Born in 1936 in Japan’s Akita prefecture, Koike was as much an educator as a writer, having helped establish the Koike Gekiga Sonjuku training school for manga creators. He was the perfect teacher, after all, his innovations in the realm of samurai manga being some of the very first to be published in North America. His work was also adapted into numerous films that helped launch the career of Tomisaburo Wakayama and inspire the likes of Frank Miller and Quentin Tarantino, who drew heavily upon the Lady Snowblood adaptation while making Kill Bill. There’s been recent talk of a stateside adaptation of Lone Wolf And Cub, with Ghost In The Shell producer Steven Paul having bought the rights.
A prolific creator, Koike also produced manga like Samurai Executioner, Crying Freeman, Mad Bull 34, and Mad Bull 2000, as well as Hulk: The Manga for Marvel. In 2004, he was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame.