infant son in a baby carriage (of sorts).

It's easy to see why the series is popular. The art and the story are terrific and they work together seamlessly. Itto is forced to live by his wits and his incredible fighting skills. He hires himself out when needed and often faces overwhelming odds - but through his intelligence and skill he manages to survive.

Some of the elements of the story are, no doubt, lost in the translation. Certain motions are emphasized - the movement of a foot, shrugging off a piece of clothing - that would no doubt have more meaning to someone more familiar with the traditions.

Even coming at the story with no knowledge of the history or culture behind the events (as I did), you'll still find yourself mesmerized by the ingenuity of the story and the intense, powerful art on display.

This series has been collected many times in different formats, and I urge you to check it out. This is the art of comics at its most pure.

Highly recommended!

Grade: A+


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