Monday, July 19, 2010

On the fritz

Just a quick post for those that were anxiously waiting for the new post on Sunday. On Saturday there was some kind of electrical discharge in our house that shorted out the television, the phone lines and the internet. The tv and the phone have been fixed but the internet is still on the fritz.


I don´t know when this will be fixed and if I can post in the meantime. Right now I´m sitting in the Aktiv Center, the course I´m participating in from the Unemployment Office, but since the times we can use a computer are very few and sporadic I don´t know when I have access to a computer again.

Maybe I´ll use an internet cafe but they are a bit expensive and my budget is pretty tight right now ( I had to order some pen cartridges and stuff from amazon - long story ). I´ll post an update as soon as something new happens.

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  • I never trusted a klingon. And I never will.

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    Comicbabe Battle : Fighting Femmes - the runners up

    Welcome to another eagerly awaited installment of COMICBABE BATTLE, the competition of comicdoms hottest ladies. The heat is on in Germany and my brain is slowly dissolving so let´s talk about one of my favorite topics : sexy comic babes.


    As longtime readers know I promised this section would return in 2008 but it took a bit longer. My last entry was on October, the 27th2007, which was the third part of the Spiderbabe winners and the fifth part of the Spiderbabes in total. Yep, some entries took a while longer than others.

    Anyway, I even thought about starting the SEARCH FOR POWER GIRL section which, for various reasons appeared somewhere else for different reasons. As usual, a lot of stuff came up in the meantime, I´ve gone through various computers, each time losing my picture archive. But now the time has come for the glorious return of COMICBABE BATTLE. I know that there are some readers who don´t like this kind of posts so just wait till Sunday when we will return with the usual big serious comic posts. For Today we´ll just have a bit of fun.

    As WORLD WITHOUT SUPERHEROES is still in full effect ( I think I just dated myself ) this will be a post about the hottest and most badass chicks in fighting games. As it´s been a while since I delved into the realm of virtual tournaments it shouldn´t come as any surprise that most of the candidates come from the various editions of STREET FIGHTER, the game that started it all.


    As usual this is a very subjective, short list that isn´t complete in any shape or form. If you have other possible candidates, want to comment on my ranking or say anything else just drop me a line.

    So let´s get started with the no - holds - barred - knockdown of the most gorgeous knockout that have ever graced the screen in all of their pixelated three - dimensional glory.

    Fifth Runner Up : Crimson Viper

    Since I don´t know much about this character, besides what I have read in some STREET FIGHTER comics, she´s in the lowest position of the runners up. For this post I have decide to go with five runners up and a top five list. You may argue that I could have also done a top ten but since I put all characters that are mostly unknown to me in the runners up section it´s fairer since I really can´t do a qualified ranking on them.


    I have read somewhere that Crimson Viper is modeled after Angelina Jolie ( back when she wasn´t so skinny ) but since I´m not that big a fan of Angelina - and I couldn´t find any good pics that are safe to post here - she doesn´t score very high on my list.

    She got that whole " open shirt / easy access " thing going but there are others who do it better. And she´s not as busty as in the picture above.

    Fourth Runner Up : Vanessa

    Now here´s a character who shows what the " open shirt " look is all about : Vanessa ( no last name known ) from KING OF FIGHTERS. I have to confess I never played the game or else she might be in a higher position.

    I'm too sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my shirt, so sexy it hurts.


    Yup, if you also got RIGHT SAID FRED´s famous song playing in your head that´s all right. Vanessa is a hot redhead who obviously is way too restrained by her shirt. At least that how it looks like on most pictures that I found of her on the internet. Maybe all the pics are just the collective gamers who whish that wardrobe malfunction would finally happen.


    In that case I would look pretty stupid. For the moment let´s say the pictures of Vanessa in her open, wet shirt look with the unbuttoned pants are real which keeps her at the ninth position of this list.


    Third Runner Up : Sakura

    Another candidate I know from the STREET FIGTHER comics rather than from the games. A spunky fighter and optimist she got the whole schoolgirl look done to pat that´s so popular in Japan.


    Which is also one of the reasons that she´s not higher in the list. There are lots of pantyshots when she´s doing her flying kicks and I´m sure there´s some heavy bouncing action going on under her shirt. But this whole thing about school uniforms is way too near underage lolitas to be in my comfort zone.


