Kazuo Koike’s samurai epic Lone Wolf and Cub has long been considered a masterpiece of graphic fiction, a title I enjoyed reading in English back when First Comics began to publish the story in the 1980s. Well, good news – US publisher Dark Horse, who previously published the entire tale, has announced the release of the oversized gallery edition, coming in 2018.
Lone Wolf and Cub is a staggering, sprawling epic, and a tour de force of storytelling, both in the complex, emotional narrative of writer/creator Kazuo Koike and the explosive kineticism and subtle expressiveness of artist Goseki Kojima.
First published in 1970, published in the story was adapted into six films starring Tomisaburo Wakayama, four plays, a television series starring Kinnosuke Yorozuya, and is widely recognized as an important and influential work.
Although attempts to bring a new take on the story on film go back as far as 2003, it’s hoped the latest attempt from Star Trek: Beyond and some Fast and the Furious films director Justin Lin, through his company Perfect Storm, will go ahead. Lin is also hoping to direct the new adaptation, written by Andrew Kevin Walker (Se7en, Sleepy Hollow).
Lone Wolf and Cub chronicles the story of Ogami Ittō, the Shogun’s executioner who uses a dōtanuki battle sword. Disgraced by false accusations from the Yagyū clan, he is forced to take the path of the assassin. Along with his three-year-old son, Daigorō, they seek revenge on the Yagyū clan and are known as “Lone Wolf and Cub”.
The Manga was initially released in North America in a translated English edition by First Comics as a monthly title in 1987 featuring covers by Frank Miller, and later by Bill Sienkiewicz, Matt Wagner, Mike Ploog, and Ray Lago. The company went out of business before the story was represented in full, but Dark Horse Comics, who picked up the reins back in 2000, had more success, completing their collection of the entire series in 28 smaller-sized trade paperback volumes with longer page-counts in December 2002.
Dark Horse reused all of Miller’s covers from the First Comics edition, as well as several done by Sienkiewicz, and commissioned Wagner, Guy Davis, and Vince Locke to produce new covers for several volumes of the collections. The series has since been released digitally.
Featuring Kojima’s spectacular illustrations at original size on heavy-stock art paper, the Lone Wolf and Cub Gallery Edition utilises high-resolution full-size scans of the original art created over forty years ago, which Dark Horse says will give fans the opportunity to experience this spectacular body of work in as close to its original format as has ever been possible.
• Lone Wolf and Cub Gallery Edition HC goes on sale 23rd May 2018, and is available for pre-order from your local comic shop as well as book shops including Amazon (using this link helps support downthetubes, thank you)