Usagi Yojimbo #100


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Usagi Yojimbo #100


  • Words: Stan Sakai, Mike Richardson, Diana Schutz, et al
  • Art: Stan Sakai, Rick Geary, Sergio Aragon?s, et al
  • Inks: Various
  • Colors: N/A
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Price: $3.50
  • Release Date: Jan 31, 2007

Usagi and his creator are treated to a celebrity roast as the rabbit ronin reaches a landmark issue.

Through a staggering twenty two years and multiple publishers, Stan Sakai has been crafting the adventures of Miyamoto Usagi, the wandering samurai rabbit. This issue marks his hundredth published comic at Dark Horse. In a unique departure from the series’ usual setting of 17th century Japan, issue #100 breaks the fourth wall and gathers many writers, cartoonists, and comics industry professionals to honor and playfully satirize Sakai and his character in the style of a Dean Martin-esque celebrity roast.

First up is Dark Horse’s publisher Mike Richardson, ably assisted by artist Rick Geary. Richardson’s introduction takes a few well-meaning jabs at Sakai, editor Diana Schutz, and amiably, himself. With smartass footnotes and an almost disastrously literal interpretation of the "roast" concept, Richardson’s sequence is one of the funniest in the issue.

The main through-line of the story (written and illustrated by Sakai himself in his simple and effective style) is broken up by the occasional single page contributed by various artists. The extreme shifts in the artistic style can be jarring at times but with the caliber of creators involved, many fans will certainly be inclined to look past that. Among the guest sequences are an appearance by Sin City’s Marv drawn to gritty perfection by Frank Miller, a humorous fish-out-of-water moment for Usagi written by Diana Schutz with smooth, polished art by Matt Wagner, a tale of Sakai’s early Dark Horse years by Jamie S. Rich and Andi Watson, and an anecdote by Jeff Smith marveling at Sakai’s tireless nature.

Two of the longer sequences are contributed by Sakai’s longtime friend Sergio Aragonés and funnybook funnymen Mark Evanier and Scott Shaw! (exclamatory emphasis his, not mine). Aragonés’ distinctive and busy Mad Magazine-style art is unmistakable and he humorously chooses to focus more on the various cuisines he and Sakai have sampled around the world rather than their actual experiences. Shaw’s sequence is one of the most visually impressive, as he successfully apes a variety of styles from Disney to Hanna Barbera to manga to underground indie comics. It’s a subtle artistic tour-de-force that Shaw makes seem effortless. Rounding out the issue is a suitably bizarre dream sequence by Guy Davis. Davis emulates Sakai’s style well while also adding his own wonderfully eerie touches.

Overall, the issue is a joy to read and is certain to appeal to fans of Usagi and Sakai or anyone who appreciates a bit of tongue-in-cheek self-referential humor. The prestigious guest list alone is worth the price of admission.

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