January 31, 2014

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Dark Horse Plans Stan Sakai Tribute Book

Cover of the Dark Horse Tribute book.
As some of you may know, Stan Sakai has had a personal tragedy that has left the fan-favorite creator in a time of need. There have been quite a few posts and tweets on the subject, so I won't go into it much here. Sakai has been getting published by Dark Horse Comics for quite some time now, and the company announced today that they are creating a Stan Sakai tribute book, both to celebrate 30 years of Usagi Yojimbo and to help Mr. Sakai with his expenses.

From the press release:
“It has been an absolute pleasure publishing Stan’s work over the years, and recently collaborating with him directly on 47 Ronin,” said Dark Horse’s president and founder, Mike Richardson. “With the thirtieth anniversary of his most beloved creation, Usagi, and in a time of need for Stan and his family, we are honored to publish this tribute to Stan and his work. We are donating all of the proceeds to Stan and his wife, Sharon. We hope you will join us in honoring one of the comics industry’s shining lights.”
This is a really cool thing for Dark Horse to do, given that they could easily have created something similar, kept the money, and still sold a large number of copies, even if the contributor list might not have been quite as long for a profit-making endeavor. I have a similar book that Baltimore Comic-Con did, and the illustrations are lavish, varied, and well worth what I paid for it, and that's coming from someone who doesn't often buy art books.

Bill Morrison's contribution. Very on-model!
Here's a sampling of who will be included, again taken from the release (I've trimmed it to names that stood out to me, there are many more on the release):
ADAM HUGHES | ALEX MALEEV | ARTHUR ADAMS | BATTON LASH | BILL MORRISON |  BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS | DAVE GIBBONS | DAVID MACK | ERIC POWELL | GABRIEL HARDMAN |  HOWARD CHAYKIN |  JEFF SMITH |MARK CRILLEY | MATT GROENING | MATT WAGNER | MICHAEL ALLRED | MICHAEL AVON OEMING | MIKE MIGNOLA | RICHARD CORBEN | SERGIO ARAGONÉS | TIM SALE | TOM MANDRAKE | WALTER SIMONSON | 
 They are apparently still taking contributions, which is pretty awesome, too. Personally, I'm wondering if Chaykin's will feature a humanoid animal brothel, because, you know, Chaykin.

The Stan Sakai tribute book, which is being called The Sakai Project: Artists Celebrate Thirty Years of Usagi Yojimbo, will be released July 23rd. Personally, I can't wait to see it, and assuming I can afford it, will definitely be picking up a physical copy to linger over what plans to be some amazing art.