    So Sakura stays in the nuber eight spot.

    Second Runner Up : Ibuki

    And we´re staying with the later arrivals to the STREET FIGTHER heritage with Ibuki.


    This one hasn´t even been in any comics I read so to me she´s a blank state.

    Her hair looks a bit weird but maybe she uses it for some special techniques. She looks a bit like a ninja but even though she got the " easy access " cut - outs on her pants that can show her panties - at the right angle - her outfit doesn´really show much of her possibly hot body.


    Also, she´s not of legal age. What is it with those new STREET FIGHTER additions ? I´m beginning to wonder what their target audience is. So, I´m sorry but I can´t give more points.

    First Runner Up : Rose

    Now Rose is a full grown woman, no doubt about that. Add her skintight see - through suit to her playmate - of - the - year measurements and you know why she almost made it to the top five list.


    It´s been a while since I read the comic but as far as I remember it she was kind of a spiritual character with Tarot cards who went up against Bison ( we hate him ). She could be my Queen of Wand anytime she likes.


    And that´s it for the first part. In the next part we will come to the big guns - so to speak. Then we will find out who´s the best of the best. And yes, I´m writing " we " because I´m still not sure in which order they will be.


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  • Sunday, July 11, 2010

    Viva Hellboy !

    So it´s our second entry for WORLD WITHOUT SUPERHEROES and it´s another title published by DARK HORSE. So sue me, I don´t get that many non - superhero titles.


    Originally I wanted to write something about my first review copies but then I realized that I still need some info for that. So instead we will be talking about one of my favorite comic genres that doesn´t get enough attention here : horror comics. I already wrote a bit about Richard Corben´s work on HAUNT OF HORROR : H.P. LOVECRAFT and today we´ll be taking a look at his collaborations with another Master of Horror : Mike Mignola.

    It´s kind of funny how all this came about because initially this would have just been about HELLBOY IN MEXICO but it has become much longer. I got my copy online but then I decided to to get another one for my brother as a gift for driving me around in Erlangen this year. I know that he sooner or later gets all the Hellboy comics in the german translation - which is one of the reasons I don´t write that much about Hellboy. It´s really my brothers series and I read the new books he gets which usually is around Christmas as presents by my brother and me.

    Anyway, I had to get to a different online comicshop because...I don´t know. Either my usual online comicshop didn´t have it anymore or the other one was cheaper or something. In any case the online comicshop where I ended up had an extrra section for Hellboy one - shots where I found THE BRIDE OF HELL another Mignola / Corben collaboration. Back in the day I had written it down for my order but somehow I forgot all about it.


    So I got another Richard Corben HELLBOY comic because I wanted to do something good. There´s a lesson about karma somewhere in this. In any case when I prepared for Today´s post I was researching some preview pages and found out that besides MAKOMA there was ONE other joint effort of these two comic greats : a three issue series called THE CROOKED MAN. Sadly I didn´t find the single issues but I ordered the trade from amazon.de ( which once again was cheaper than both online comicshops ).

    Initially I wanted to wait with my review until I have read this story as well but as the first topic for this post fell through I decided to switch back to plan A. I also thought about reviving one of this blog´s favorite sections : COMICBOOK BABE BATTLE.


    Yes, I got more comments on those posts than anything else and it´s just a lot of fun to do. I already have all the picture material prepared ( there are some hot pics in there, massita ) but I´ll save that for next week. I said I wanted to get my post quota per month up so maybe I can do a post ( or a few if, as usual, I can´t wrap it up in one post ) about COMICBABE BATTLE during the week and do the usual comic review on the big Sunday post.

    So let´s get started with HELLBOY IN MEXICO and see how far we come this time.


    SUPERHOEROES, the 80s, HULK AND ALPHA FLIGHT

    As I said in my last post even though this is a month where I try to avoid all things involving superheroes there are some cases where I have to mention them. I´m still writing about other kinds of comics - horror comics in this case - but superheroes will be mentioned.

    Me and Mike Mignola go waaay back, all the way back to the 80s. At that time I was just discovering american comics and buying them at the train station in Stuttgart where one newsstand was getting them. This was way before getting my first real subscription ( and you may skip this part if you have read it before ) at a real comicshop and I just bought anything I could get my hands on.

