The Cowboy Bebop Crew's Adventures Continue In Its Forgotten Comics
Cowboy Bebop was originally an anime, not a manga, but that doesn't mean there aren't Cowboy Bebop manga out there full of new adventures.
Despite only having 26 episodes (and one movie), Cowboy Bebop is one of the most popular shows of all time, at least in the West. Fans can easily find themselves wanting more, though, and for the most devoted fans, there's still a Cowboy Bebop comic to check out.
Most anime series are based on previously written manga, but Cowboy Bebop was always intended to be an anime first. Bebop did have a manga shortly before the anime's release called Cowboy Bebop: Shooting Star, though it's largely its own thing. What's more, there's a second comic, which fans are probably looking forward to more: additional one-off stories where, like episodes of the series, the cast members interact and do their thing.
Cowboy Bebop comics began in October 1998 and ran through February 2000, starting after the series debut and ending long after the series ended. Written by Yutaka Nanten, each chapter tells a self-contained story of Cowboy Bebop's heroes hunting down a new bounty head, often focusing on one character. Stories in these chapters include a prison break, a reporter embedding himself in a Bebop, and a break-in And Faye Wong's old partner. The art style is slightly different from the series; the manga is actually published in the monthly Asuka Fantasy DX shoujo (young girl) manga magazine, so it's styled more like other shoujo series such as Sailor Moon. These differences are most evident in Cowboy Bebop's Faye, but not so much as to affect anyone's ability to enjoy the comics.
Is the Cowboy Bebop Manga Any Good?
The Cowboy Bebop manga was collected into 3 volumes and 11 chapters. Most chapters have the full cast, suggesting that these stories are set after Edward joins the Bebop team in Episode 9 "Jamming with Edward". The chapters are of slightly lower quality than the main series; for example, a story involving a modified playing card taken from a casino and Jet's past as a cop basically mixes up the plot of "Honky Tonk Woman" and "Ganymede Elegy". Another one with a rather unfortunate gay scare, as Spike discovers his escape target is dressed like a woman and wants to be called Marilyn. As such, the manga feels more dated than the anime, though the dialogue seems to capture the spirit The characters are fine. Like many comics from the late 90s and early 2000s, Cowboy Bebop has been out of print for a long time, making it very expensive to buy. Given its quality and difficulty, it's probably not worth trying to track down the manga for most people.
However, for those most devoted fans, the Cowboy Bebop comic represents a little-known corner of the Cowboy Bebop franchise, which may make it worth a look.