For a brief period of time, while I was working in Baltimore, I was a weekly purchaser of single-issue comic books. I enjoyed it, but after we moved back to Ithaca I gave up the practice (much to the betterment of my wallet). However, there are times when one must make exceptions to even the best of habits.
This is one of those times.
All I can say is: finally.
The Tompkins County Public Library has an amazing collection of graphic novels, including the entire run of the manga masterpiece Lone Wolf and Cub. Being able to get those books out, often five or six volumes at a time, was a phenomenal thing for me a few years back; the work truly lived up to its reputation.
Two weeks ago, I checked out Lone Wolf and Cub 2100 from the same library. This more recent, American work, adapted the tale into a shorter form, and temporally shifted the setting into a post-apocalyptic future. It was entertaining, but lacked the power and impact of the original. I also couldn’t help thinking that I’d read a better post-apocalyptic LW&C pastiche. Then I remembered: I had, years before, and was called Grendel: War Child. Unfortunately, I’d read borrowed copies of the original single issues, and the library didn’t own the compilation.
Thank goodness for interlibrary loan.
A week later, I was reading through said compilation and finding my memories of its quality were not unearned (though it may be the goriest of the three works cited here, which is something of an achievement). It was also interesting that it inverted a common element of American works that draw on Japanese inspirations: it was in many ways a samurai story with a cowboy ending, rather than the reverse.
This sort of thing is why I love libraries.