29 July 2009

Usagi Yojimbo's 25th Anniversary.

As a fan of Stan Sakai's award winning Usagi Yojimbo I was asked to make an illustration for Usagi's 25th Anniversary by his online fan club. All the fan art and letters were assembled into a book and presented to Stan this past weekend at the San Diego Comic Con.

As indicated by the text attached Stan is a fan of Highlights for Children's Hidden Pictures so I thought I'd make his very own 25th Anniversary Hidden Picture. For those of you unfamiliar with Usagi's world, the characters depicted are 2 rather funny woodcutters that Usagi often runs into as he wanders around Japan. The lizard on top of the wood pile is Usagi's pet, Spot, and you can see Usagi walking away in the distance.

I have been consistently following Stan's work since 1987 (the year I discovered comic books) and it is pretty obvious to me how much of an influence he has had on my work. Most would remember Stan's Usagi Yojimbo as "that samurai rabbit on the Ninja Turtles cartoon," which is correct but most aren't even aware of the volumes of wonderful Usagi comics that Stan has put out there (23 collected books so far). Honestly, if you're not reading Usagi Yojimbo, you're missing out on one of the best comics out there. Pick a book up at your local book store (or give it a try at your library)- you won't be disappointed!
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