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Stan Sakai and Mike Richardson Team for ’47 Ronin’ Comic Adaptation at Dark Horse

A true-life tale of revenge from the 18th century that has been called “Japan’s national legend” and been turned into opera, television, movies and woodblock prints for more than two hundred years is coming to comics, courtesy of Dark Horse Comics. But if you’re worried that the story of the 47 Ronin won’t be treated with the respect that it deserves, you needn’t be; one half of the creative team is Usagi Yojimbo creator and multiple-award winner Stan Sakai, and one of the creators of classic manga Lone Wolf and Cub is also involved.The legend of the 47 Ronin is based on the actions of a group of former samurai who set out to avenge the death of their daimyo (feudal lord) after he had been forced to commit ritual suicide. Becoming ronin by nature of losing their leader, the 47 warriors plotted for years to kill the man responsible for their daimyo’s death before, in turn, being forced to kill themselves for having committed murder by doing so.

47 Ronin will mark the first long form collaboration between Sakai and another writer, in this case Dark Horse President Mike Richardson. “For years I’ve been looking for just the right artist and it finally dawned on me that he was right here at Dark Horse,” Richardson explained, adding that “Stan Sakai is a master storyteller who knows the material, and his artistic interpretation is perfect for the story.”

Sakai – who plans to draw the series in a stylized fashion that’ll recall traditional Japanese woodblocks – says that he has been familiar with the legend “all [his] life,” and that he’s even visited their gravesite in Japan a few years ago. “This is a significant event in Japanese history, and when Mike asked me to illustrate the story I jumped at the chance,” he’s quoted as saying in Dark Horse’s official announcement of the project. “I’m known for the research I do, but I was amazed at the research and knowledge Mike already had. I’m having a blast with this.”

In addition to Richardson and Sakai, Lone Wolf and Cub writer Kazuo Koike is involved with the project as an editorial consultant. Final details about the comic are still to be revealed, but a November 2012 release date is already promised.

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