Ba baaa ba badabap. Waa waaaaa. Ba baaaa ba badabap. (insert melodic crooning here)

That, my friends, is the only thing I missed in this first volume of Cowboy Bebop –the groovy jazz score that enlivens the anime show is a sad but inevitable loss. Nonetheless, my favorite interstellar bounty hunters from Mars fills these pages with all the teasing banter; the tireless, if often hopeless, pursuit of piles of woolongs (i.e. cold hard cash); and the occasional shows of mercy that make the TV show kinetic fun. There’s no need to have seen the show to appreciate the tale: on the Bebop, a junky but reliable spaceship, three professional bounty hunters haunt the planets, living like a dysfunctional family, and pursue any elusive prize that will allow them to retire drowning in wealth. The spiky haired, loose-limbed Spike charms with his low-key wit while the sexy cardshark Faye Valentine pursues money with a single-mindedness that excludes everything  including the soft spot she may have for Spike. Jet Black, a solid ex-cop, grounds the crew in reality. Wacky hijinks definitely ensue, from pursuing an ex-con who turns out to favor drag over violence to falling for a reality-TV ploy, though moments of seriousness are well-plotted and lend weight and mystery to the characters’ backstories. So, get your hands on the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack and read.

Cowboy Bebop, vol. 1
ISBN 9781931514910
By Yutaka Nanten and Hajime Yatate
Tokyopop 2000

  • Robin B.

    | She/Her Teen Librarian, Public Library of Brookline

    Editor in Chief

    Robin E. Brenner is Teen Librarian at the Brookline Public Library in Massachusetts. She has chaired the American Library Association Great Graphic Novels for Teens Selection List Committee, the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee, and served on the Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She is currently the President of the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table for ALA. She was a judge for the 2007 Eisner awards, helped judge the Boston Globe Horn Book Awards in 2011, and contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. She regularly gives lectures and workshops on graphic novels, manga, and anime at comics conventions including New York and San Diego Comic-Con and at the American Library Association’s conferences. Her guide, Understanding Manga and Anime (Libraries Unlimited, 2007), was nominated for a 2008 Eisner Award.

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