    This doesn´t mean that the comics weren´t good. I got FANTASTIC FOUR by John Byrne


    THOR by Walter Simonson


    X - MEN by Chris Claremont and Marc Silvestri


    AVENGERS by Roger Stern and John Buscema


    .....and HULK by Sal Buscema with covers by Mike Mignola who later on took over the art with issue 311 - only to switch to ALPHA FLIGHT after issue 313. I don´t remember why the change was made only that John Byrne took over HULK and Mike Mignola came aboard ALPHA FLIGHT. Back at that time money was not an issue like Today - for one, comics were cheaper then, and I also had more money at that time - so I got both series.

    I had been reading scattered issues of ALPHA FLIGHT before. In fact the very first american comic I bought at a train station was ALPHA FLIGHT issue 20 with Gilded Lily although it wasn´t in Stuttgart.


    I was visiting an aunt and on the train station on the way I found the newsstand with the american comics. Which gave me the idea to look for such a newsstand in Stuttgart. When I think about it the biggest part of my comic collection goes back to me visiting an aunt.

    Anyway, Mike Mignola and superheroes. There may be people who don´t want to hear it but Mike Mignola started out as a superhero artist.It would be years till I got his stuff for DC but when I think about Mike Mignola the second thing that pops into my mind are those great HULK covers and his interior pages for HULK and ALPHA FLIGHT.


    What´s the first thing ? Well, a flying raccoon in space, of course.

    HAVE YOU HEARD THE ONE ABOUT THE RACCOON AND THE JETPACK ?

    I don´t know what it is with WORLD WITHOUT SUPERHEROES month but somehow we always get to the topic of animal comic characters. In the last post we had a ronin bunny samurai in feudal Japan, this time it´s a science fiction raccoon with a jetpack and laser pistols from outer space ( not to mention that Thor was transformed into a frog during the Walter Simonson run ). Of course I´m talking about the cult series ROCKET RACCOON, one of the most loved series by Mike Mignola fans ever. In fact the series has such a strong resonance with comic fans worldwide that to this day he still gets the odd issue to sign at conventions.

    Rocket Raccon had already appeared in INCREDIBLE HULK 271 released in May 1982 so I don´t know if his 4 issue limited series ( back then most miniseries were 4 issue limited series ) that followed in 1985 pandered to some kind of trend.


    TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES was big, USAGI YOJIMBO was also up and running and a lot of comic companies were doing animal characters. In the end it doesn´t matter if it was just Marvel´s way of following a trend the series that was written by Bill Mantlo with art by Mike Mignola became an instant classic.


    Recently Rocket Raccon has resurfaced in the ANNIHILATION books and became a valued member of the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. On an odd note Rocket Raccon issue 4 has been mentioned last Wednesday over at Random Longbox, just if you think I´m the only one still obsessed with that series : covers so good they bleed excitement

    Back to Mike Mignola, I´ve followed his work ever since on books like GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT or COSMIC ODDYSEY where he already showed hints where his art was going before finding the unique style that would later become his signature style on the adaption to Francis Ford Coppola´s DRACULA movie. Now many people see Mike Mignola as the big superstar with this worldfamous franchise, but when he started it he wasn´t so sure he would succeed.

    Going away from the big two to do his own thing - and pulp horror comics to boot - and betting his future on it all was a big gamble. Thankfully it has paid of even if he doesn´t do all the art himself anymore. From time to time he can work together with some really talented artists and the list of collaborators reads like a Who´s Who of comic artists. Although it´s understandable that Mike only let´s the best of them take care of his baby. And let´s be realistic....somewhere deep inside we´re all Hellboy fans. Like Richard Corben which finally brings us to HELLBOY IN MEXICO.

    LUCHA LIBRE : CAMAZOTZ VS EL DEMONIO ROJO


    The first thing for which I have to give kudos to Dark Horse is that they managed to get the issue released just right on time for the Cinco de Mayo. Of course the comic is not only enjoyable by people of mexican heritage but I guess they get a special kick out of it, not only because the story takes place in Mexico but also because Mike Mignola integrated such important parts of mexican culture like katholicism, aztec gods and - most important - wrestling or like it is called by mis paisanos : lucha libre.


