A Year of Cool Comics - Day 7

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here's the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we look at the first two volumes of Dan Hipp's Gyakushu...


You probably know Dan Hipp as the artist on the amazing comic book series The Amazing Joy Buzzards (along with writer Mark Smith). If you don't know about the Joy Buzzards, well...that's a future installment of this feature right there.

Anyhow, Hipp is a mighty fine artist - a guy who is known for his dynamic manga-esque artwork. He put out a series from Tokyopop called Gyakushu - two volumes of the three volume work have been released.

Just in case you were wondering what "Gyakushu" means, exactly, Hipp nicely explains it in the first volume.

Gyakushu is about a daring thief who went on many adventures with his two thief buddies - one, a man who he grew up with since childhood and the other, a woman who loved him although he ended up falling for her sister.

He retired from thievery to raise his son with his wife (the aforementioned sister) in an idyllic village far from the troubles of society.

Of course, things never go well.

The narrator of the tale explains just how poorly things went...


Click on the last page to enlarge.

(By the by, in the second volume, there is a great twist involving the narrator. I was quite impressed).

The story of the series is about that thief who has somehow survived the horrors of the past, and now, years later, he is back for revenge (going by just "The Thief). Due to his injuries, he is basically a freak, forced to wear bandages from head to foot because of his grave wounds (he looks like a walking mummy, essentially). However, he is driven to keep on due to his motivation of attaining revenge on all those who have wronged him.

It's a dark tale of revenge and violence, and Hipp does a great job of darkening his typical lighter style to fit the mood of the book perfectly.

Really, the first volume of Gyakushu is carried a bit by Hipp's art more than his writing. It is not that his writing is poor, but it is a bit clunky at times. Luckily, he has pages and pages of striking work to make Volume 1 still worth the read.

By the end of Volume 1, Hipp's writing has sharpened up and in Volume 2, he improves greatly, weaving a much sharper story with a great deal of twists and turns and, of course, great fight sequences geared to his ultra-dynamic art style.

Here is a fun sequence from the first volume...

Things are even stronger in the second volume, while still maintaining the vitality and dynamism that you see above.

Gyakushu is a dark tale of revenge, yet Hipp is so dynamic with his sequences that you end up having fun reading it, despite the dark nature of it all! It's a rollicking adventure with amazing artwork that gets trickier as volume two continues, with a finish that sets the whole tale on its end. It's well worth a read.

And on that note, BOY are you in for a treat!!

You see, starting this Monday, January 11th, Hipp will be allowing readers to read the ENTIRETY of Volumes 1 AND 2!!

PLUS the first third of Volume 3!!!

This is all a part of the promotion for the release of Volume 3, which will hopefully be announced soon (although hopefully, if you like what you see, you'll also buy Volumes 1 and 2 to have them in print form).

Go to the website http://www.thethiefisdead.blogspot.com/ this Monday to read this impressive first graphic novel by a great comic book creator.

In the future (separate from this feature) I'll have a review of Volume 3, as well.

I sure hope that someone collects all three volumes into one big book at some point!

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