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Tuesday 26 November 2013

Manga in the 80's Pt. 17

Crying Freeman. Written by Kazuo Koike and illustrated by Ryoichi Ikegami . Viz Comics
published in a monthly format broken down in to 5 parts with a total of 46 issues, from October 1989 to September 1993 . The manga was originally published between 1985 and 1989 by Shoakukan inc.
A potter by trade Freeman was snatched off the street in Japan by the Chinese Triad (Mafia) called the "108 Dragons" and subjected to drugs, acupuncture and hypnosis to bend his will to serve as an assassin and their puppet, from then on he's only release of emotion is that he sheds tears after he kills each of his targets.

To denote his affiliation to the "108 Dragons" his body is extensively covered in a single tattoo of an Oriental Dragon (in a style similar to the Japanese Yakuza).

As you read the story of the underworld, it unfolds that Freeman is embroiled in, you see how he becomes an  individual who loves and not just a puppet assassin who leaves no witnesses.  

With the label “For mature readers only” you would be forgiven to think that the nudity and violence is only for titillation but with story written by Koike who brought us “Lone Wolf and Cub” and Ikegami who's artwork was first introduced to us from "Mai, the Psychic Girl" we find the adult themes dealt with in a such superior manner then bulk of western comic-books in dealing with how the characters interact, and in their relationships that are truly human.

Crying Freeman sets the standard not only for the gangster genre, but for comic-books speaking to a mature audience.

[Note: From my own collection issues that I've found start at Part 2 issue #1 onwards. The 8 issues of Part One that are printed in B&W elude me!]

[Note: Crying freeman: Part four issues #1-3 were printed in colour from March 92 to May 92, then issues #4-8 were printed in Blank 'n' White spanning June 92 to October 92. Originally Part four was to be printed in Colour to run 7 issues from March 92 to September 92.]

Genealogy of Manga;

"Crying freeman" Written by Kazuo Koike 
"Lone Wolf and Cub",   Manga-in-80s Lone Wolf and Cub.
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

"Crying freeman"  Illustrated by Ryoichi Ikegami 
(Ryoichi Ikegami's illustrations can be seen in the English translated Manga of  "Mai, the Psychic girl & "Sanctuary").  Manga-in-80s Mai the Psychic girl.

[UPDATE: Collection of issues from PARTS ONE to FIVE, and issues 1 to 46 now complete.]

Crying Freeman 
Part One #1 to #8. 

Crying Freeman 
Part  Two #1 to #9. 

Crying Freeman 
Part Three #1 to #10. 

Crying Freeman 
Part Four #1 to #8. 

Crying Freeman 
Part Five #1 to #11 .

[Note: Crying Freeman Part One #1-8 (Oct1989 - May1990); Part Two #1-9 (1990 – 1991); Part Three #1-10 (1991- 1992); Part Four #1-8 (Mar 1992- Oct 1992); Part Five #1-11 (Nov 1992- Sep 1993).]

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