    From the few mexican wrestling programs I watched on spanish tv ( back when they were showing them ) I learned that pro wrestling in Mexico is quite a bit different than it is in the United States, it's not that they " think it's real " but things are taken VERY seriously. Not in the kind of seriousness like in Japan where I thought the loser has to do harakiri ( at least that was the impression I got after seeing the first match ) but that it is like a religious and spiritual experience. The characters are generally bigger and more super - heroic / super - villainous and they set more emphasis on flashy costumes and even flashier athletics. It’s definitely more in line with pro wrestling’s vaudevillian roots and pays homage to the historical significance that masks have in Mexican culture, dating back to the Aztecs.


    Teotihuacan / Aztec Sun Mask with Jaguar ( handcrafted )


    It´s a me, SuperMarioXatotl ! The aztec god of games !

    Masked luchadores are treated as folk heroes fighting for justice and often appear in comic books and on film.



    For a masked luchador, the mask is a point of pride, a sign of their honor ( which is very important for mexicans - or people in Spain for that matter ) and they never remove them in public. The legendary El Santo and Blue Demon were even buried wearing their masks.


    It's considered extremely dishonorable to try to remove an opponent's mask during a match.

    Luchadores are often real folk heroes, like the mentioned El Santo there were a few of them who appeared in movies like El Mucho Grande, who also appered in a comic book a few years ago. Then there are other wrestlers like the famous SUPERBARRIO, a Mexican " real - life superhero " celebrity, satirist, and organizer. Superbarrio, a high school dropout, wears red tights and a red and yellow mask. Rather than fight crime and corruption with violence, he uses his image to organize labor rallies and protests, and file petitions in his hometown. His real identity was unknown for a long time, but he has been revealed to be Marco Rascón Córdova.


    I don´t want to spoil too much about the story but I will say that it involves everything typical about Mexico like three wrestling brothers sent on a monster hunting mission by the Virgin Mary teaming up with Hellboy or a wrestling match over one ma´s soul against a bat demon creature out of real aztec folklore. If you already know HELLBOY I don´t have to tell you how perfect Mike Mignola blends elements of actual folklore, cheap pulp comics, comedy and - in this case - lucha libre into a seamless tale that really touches you. And I also shouldn´t need to tell you what an astonishing artist Richard Corben is. There have been some people who say he´s been slacking the last year but here he hits it out of the ballpark once again.


    If Mike Mignola ever decides to leave the art to another artist for the rest of the series I hope Richard Corben is on the short list. He´s like the ultimate Hellboy artist. As someone else noted : The only negative thing I really have to say about this issue is that it seems to just end. After re - reading the last few pages the ending seemed to make more sense, so, maybe I just liked it so much I was sad it was over.


    If you never read an issue of HELLBOY this tragic tale ( ever noticed how Hellboy always gets the short end of the stick ? ) is a perfect first experience. It´s funny, it´s all - out - larger - than - life - action and it also has a message about the negative effects of partying too hard. This comic comes with the highest recommendations.


    At this point I would like to end this post, as it has once again become larger than expected. As usual, I never know where these little essays take me, and I didn´t expect to take the detours about Rocket Raccon and Lucha Libre.


    We will get to THE BRIDE OF HELL and THE CROOKED MAN in another post, probably when I have finally read them. Before closing I wanted to add some links for a few reviews where I got some pointers for this post, like some of the facts about mexican wrestling from the review at Mania and the roundtable discussion at Comic Alliance that really analyzes the comic in - depth :

    review at IGN / review at Comic Vine / review at iFanboy

    review at Weekly Comic Book Review

    review at mania ( that also looks at the wrestling aspects )

    a roundtable review ( with spoilers ) at Comics Alliance

    blog about an art exposition about El Santo

    Rocket Racoon - the Wolverine that never was

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    Sunday, July 04, 2010

    Have sword, will travel

    Last week I received an e - mail about reviewing some comics ( it seems I will finally get some review copies after writing this blog for 4 years ) in which I was asked if I would be willing to read them because they are not superhero comics.


    Now that was a surprise for me since I DO read western comics, horror comics, slice of life comics, pirate comics, barbarian comics, or just normal comics. But it seems the impression I give with the blog is another one.

