With the exception of perhaps Marvel, Dark Horse Comics may have been the publisher that broke the most news about its upcoming books at New York Comic-Con this year. That includes new stories from Eric Powell and Sergio Aragonés, the latest adventures from the Eisner-winning Itty Bitty team, prestige collections of Kabuki and Pistolwhip, brand new horror tales from some of the masters of the form, and much more.
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Usagi Yojimbo creator Stan Sakai has been in the news quite a bit over the past few months as his peers, publisher and fans have raised money to help him out of a dire financial situation. Plus, it's Usagi's 30th anniversary.
So far, the efforts seem to have gone pretty well, and there seems to be more good news on the horizon: An animated, direct-to-DVD feature film starring the rabbit ronin, whose exploits are currently published by Dark Horse Comics.
Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo is a favorite here at ComicsAlliance for a very good reason. For the past thirty years, it's been one of the most beautifully constructed comics on the stands, blending note-perfect character work with epic storytelling, building a world that feels real even when it's populated by wandering bunny rabbits and grumpy rhinos. Now, in celebration of the book's 30th anniversary, Dark Horse is putting out a massive tribute to Sakai and Usagi Yojimbo called The Sakai Project, with a roster of 262 creators paying tribute to one of comics' true masterpieces.
The Sakai Project will debut this week at Comic-Con International in San Diego, where it will be available at the Dark Horse booth for $29.99. All proceeds will go to Sakai and his wife, to help them with recent medical expenses. Check out the full roster of creators below!
Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo is a modern masterpiece of comic book storytelling, in a way, that's kind of its only problem. The long-running series is consistently and unquestionably one of the best things on the stands month in and month out, but it's been so good for so long that it can be difficult for your ol' pals at ComicsAlliance to talk about. For Usagi Yojimbo, being phenomenally good isn't news, it's the status quo.
That's why I'm always on the lookout for a big shake-up to happen in the story of everyone's favorite bunny rabbit samurai, and this week, Dark Horse announced a good one: Usagi Yojimbo: Senso, a new miniseries set 20 years after the events of the ongoing series, where the final battle between Lord Noriyuki and Lord Hikiji is interrupted... by a crashed rocket ship. Really. Check out a preview below!
Stan Sakai's name has been in the news lately as the Cartoon Art Professional Society has been raising money to help pay the medical bills for his wife, Sharon, who suffers a debilitating illness. That financial setback hasn't stopped the prolific creator of Usagi Yojimbo from working, however. Indeed a new, six-issue miniseries titled Usagi Yojimbo: Senso is set to start in August. Plus, in celebration of the character's 30th anniversary, Dark Horse will publish The Usagi Yojimbo Saga, a series of omnibus collections will gather the samurai rabbit's adventures.
If you weren’t aware of it before the past few weeks, even a passing interest in the recent Internet comics community likely informed you of the medical-expense-related plight a high-profile pair of comic book creators have been experiencing . First, there was Stan Sakai, the creator of Usagi Yojimbo, in dire straits because of an extended hospital stay for his wife, Sharon. Then there’s Bill Mantlo, the co-creator of Rocket Raccoon, who was severely injured in a skating accident 22 years ago and has required full-time care ever since. (He’s been under care for two decades, but Rocket's appearance in the forthcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie has brought him back into the public eye.)
Both of these men have had to turn to donations from fans and colleagues to help with their considerable expenses, and those people have made admirable efforts to help these creative artists whose work has brightened their lives. Generosity is a good thing. But it shouldn’t have to be this way.
A few months ago, news that Usagi Yojimbo creator Stan Sakai had come upon financial difficulties due to the ongoing illness of his wife, Sharon, led the Cartoon Art Professional Society to step up and help. Now, Dark Horse Comics is pitching in, too.
To celebrate 30 years of Usagi, the publisher has assembled a murderer's row of artists including Adam Hughes, Art Adams, Dave Gibbons, Geof Darrow, Walter Simonson, Mike Mignola and Tim Sale for a new oversized hardcover called The Sakai Project. All the proceed from the book, which comes out July 23, will go to the Sakais.
Even the most talented and prolific cartoonists can hit hard times.
Case in point: Usagi Yojimbo creator Stan Sakai is in need of some financial help after his wife, Sharon, who has suffered from a debilitating illness for quite a while now, had a long stay in the hospital. Sharon's back home now, but she needs 24-hour in-home care and several costly medications. The Cartoon Art Professional Society, a group of comics creators, has organized an effort to help.
Since 1984 artist Stan Sakai has worked to create a Ronin world starring arguably the most recognizable cartoon rabbit this side of Bugs Bunny with his epic Usagi Yojimbo and its assorted spinoffs. But before Usagi, Sakai was telling the tale of another warrior rabbit -- one that Usagi just so happened to spin out of himself. Following the character's return in the pages of Dark Horse Presents #30 this November, Dark Horse Comics will gives readers complete access to Sakai's The Adventures of Nilson Groundthumper and Hermy this March with a 104-page hardcover collecting all of the previously-published sword and sorcery style stories from their assorted releases in the late 1970s and early '80s.
On sale next week from Archaia is Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard #1 (V2), beginning an all-new anthology series that invites some of comics' most talented creators to tell stories set throughout the endlessly charming, frequently funny and always harrowing mediaval world of mice created by David Petersen. This first issue contains framing sequences by Petersen himself that introduce the mechanism by which new stories by Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo), Ben Caldwell (Wednesday Comics' "Wonder Woman") and Nick Tapalansky and Alex-Eckman Lawn (Awakening) will unfold: a storytelling contesthosted in old Madame June's mouse tavern. The prize for the best tale? A zeroed out bar tab.