Friday, December 16, 2011

Batman and Usagi Yojimbo

This cover fulfills a request from a friend.  I have to confess that I have yet to read an issue of Usagi Yojimbo.  It was years before I realized he had a scar on his forehead and wasn't just always cocking his eyebrow.  I remember seeing Usagi Yojimbo when it first came out and thinking it was just another TMNT type parody comic.  From what I have heard and seen since, that first impression could not be more incorrect.  It seems to have stood the test of time and developed into quite an epic saga.  So, where is a good place to start for folks like me who have never read the character before?


John Platt said...

Usagi is one of my all-time favorite comics. This year, I re-read the whole series from beginning to end. Well worth it.

Many issues of the series stand on their own and can be enjoyed without too much knowledge of what came before. If you're checking the "new issues" rack, just look on the inside cover to make sure it's not part 2 of a story.

If you want to try one of the book collections, the first is a decent place to start, but Sakai grew quite a bit after these earliest stories. Books four, five and six are all good, solid collections. Grasscutter (book 12) is one of the most popular in the series. The most recent volume (25 - Fox Hunt) is, if I recall, pretty easy for newcomers. The standalone graphic novel Yokai is excellent, although it's more supernaturally oriented that the rest of the series (it's also fully painted as opposed to the usual black-and-white).

diana green said...

If you're feeling wealthy, there's a lovely 2 book slipcased edition from Fantagraphics.
They also have the uniform edition described above.
If you want to haunt the back issue bins, you can usually find issues of Fantagraphics' Critters containing Usagi fairly cheap.
Thanks for another great cover! Have you thought about doing a collection of these? I imagine there would be some minor, ahem, copyright issues....

Ross said...

Believe me, I would love to put a book together, but since I am using licensed characters and existing artwork, I just don't think it would be possible.

Doug Gray said...

I'd say Book 2: Samurai is the best place to start. It tells Usagi's backstory and how he became ronin. Even if you don't read anything else, it stands up as a great samurai tale.

Alex Palmer said...

For anyone who's interested in Usagi and wants to know where to start, I recently purchased Usagi Yojimbo Saga Book 1. It's an omnibus with a picture of Usagi with his sword drawn and facing down a shower of arrows. It was a great starting point for me. I'd definitely rrecomment it.

Support STF: The Lost Issues!