    Which may have to do with the fact that non - superhero comics are seldom the main focus of my posts. I have written about some of them in various posts, especially in my posts about comic conventions. But so far the only posts that really are only about this kind of comics are :

    CASE CLOSED ( detective manga )

    Richard Corben´s HAUNT OF HORROR ( Lovecraft )

    JONAH HEX ( mostly the Jordi Bernet issues )

    PITT and DYLAN DOG ( italian horror comic )

    SAVAGE DRAGON ( which for some people is a superhero )

    SAVAGE DRAGON ( german translation )

    Since I´m always one who tries to rise to the challenge ( and mostly failing miserably, just so you don´t think I´m cool ) I decided that this month TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN is a superhero free zone.


    I wanted to write about the last trades of JACK STAFF and INVINCIBLE because I just finished reading them and I think they deserve better sales numbers.....but that would be superheroes again so it will have to wait. Which is kind of a bummer because JACK STAFF ties in to all those cool english comic series that were published in the german comic anthology KOBRA like IRON CLAW, THE EYE OF ZOLTAN, TRIGAN and THE SPIDER.

    The way MONTH WITHOUT SUPERHEROES ( I just came up with the title - pretty neat, huh ? ) works is that while I may mention some superhero comics like for instance, if I´m continuing to write about my time in Erlangen this year, the main focus will be comics that are NOT superhero comics. And all the reviews - if I manage to do some - will be about non - superhero books.

    Okay, what´s the big deal you will ask yourself ? I mean my usual quota is 4 posts per month so after 4 posts this will be over. Maybe. Maybe I can also improve my quota but at least for one whole month this blog will be about other comics than superheroes and who knows ? If it´s popular with the readers it may pop up from time to time.

    So, some may have guessed it from the title, this post is all about USAGI YOJIMBO, Stan Sakai´s ronin comic ( some people are still arguing if it qualifies as a manga ) that has passed the 125 issue benchmark.....which are almost 200 issues if you add the issues done with other publishers than DARK HORSE.


    In Germany it´s currently published by the fine folks at SCHWARZER TURM ( shout out to Robi, Mille, Asja, Caroline, Wittek and the rest of the crew that let me make their booth my homebase at Erlangen this year ) after CARLSEN COMICS stopped publishing with volume 6 that left readers with a cliffhanger. SCHWARZER TURM started with volume 8 but since the CARLSEN editions are not so easily available any more they are also reprinting them till they have closed the gap. Volume 4 is the newest and has just come out.

    So I´m writing something about this great series hoping that more people in Germany pick up the book. Of course it doesn´t hurt if American readers give the book a try which - by the way - is now 50 cents cheaper than the 4 dollar books from DC or MARVEL. Who would have thought that one day independent comics would be less expensive - and in most cases better - than mainstream comics ? I have planned to write something about the book but so far I only wrote a bit about issues 92 and 93. Now some people may say : How am I supposed to get into a series that has already almost 200 issues under his belt ?

    Which is a legitimate question with Today´s comic readers who don´t check out new series when they missed the first issue in fear of missing something. Now I could tell you what a wonderful series USAGI YOJIMBO is, how intricately the stories captivate their audience and what a master comic artist Stan Sakai is. And I will tell you all those things later on. But the best way to ease your fears is to tell you how I started reading USAGI YOJIMBO.


    HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE USAGI YOJIMBO

    I wasn´t there at the beginning and the first Usagi comic I read wasn´t even a regular Usagi book. Around 1996 Dark Horse started Usagi Yojimbo with a new number 1 but I was a bit hesistant to start with a new series. What I did buy was SPACE USAGI which was kind of an ELSEWORLDS story....something I didn´t know at that time. It was a three issue limited series and it was anthrophomorphic samurais and ninjas with big swords - in space ! It was in black and white ( I didn´t read much black and white stuff back then ) and it was only three issues. What did I have to loose ?

    Long story short : I was so impressed that I just had to start with the regular series and even though some things were not like in the science fiction version I was delighted which everything new I discovered of Stan Sakai´s work and the world of Usagi Yojimbo. I tracked down all the original Mirage Studio trades and bought the other ones in german when CARLSEN COMICS started publishing it. It is a bit difficult to read the first volumes after having seen his current stuff because Stan has evolved so much as an artist since then. On the other side it just shows you how he developed and it´s worth it for the stories alone. And most readers just have to get all the issues once they have started. If I have played my cards right this is the moment when you might ask yourself what the series is all about. Just read on and hopefully all your questions will be answered.

