Interview: Stan Sakai
On July 22nd through 24th, while attending San Diego International Comic-Con, I ran around to as many of my favorite kids comics creators as I could and asked them all the exact same questions. Keep in mind, exhibit halls are crazy loud and crazy busy, so there is a lot of background noise. Let me know in the comments if you have trouble hearing anything and I’ll translate for you.
Usagi Yojimbo is one of those series that flies under the radar. It’s not flashy. It never (as far as I remember) has holographic covers. The art and/or writing team doesn’t change (the whole thing is done by Stan Sakai). In fact, the last time I can remember any fanfare at all is when the book celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary and Dark Horse put out a congratulatory poster. Don’t get me wrong, it was a really nice poster, but a poster isn’t really fanfare, if you know what I mean.
And yet, when I started reading comics in my early twenties Usagi Yojimbo was there, lurking just inside my superhero-centric blinders. And for the next twenty-seven years, Miyamoto Usagi has continued to be there, with his ears tied back and wielding his sword, ready with a new story whenever I come out of whatever genre-reading frenzy I’ve dived into. And he never, ever disappoints. Ask anyone who has ever read Usagi Yojimbo and you’ll hear the same thing. The stories are great. They’re great for tweens and teens and for adults and for jaded librarians who need to be reminded what solid storytelling is.
Stan Sakai is as well-regarded as his creation. Often referred to as one of the kindest men in comics, I invite you to take a look at the video and see if you don’t agree.
Books mentioned in this video:
- Astro Boy, by Osamu Tezuka
- Speed Racer, by Tatsuo Yoshida
- Dororo, by Osamu Tezuka
- Mouse Guard, by David Petersen
- Groo the Wanderer, by Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier
Filed under: Interviews
About Eva Volin
Eva Volin is the Supervising Children's Librarian for the Alameda Free Library in California. She has written about graphic novels for such publications as Booklist, Library Journal, ICv2, Graphic Novel Reporter, and Children & Libraries. She has served on several awards committees including the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Michael L. Printz Award, and the Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics. She served on YALSA's Great Graphic Novels for Teens committee for three years and is currently serving on ALSC's Notable Books for Children committee.
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