Tag Archives: stan sakai

GAUMONT OPTIONS STAN SAKAI’S ICONIC COMIC BOOK SERIES “USAGI YOJIMBO”

Gaumont has optioned the iconic, multi-generational comic book series Usagi Yojimbo from the series creator, writer, and illustrator Stan Sakai, to be developed into an animated TV series. First published in 1984, the multiple award-winning Usagi Yojimbo is to be co-produced by Gaumont, Sakai, James Wan’s Atomic Monster, and Dark Horse Entertainment’s Mike Richardson and Keith Goldberg who will serve as executive producers, with Chris Tongue as co-executive producer. The announcement was made today by Gaumont’s President of Animation, Nicolas Atlan.

“Usagi Yojimbo has been much sought after for many years, and we are honored to work with Stan Sakai to translate his multi-generational stories into the first ever TV series,” commented Atlan. “Usagi Yojimbo’s blend of history and mythology, clever balance between action and comedy, and real-world touchpoints combined with the supernatural, together with the passionate fan base that Stan has already amassed, makes this an incredibly exciting property to develop with our partners Atomic Monster and Dark Horse Entertainment.”

“We get fan mail from readers of all ages across the globe who have been asking to see Usagi Yojimbo in his own TV series,” added Sakai. “With Gaumont, James Wan and his team at Atomic Monster, and Dark Horse Entertainment, we have the best creative talent on board to bring the adventures I have been creating for over 30 years to life.”

“I’ve been an admirer of Stan’s comic series for a long time and it’s an honor to have the opportunity to bring this character and the rich world that Stan’s created to life for a new generation,” said James Wan.

“I’ve long admired Stan Sakai and his storytelling abilities,” said Mike Richardson, Dark Horse Entertainment President. “Stan built an amazing world that Dark Horse has enjoyed exploring in comic book form. We’re thrilled to be part of further exploration in a new, exciting medium.”

Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo takes place amidst a rich fantasy setting in 17th century Japan and features a diverse world of anthropomorphic characters. Miyamoto Usagi, otherwise known as Usagi Yojimbo, is a ronin warrior with the heart of a hero. A skilled swordsrabbit, and one-time bodyguard for a Japanese War Lord, he’s now masterless, and explores his world of immense castles and humble villages, encountering dinosaurs, Yokai (ghosts/monsters), cats, bats, bounty hunters, giant snakes, and even aliens, facing exciting adventures at every turn, always ready to help.

Usagi Yojimbo is no stranger to the TV screen having appeared in all three Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series. Usagi debuted in TMNT in 1987 and he most recently appeared in Nickelodeon’s three-episode arc in the summer of 2017.

Usagi Yojimbo has amassed numerous awards and recognition over the past three decades. In the kid’s arena, the comics books have received a Parents’ Choice Award, an American Library Association Award, and the YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) award. Other accolades and awards include Usagi Yojimbo being named among the Top 50 comic book characters of all time by Empire Magazine, the top 100 comic book characters of all time by IGN, and the top 50 best non-superhero graphic novels by Rolling Stone magazine. Mr. Sakai is a five-time Eisner Award-winner and multiple Haxter (Spain) Award-winner, and he earned the “Best Cartoonist” Harvey Award in 2016. The Usagi Yojimbo comics have been translated into 15 languages and are available in 21 countries in English.

The Play’s The Thing with Aragones – “Groo: Play of the Gods” Review

If all the world’s a play, then consider Groo the Macbeth of barbarians. Say his name out loud and prepare to be cursed on your adventure!

In Sergio Aragone’s latest series from Dark Horse, “Groo: Play of the Gods,” the wandering swordsman and his canine companion – Rufferto – hit the high seas for a tale of gold, greed, gods, and even a little socio-political satire. Continuing where the last series, “Fray of the Gods” left off, Groo goes from accidentally joining a farmer’s rebellion to accidentally joining clergymen (AKA men with impressive hats) on a quest to convert natives in a faraway land discovered by Ahax, a recurring character whose seafaring escapades are often ruined by our titular character. Making their way to the island, the happy locals are accosted by followers of Diothos to convert, while Ahax and a money-hungry pirate try to con the indigenous folk for their gold – all in the name of their god. Meanwhile, up in the heavens, the actual Gods observe from afar and lament how people use their names in vain, while also combating with overpopulation from this newly discovered polytheistic people. Oh, and Groo hunts for cheese dip while searching for something to slay. What could possibly go wrong?

It’s truly a powerhouse team behind Groo, with Sergio Aragones handling the art and writing, lettering by the masterful hands of Stan Sakai, and signature coloring by Tom Luth. I remember the first time I read a Groo book when I was a kid, back when Marvel was handling it, and I enjoyed and remember it to this day. That feeling remains, as I still love Aragones’ drawings. My favorite are his splash pages, packed with whimsical characters plucked straight out of a fantasy setting and tossed into this farcical world of Groo. There is so much happening in every vibrantly colored panel, it’s definitely the type of book worth re-reading just to see what you missed the first time around.

