wasn’t going to buy anything other than coffee when my wife and I visited a cafe/comic/game/manga store. But when I saw Lupin III: Thick as Thieves, a manga (Japanese comic) on their shelf and looked it over, okay, had to have it.
For those of you who don’t pay attention to things on the other side of the globe, the Lupin III phenomena is a popular and timeless Japanese story about Lupin, the grandson of the famous French Gentleman Thief (with one of the books of that series reviewed HERE). This new fellow is a comical character, with his monkey-face and his limber limbs – he’s more puppet than master thief. His associates include Jigen (a crack shot who has a goatee and wears snazzy clothing) and Goemon (a throwback master swordsman). Orbiting this three-body problem is the beautiful femme fatale Fujiko Mine, who sometimes helps and sometimes tricks our hero. And always in hot pursuit, Inspector Zanigata of the Japanese police force (traveling all ’round the world with his posse of cops, dedicated to bringing in our happy-go-lucky thief. It’s a wonderful balance of heroes, one that can go in any possible direction.
So Thick as Thieves is a collection of thirteen of the best of the Lupin stories, the second volume of the collection. I’d seen plenty of animes involving him (and generally liked them) but the comics were even better. The art reminds me of Robert Crumb with his “keep on trucking” dude, tossing a foot out and boogieing along, and the stories were similar to Will Eisner’s “The Spirit”. On a couple of them, I had to stop and go back an panel (or even a page) to fully understand just what had happened. But overall, each of the stories were a delight, full of twists, tricks and turns that make for good storytelling.
Yes, I really have to recommend this collection. Who knows – if the rest of the year sucks, I might have something for the “Best of 2024” already in my back pocket.