Do you cry when you read comics? Have you? Ever?
I've just completed reading the last chapter of the legendary 'Lone Wolf and Cub', created by the revered Japanese Manga masters Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima. And I've gone all misty-eyed.
THIS is the joy of comics. The long, arduous redemption journey undertaken by super-assassin Itto Ogami and his baby son Daigoro is an emotional roller-coaster that will amuse, delight, anger and move you like perhaps no other long-running comic series in memory. It's astonishing how writer and artist combine magically to create some of the most gripping and thought provoking sequences ever to grace the pages of popular comics - they combine so well it's almost impossible to believe that two separate people worked on the series. Indeed, sometimes you forget that you're reading a book at all - so powerful is the storytelling that it drags you right into the pages - you walk with Itto, witness his duels, feel the icy wind, want to pinch little Daigoro's cheeks.
And if you, like many readers in India, are used only to American comics, then the experience will perhaps be even more moving. Think of this as the first time for a Manga virgin, if you will. Pages of contemplative, delicately paced sequences suddenly tumble into a mad flurry of bloody, furious combat. Scenes depicting complex human emotions and delicately crafted conversations slowly melt into long sections without a single spoken word. Breathtaking stuff.
And the finale! Let it be enough to say it stands alongside the most powerful, poignant and heart-rending climaxes I've come across in ANY entertainment medium. If you're a comics fan, a fan of Japanese martial arts stories, or simply someone who delights in good fiction, you can't go wrong with 'Lone Wolf and Cub'.