I was working at a comic book store back when Dark Horse released the first of 28 volumes of a series I had never heard of called Lone Wolf and Cub. We had gotten in a larger number of copies of the book. Back then this was typical for our usual manga order. But, besides a cursory examination of the item I had no idea of its true significance.
Over the next few days several customers came in demanding to know where the book was, and ordering us to put the entire series down on their subscription list. It was explained by several excited people—who weren’t typically the ‘mangaka’ type—that this series had been released in the U.S. previously but had stopped before the final issues had come out. The relief that these customers felt at the knowledge that they would at last know what happened at the end was impressive. Furthermore, I had learned that our sister store in Sacramento had a competition to see who could sell the most copies of this title. By the time I heard of this, Sacramento had already been able to unload dozens of them. Between the excited fans at the store and the obvious potential for increased sales, I decided to redress this obvious oversight in my product knowledge and check it out.
I can only say now that I am thankful that I picked this book up. Lone Wolf and Cub, without exaggeration or hyperbole, is one of the finest stories I have ever read. It is powerful, exciting, and is emblematic of everything that makes me enjoying reading. For those of you who haven’t read, I envy you. You’re about to embark on one of the greatest reads in literature. And for those of you who have read it, read it again. I’m researching this series of features for the Iconographies I’ve had the joy of rereading Lone Wolf and Cub. And though I’ve reread it several times already, I am continually amazed and the subtle layers and brilliant nuance of the story.
My first essay will give a brief history of the story and analyze the way it has influenced other creators. The subsequent essays will examine the important characters, themes, and innovations that have all come together to create this masterpiece. I encourage any fans of the series to please comment on the articles and share your thoughts about Lone Wolf and Cub.