From there, Usagi Yojimbo has grown to become a very famous comic book, traveling through several publishers, the most recent being Dark Horse Comics since 1996. The comic has always been written and drawn by Stan Sakai. During that time, he has become one of the most popular artists in the professional comic-book community, for his friendliness and readiness to join in numerous benefit projects. When furry fan artist Michael-Scot McMurry was dying of cancer in 2000, he drew the cover for a benefit comic book for McMurry’s expenses for an operation, showing Usagi and McMurry’s Zonie the coyote fighting monsters.
Stan has often been an attendee of furry conventions, sometimes with his wife, Sharon, and their two daughters. I remember one convention, probably a ConFurence in the mid-1990s, where Stan’s daughter Hannah, then about 3 years old, tried to climb up Kjartan Arnörsson, a lean 6'9". Stan was a member of Rowrbrazzle, the furry amateur press association, from 1990 to 1998. He is a member of the Furry Hall of Fame. His Usagi Yojimbo won the Ursa Major Award in the Best Anthropomorphic Comic Book category in every year from 2001 to 2005. He has also won non-furry awards such as the Eisners, a Parent's Choice Award, the Comic-Con's Inkpot, Spain's Haxtur Award and many others. He has been a furry convention guest-of-honor on three continents, at an Anthrocon, a EuroFurence and an Australian MiDFur.
If you have not heard – it has been widely publicized - Stan’s wife Sharon has had an inoperable brain tumor for the past decade. It was mild at first, but has gotten progressively worse until she is now confined to bed and in need of round-the-clock care. The Sakais have medical insurance, but their medical expenses have far exceeded the amount of the insurance. Dark Horse Comics and the Comic Art Professional Society have organized The Sakai Project, this 160-page hardcover book, to both celebrate Usagi Yojimbo’s 30th anniversary and as a benefit project for the Sakais’ medical expenses. All proceeds go to them. Dark Horse is not even reimbursing itself for the printing expenses.
By various, foreword by Mark Evanier, preface by Tone Rodriguez, Milwaukie, OR, Dark Horse Books, July 2014, hardcover $29.99 (160 pages).
Most people who know about Sakai’s Nilson Groundthumper series think of it as Sakai’s series just before the adventures of Usagi Yojimbo, but they were actually mostly contemporaneous. The first Nilson short story was published in Albedo: Anthropomorphics #1 in 1984; the first Usagi story was in Albedo #2.
The two alternated briefly, then Sakai concentrated on Usagi Yojimbo with an occasional Nilson story as a backup feature, or when Sakai wanted to do a standalone short story for a different magazine. Most of these were first published between 1985 and 1994, with a final story in 2013.
Milwaukie, OR, Dark Horse Books, March 2014, hardcover $14.99 (109 [+3] pages).
Sharon & Stan Sakai fundraising & call for submissions: hardcover to be published by Dark Horse ComicsPosted by earthfurst on Sun 16 Feb 2014 - 11:29
As reported a few months ago, Sharon Sakai has been battling illness. The Cartoon Arts Professional Society (CAPS) have been fundraising for Sharon & Stan Sakai (creator of Usagi Yojimbo) to help with medical bills.
Dark Horse will be publishing a hardcover benefit book The Sakai Project: Artists Celebrate Thirty Years of "Usagi Yojimbo" in association with CAPS. On January 31 the participation of 47 creators was announced with a call for art submissions from industry professionals with a deadline of February 20. The Sakai Project will be released on July 23.
Participating artists include:
- Arthur Adams
- Brian Michael Bendis
- Howard Chaykin
- Mark Crilley (Akiko)
- Geof Darrow
- Edgar Delgado (Ultraduck & Ultrapato)
- Stephanie Gladden (Hopster's Tracks)
- Michael Golden (Bucky O'Hare)
- Matt Groening (Simpsons, Life In Hell)
- Mike Kunkel (Herobear and the Kid)
- Batton Lash (Supernatural Law)
- Oscar Martin (did Solo?)
- Mike Mignola (Hellboy & Abe Sapien)
- Bill Morrison (Captain Carrot and the Final Ark)
- Michael Avon Oeming (The Mice Templar)
- Scott Shaw (Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew)
- Jeff Smith (Bone)
- Phil Yeh (Frank the Unicorn and Penguin & Pencilguin)
This coming March, fans of Usagi Yojimbo will once again be able to check out one of creator Stan Sakai’s other well-known funny animal creations, Nilson Groundthumper (and his assistant Hermy) in a new full-color hardcover collection from Dark Horse Press. “Experience the rabbit action epic that might have been! More than just a precursor to Stan Sakai’s beloved Usagi Yojimbo, his tales of medieval un-wits Nilson and Hermy are every bit as funny, exciting, and beautifully illustrated as the saga of the familiar rabbit ronin!” Collecting Nilson and Hermy’s complete exploits, the artwork is scanned from Stan Sakai’s original black & white artwork and newly colored by Usagi colorist Tom Luth. Check out The Adventures of Nilson Groundthumper and Hermy (an pre-order it) at the Dark Horse web site.
Stan Sakai is world-famous as the creator, writer, and artist of Usagi Yojimbo, a multiple-award-winning funny animal comic. He has given a lot to our furry fan community, not only from his creation but from his appearances at furry conventions around the country. Now, Stan needs some real help. His wife Sharon has been battling cancer, and she has been in and out of hospitals for some time — basically needing 24-hour care even when she is at home. The couple have insurance, but the bills have been piling up far past what their insurance will cover. The Cartoon Arts Professional Society have set up a site asking for donations to help Stan and Sharon cover their medical expenses. Please visit and contribute this holiday season if you can. Give back to someone who’s given us great characters and great art!