Tag Archives: usagi yojimbo

Usagi Yojimbo Moves To IDW Comics For New Monthly Series

Our favorite samurai rabbit has found a new home, as Stan Sakai’s “Usagi Yojimbo” series is jumping from Dark Horse Comics to IDW Publishing.

The New York Times broke the news earlier today, and wrote that IDW will take the helm for the next full-color series from Stan Sakai. The new comics begin this June, with a monthly ongoing series, and will also be releasing full-color collected editions of the entire Usagi Yojimbo saga, which spans from 1984 until today.

Sakai spoke to the times for a telephone interview on Wednesday, and explained to their reporter that the series is “mainly fantasy and action and adventure, but there’s a lot of teaching there, too,” as it is set in an anthropomorphic version of 17th-century Japan. “I draw from that history and culture and folklore to make my stories.”

Indeed, one of my favorite elements of the comic is how much fact is intertwined with the fiction. My entry point was the “Daisho” storyline, which is centered around the historic and cultural significance of the pair of swords a Samurai wields. I was hooked immediately from then on for all future books.

Sakai hopes to continue the adventures of Usagi for many more years (and we here at NN2D hope he does for decades). “I have no other job skills,” he said with a laugh. “If not for Usagi, I’m unemployed.”

The new series will be colored by Tom Luth, and will begin with a three-part story involving bunraku (Japanese puppetry).

Dark Horse has been the home of Usagi since 1995, which was still a black-and-white comic back then. Their partnership ended with the most recent tale, “The Hidden”, which explored Christianity’s emergence in 17th century Japan.

Usagi Yojimbo has been a busy bunny ronin in the past few years. He has appeared numerous times in other places, including a crossover with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Ghostbusters. A little over a year ago, Gaumont optioned Usagi Yojimbo for an animated movie, although we have not heard much about that since the initial news. Most recently, he was part of the upcoming TMNT board game as a playable character.

We wish Stan Sakai much success on this next chapter of Usagi Yojimbo, and we will be certainly following him there for the ride!


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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.

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“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” collide with “Usagi Yojimbo” for first time in decades

Coming this summer, two decades after their last encounter, comic book universes collide as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles step foot into the world of Usagi Yojimbo in a special one-shot comic.

Legendary creator of Usagi Yojimbo, Stan Sakai, will write and illustrate a new adventure which sees ronin rabbit, Miyamoto Usagi, cross paths with Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo. Miyamoto Usagi has embarked on a quest to save Japan, and combining forces with the Heroes in a Half-Shell to take on the maniacal Jei may be the only path to coming out of this alive.

“I had wanted to reunite Usagi and the TMNT for awhile, but these are not the Turtles that he knew,” said Stan Sakai. “Relationships have to be reestablished, suspicions overcome, and trust earned. The survival of all Japan literally rests on them working as a team.”

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Usagi Yojimbo franchises have a long history, previously appearing together in their respective comics, animated television series, and the popular TMNT line of toys.

“Stan and I both started out the same year, 1984, and here we are still living the dream telling stories with characters we created over three decades ago,” said Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. “I love the fact that our two creations were intertwined from the beginning and could not be more thrilled that Stan is coming back to tell a new story in the IDW TMNT comics universe.”

This exciting crossover event will be available this July in standard comic book format as well as in an amazing deluxe hardcover collector’s edition. Both editions feature exclusive extras including layouts, pin-ups, character studies, and more. Be sure to ask your local comic shop about the special variant cover by David Petersen of Mouse Guard fame.

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“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.

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“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.

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