What did surprise me was that this series tackles some satire about religion and even a dash of politics. Satire, like cheese dip, is best served hot and spicy, and Aragones delivers. His pointed exploration of the abuse of religion adds some depth to this all-ages book, and will give you something to think about.

Groo: Play of the Gods is available on February 7 from Dark Horse Comics. It’s an easy read and meant for readers of all ages, and I highly recommend it if you are a fan of funny cartoons, barbarians, and fantasy. What will happen next for this buffoonish barbarian? Only his creator knows, but I will be waiting with some fresh cheese dip for him once the next volume is released.

“The Sakai Project” celebrates 30 years of Usagi Yojimbo & helps a great cause

The most amazing artists in the world have come together to celebrate thirty years of Stan Sakai’s marvelous samurai rabbit saga, Usagi Yojimbo, in a new oversized hardcover benefit book: The Sakai Project: Artists Celebrate Thirty Years of “Usagi Yojimbo”!

“It has been an absolute pleasure publishing Stan’s work over the years, and recently collaborating with him directly on 47 Ronin,” said Dark Horse’s president and founder, Mike Richardson. “With the thirtieth anniversary of his most beloved creation, Usagi, and in a time of need for Stan and his family, we are honored to publish this tribute to Stan and his work. We are donating all of the proceeds to Stan and his wife, Sharon. We hope you will join us in honoring one of the comics industry’s shining lights.”

The participating artists bring their own interpretations and their own styles to the subject, making this book a one-of-a-kind treasure.

The Sakai Project is produced in association with the Comic Art Professional Society (CAPS). All proceeds from this book will go to Stan and Sharon Sakai.

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ADAM HUGHES | ALAIN MAURICET | ALEX MALEEV | ALLISON SOHN | ANDY GRENEN | ARTHUR ADAMS | BATTON LASH | BILL MORRISON | BRIAN CHING & MICHAEL ATIYEH | BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS | CARLOS D’ANDA & GABE ELTAEB | CHRIS SCALF | DAN PANOSIAN | DAVE GIBBONS | DAVID MACK | DOUG WHEATLEY | EDGAR DELGADO | ERIC POWELL | GABRIEL HARDMAN | GEOF DARROW | HOWARD CHAYKIN | JAN DUURSEMA | JEFF SMITH | JOYCE CHIN | MARK CRILLEY | MATT GROENING | MATT WAGNER | MICHAEL ALLRED | MICHAEL AVON OEMING | MICHAEL GOLDEN | MIKE KUNKEL | MIKE MIGNOLA | OSCAR MARTIN | PAUL GULACY | PAUL RENAUD | PHIL YEH | RICHARD CORBEN | SCOTT SHAW | SERGIO ARAGONÉS | STEPHANIE GLADDEN | TIM SALE | TOM MANDRAKE | TOM RICHMOND | WALTER SIMONSON | WILLIAM STOUT | & MORE!

Industry professionals, Dark Horse encourages your participation! The deadline for art submissions is February 20, 2014. For technical specifications and other information, e-mail Dark Horse at sakaiproject@darkhorse.com.

The Sakai Project will be released on July 23. Pre-order with your local comics retailer.

“47 Ronin” by Sakai coming soon to Dark Horse Comics

Dark Horse Comics is proud to announce a historical comic adaptation of the tale of the 47 ronin: A story of loyalty, sacrifice, persistence, and honor.

Written by Dark Horse president Mike Richardson and drawn by multiple Eisner Award winner Stan Sakai, 47 Ronin tells the tale of a daimyo (feudal lord) who was forced to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) and his samurai-turned-ronin who avenged his wrongful death.

“I’ve been fascinated with this story from the earliest days of Dark Horse, visiting the significant locations and doing research during my trips to Japan. 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,” said Mike Richardson. “Stan Sakai is a master storyteller who knows the material, and his artistic interpretation is perfect for the story. What’s more, my friend, legendary manga writer Kazuo Koike (Lone Wolf and Cub), has served as editorial consultant for the project.”

47 Ronin marks the first time Stan Sakai has collaborated extensively with another writer. He promises stylized artwork in the vein of traditional Japanese woodblock prints—one of the most popular depictions of the 47 ronin.

“I have known the 47 Ronin story about all my life, and I paid a pilgrimage to their gravesite when I was in Japan in 2009. This is a significant event in Japanese history, and when Mike asked me to illustrate the story I jumped at the chance. 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,” said Stan Sakai.

47 Ronin will be on comic stands November 2012.