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Saturday 17 August 2013

Manga in the 80's Pt. 1

Looking though my sporadic collection of translated Manga as I tried out different Genres, Writers and Artists, and with the hope that they would continue to be on the shelves next month, I can say that though many are incomplete sets of comic book stories I find the variety very pleasing!

[Sadly I have now found nearly all but only a few of the manga I remember so fondly from the 80's & 90's are still in print in English – And that Anime & manga fans from the late 90's onwards have yet to discover them]

So what Japanese comic books were people reading in the late 80's, and when did they appear in our Comic Book stores (and what did I get and read?)?

'Lone Wolf and Cub' should not need any introduction to this influential Japanese manga that is so widely recognised as an important literary work. First published in 1970 Japan was at first released in the United states of America in the flipped-format translated English editions by First Comics in 1987, as a monthly comic-book, with covers and introductions by Frank Miller no less!

This manga was created by writer Kazuo Koike and artist Goseki Kojima, depicted violence (extreme at the time) in such a cinematic way that most Western mature comic book readers just had not seen at all!
 The main protagonist Ogami Itto used a Dōtanuki 同田貫 (Torso Cutter) styled sword, a no nonsense blade designed to cut off its target's limbs or head in a single stroke (the sword was outlawed in times of peace)!

The chronicles of 'Lone Wolf and Cub' tell the story of Ogami Itto, the Shogun's executioner who uses his sword skills using the Torso Cutter. Itto is then disgraced by false accusations from the Yagyu clan, and looses his respected position with the Shogunate's court, he is then forced to take the path of the assassin (about the only payed work he can get or wish to do) and viewed as a Ronin (Master-less Samurai). Along with his three-year-old son, Daigoro, they seek revenge on the Yagyu clan and are known as "Lone Wolf and Cub".

A slice of Japanese culture as Black 'n' White as any Western!

[ First Comics closed down in 1991, with 45 issues of 'Lone Wolf and Cub' published out of a possible 140 to150 issues to complete the story]

[NOTE: Dark Horse Comics 2014's OMNIBUS are in print, and include 3 Volumes per Omnibus.  NEW Lone Wolf and Cub are also in print. as of 2022]

[The Lone Wolf and Cub story has been adapted into more than six films starring Tomisaburo Wakayama (edited in the West as 'Shogun Assassin', and almost banned for its extreme violence), four plays, a television series starring Yorozuya Kinnosuke (very highly praised for a TV drama, season 1 now out on DVD - not season 2 or 3), and is the monologue from the unseen TV in Kill Bill Volume 2, and who's cameos pop up in many an animation.]

[UPDATE: Collection of issues 1 to 45 now complete]


Frank Miller  has the credits for Cover illustrations' and introductions for the First English printing of 'Lone Wolf and Cub", from May1987, to October 1988.

Frank Miller's cover art, issues 1 to 12.

[Looking for adverts from FIRST COMICS, lead me to blindly buy a set of comic books printed in 1987 to 1988.]

FIRST NOTES March 1987.
"What is 'Lone Wolf and Cub' .

Coming soon; LONE WOLF AND CUB.


Issue #1, ON SALE IN MAY! (1987).

Don Thompson (Editor of 'Comics Buyer's Guide),
"This one is going to sell out fast... Miss it at your peril."
Gerard Jones (Amazing Heroes),
"A feast of powerful action art...even more powerful than a movie could be."

Subscribe for a year's worth of Comics.

Subscribe for a year's worth of Comics.

Subscribe for a year's worth of Comics.

Subscribe for a year's worth of Comics.

YEAR TWO, issue #13 coming in May NEW cover art by BILL SIEKIEWICZ.

"The international publishing event of the year" - issue #9 coming in January.

YEAR THREE, issue #25 coming in May NEW cover art by MATT WAGNER.

Graphitti Designs.
Get your "LONE WOLF and CUB" T-Shirts from Graphitti Designs.

"Lone Wolf and Cub" Volume ONE a TPB with 392 pages 
(including an 8 Special colour section), for $19.95  Coming in November.

"Lone Wolf and Cub" Volume ONE a TPB with 392 pages 
(including an 8 Special colour section), for $19.95  Coming in November.

[NOTE: As of September 2022 I am looking for Adverts promoting the 1st. issue of "Lone Wolf and Cub, with acknowledgments to FRANK MILLER's writing contribution, and his cover artwork.  UPDATE, Now have issues of 'The chronicles of Corum' 1987-1988, And I was lucky to find that they did have Advertisements for "Lone wolf and Cub". See above.]

The Prolog.

The devotion of the 47 Loyal Retainers' giri, is now more known to the Westerner in the story of the 47 Ronin.  See also Frank Miller's Ronin for DC Comics. for his Notable works.
Frank Miller, Los Angeles, 1987.©

"For the longest time I couldn't read the words in my favorite comic book."
Frank Miller, Los Angeles, 1987.©

Of comic book, and Graphic novels..... Frank Miller. Los Angeles 1987.©

Frank Miller. Los Angeles 1987.©

Frank Miller. Los Angeles 1987.©

Frank Miller. Los Angeles 1987.©

Frank Miller. Los Angeles 1987.©

Frank Miller. Los Angeles 1987.©

Frank Miller. Los Angeles 1987.©

Frank Miller. Los Angeles 1988.©


In translation, and culture.

Six million readers can't be wrong.

