The Sakai Project: Artists Celebrate Thirty Years of Usagi Yojimbo
Reviewed by: Tom Barnett
The Sakai Project is one of those books that when you hold it in your hands you can feel the magic coming off of it. This book is filled with magic. Published by Dark Horse, the Sakai Project has somewhere around 260 different artists doing their interpretation of Stan Sakai’s long running samurai rabbit.
The project was started by Tone Rodriguez, the vice president of CAPS, the Comic Art Professional Society. It was started because Stan’s wife, Sharon, has an inoperable brain tumor, that while it is benign it is still growing, leading to further complications. The Sakai’s have health insurance but the complications of her condition has far outstripped what the insurance will cover. This book is not only a celebration of Usagi Yojimbo, but also an outpouring of support for the Sakai’s. Dark Horse footed the bill for the printing of the book and is taking no profits. All the proceeds go to help Stan and Sharon.
Here’s where the story gets good. All of the 260 illustrations where donated to this book project. That’s right. Donated. A huge outpouring of support for Stan and Sharon and these illustrations are beautiful. There are even 2 from an artist you might have heard of, Bill Sienkiewicz. He has a piece in the book and the back cover as well (which is shown here). Gorgeous.
There is a full page piece from Eisner award winning Daredevil artist Chris Samnee. There are also pieces from Mike Mignola, David Mack, Mike Norton, Jerry Ordway, Walt Simonson, Dennis Culver, Geoff Darrow and Matt Wagner. Really there are over 260 artists in this book and every time you open this book you see something you haven’t seen before.
If you like Usagi Yojimbo, you need to buy this book. If you like fantastic artwork, you need to buy this book. If you want to help out a couple of really good people, you need to buy this book. I literally spent most of 3 hours perusing this wonderful book on new comic book day. I read only one new comic that night, because this book was too good to put down. And it will be a gem to take to conventions and have signed. There are so many artists in this book that there won’t be a con that doesn’t have someone there that has worked on this book.
So in case you didn’t catch it, you need to buy this book.
Tom is a contribuiting writer for Drunk On Comics. You can follow him on Twitter at @tphoto10.