At least two pages of a glossary.

GLOSSARY ONE; Omote-Yagyu, Ura-Yagyu.

GLOSSARY TWO;  Jodo, Mon, Ryo.

Genealogy of Manga;

Kazuo Koike (Died April 17, 2019 at the aged of 82)
Writer, Manga Writer, Screen playwright.
Lone Wolf and Cub (1970–1976)
Crying Freeman (1986–1988)  Manga-in-80s-pt-17 Crying Freeman.
Samurai Executioner (1972–1976)
Mad Bull 34 (1985–1991)
Lady Snowblood (1972–1973) AND the Script writer for 'Lady Snowblood'(1973)
Hanappe Bazooka (June of 1979 & January of 1982)

Notable works; 
X-Men Unlimited #50, 2003

Kazuo_Koike (Wiki link).

Goseki Kojima (Died on January 5, 2000 at the aged of 71)
Penciller, Inker, Manga Artist.

Lone Wolf and Cub (1970–1976)
Samurai Executioner (1972–1976)

Kogarashi Monjirō (a novel by Saho Sasazawa, was adapted into manga in the 1970's.)

Kogarashi_Monjir (Wiki link).

Kazuo Koike & Goseki Kojima Biographies (1987).

[UPDATE: A Collection of the TV series; 6 volumes, 12 DVDs, and a total of  26 episodes.]


Back cover
[NOTE: The story of Itto Ogami, and his son Daigoro, wlking the path of Hell, as Ogami, now a dishonoured Rhonin survives as an Assassin known by many as “lone Wolf and Cub”.  Seeking to exact revenge upon the Yagyu Clan, for the murder of his wife, and household.  Main cast: Kinnosuke Nakamura as Ittô Ogami, and Katzutaka Nishikawa as Daigoro Ogami  Originally broadcast in 1973. Season one ran from April 1 to September 30, 1973.]

USA DVD (NTSC) Distribution\English Production by “Tokyo Shock”. 2009 (26 Episodes from 27).

Episode :1 My Son and My Sword for Hire

Episode:2 Oyuki of the Gomune *

Episode:3 Fangs of the Wolf

Episode:4 Ikkoku-Bashi Bridge

Episode:5 Highway of Assassins

Episode:6 The Lowly Maid

Episode:7 Amya and Anema

Episode:8 The Guns of Sakai

Episode:9 The Castle Wall Attack

Episode:10 Six Roads to Infinity

Episode:11 Baby Cart on the River Styx

Episode:12 Deer Hunters

Episode :13 O-Chiyo's Boat

Episode:14 No Betrayal

Episode:15 North to South, East to West

Episode:16 Night of Fangs

Episode:17 Cloud Tiger, Wind Dragon

Episode:18 Executioner Asaemon

Episode:19 Half Mat, One Mat, Two And A Half Go Of Rice

Episode:20 The 8 Gate Attack Formation

Episode:21 Chrysanthemum Inn

Episode:22 The Crossing Guard

Episode:23The Tragedy Of Beku No Ji

Episode:24 Thread of Tears

Episode:25 Secret document of Yagyu

Episode:26 Daigoro's song

Episode:27 Drifting Shadow

[NOTE: Episode 2 ( Oyuki of the Gomune) has subsequently been removed from all TV broadcasts and DVD releases. - Source - ]

[NOTE: As far as I know (pre. 2022), Season two which ran from April 7 to September 29, 1974, and Season three which ran from April 4 to September 26, 1976. have not been released for an English speaking public!]

[NOTE: DVD and Blu-Ray releases can be found of the six films, and that of the American Dub.]

The complete LONE WOLF AND CUB boxed set, 

1. Sword of Vengeance (1972).
2. Baby cart at the river of Styx (1972).
3. Baby cart to Hades (1972).
4. Baby cart in Peril. (1972).
5. Baby cart in the land of Demons. (1973).
6. White Heaven in HELL (1974).

[NOTE: the infamous 'grindhouse' Dub 'n' Cut of the 80's.]


Kazuo Koike 
(Born; May 8, 1936, Died April 17, 2019 at the aged of 82)

Goseki Kojima 
(Born; November 3, 1928, Died on January 5, 2000 at the aged of 71)

Genealogy of comic books in regards their influence from 'Lone Wolf and Cub'.

Frank Miller's "Ronin "
Frank Miller's RONIN (TPB 1987)

Frank Miller's RONIN 

SO you have scrolled down this far.... for the future historians;


[NOTE: The influence of this story, to this day, still crops up, and many films, and TV shows alike; "The Mandalorian", and  Grogu choice.]

We see the first issue of Frank Miller's RONIN:BOOK TWO released on November 23rd. 2022, and the second to be released on January 18th. 2023.

The creator-owned publishing house FMP (Frank Miller Presents), has gone back to a beloved title such as RONIN, with a NEW story, for Frank Miller's RONIN: Book Two (a six part mini series) and, an Art style (at first glance) now weighted with the influenced of Japanese Manga, and depicted in 'Black & White'.

This new series serve as a continuation of the story Miller introduced in 1983, that ended in August of 1984 three years before introducing us to his favourite comic, the Manga of 'Lone Wolf and Cub'. Miller is scripting the series and providing pencil layouts, with Philip Tan handling the finished pencil work and Daniel Henriques doing the inking. 

Will this be another gateway to the classic Manga?

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