    I´M A POOR LONESOME SAMURAI AND A LONG WAY FROM HOME


    The main character of the story is Miyamoto Usagi, a ronin ( a masterless samurai ) in Japan at the turn of the seventeenth century who is on a musha shugyo ( warrior's pilgrimage ) occasionally selling his services as a bodyguard and fighting his way across a land ravaged by civil war.

    This timeperiod is also the backdrop for other manga masterpieces like LONE WOLF AND CUB because it was an interesting period in Japan´s history. The time of the samurais began to end and the country was opening for western visitors and western culture. There were lots of ronins wandering the land and most of them were not on the warrior´s journey to perfection and enlightment, most of them turned to crime or lost all their principles. In this sense Usagi is a kind of unique samurai, because while he still believes in the warriors code that brings him to help other fellow samurais even if he is not of the same opinion, Usagi doesn´t see himself better as the common folks.

    At that time the position in society of a samurai was still above common people in the sense that a samurai could do whatever he wanted. Usagi on the other hand is often seen seeking border with normal people and insisting in paying or at least working for their hospitality. Which is something normal samurais wouldn´t even consider.


    Usagi's adventures are filled with fascinating historical detail, the costumes, landscapes, and buildings are beautifully drawn, creating such a sense of realism it's easy to forget the hero is a rabbit. Stan also changes from longer storyarcs to single issue stories - one of the few forgotten arts in writing comics. Some of the best stories are the done - in - one stories that can be heartwrenching, funny, poetic, downright frustrating or filled with hope.

    Usagi Usagi Yojimbo is heavily influenced by Japanese cinema and has included references to the work of Akira Kurosawa ( as the title of the series is derived from Kurosawa's 1960 film Yojimbo ) and to icons of popular Japanese cinema such as Lone Wolf and Cub ( Lone Goat and son in the comic ), Zatoichi ( the Blind Swordspig Zato - Ino ), and Godzilla. Aside from that Stan Sakai also covers popular movies in his stories which with other writers would be boring. He somehow always pulls it off to make even the best known stories still interesting even if you suspect how it´s going to end. Like in the just recently published story A TOWN CALLED HELL which is his adaption of Sergio Leone´s western classic FOR A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS that also was the blueprint for LAST MAN STANDING with Bruce Willis. Like his great inspiration japanese movie director Akira Kurosawa Stan Sakai is a master at adapting other stuff in his stories.

    And speaking of adapting and stories one thing I especially like is the variety of stories. There are the usual stories about Usagi´s pilgrimage, funny stories but also murder mysteries ( for which Stan created his own detective Inspector Ishida ) and ghost stories. As a fan of horror comics I especially like those, the simple stories about Usagi´s encounters with Obakemonos ( ghosts or demons ) and more horrortype stories of exorcism, some of them involving Jei ( whose name is an in - joke for horror fans ), which are really tough stuff.


    The strength in this book lies in the fact that it can be enjoyed by people in many different ages and points of interest. It has something for everyone. For some people it's a book filled with fun, easy to follow stories about a Samurai-bunny who wanders around the country and gets involved into all sorts of adventures. To others it's also a collection of stories with real good characterization. All the characters are portrayed as animals, but the sort of animal each character portrays is far from randomly chosen. The sort of animal is clearly chosen on the personality of that certain character, without using cliches to do so. And the interaction between the characters works really well. Both in dialogue as in ' screenfilling '. Next to that Stan Sakai has also worked in some really nice references, traditions and customs of the old eastern philosophy which will be appreciated by those who have eye for it. Stories about the honor of a clan, the tea ritual, the art of kitemaking ( which in these times took a whole year ) and sacred swords may sound boring while in truth are anything but.


    Usagi Yojimbo is the kind of quality work that transcends time, genres, demographics, and even age groups. It crafts a delicate and beautiful balance between honor and savagery, cute innocence and dark brutality, simple heart-warming stories and multi-part epics that shape a dense continuity. Whether or not you've ever been a fan of feudal Japanese culture, furry anthro characters, or independent, non-superhero comics, Usagi Yojimbo is a comic that can't help but impress even the harshest critic. In other words : it´s totally Airwolf !

    Speaking about critics, this series has gained a number of awards : The Grasscutter storyline from issues 13 through 22 of the Dark Horse published series was a top votegetter for the Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Award for Favorite Story for 1999. The trade paperback collection of this story was a top votegetter for the Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Award for Favorite Reprint Graphic Album for 2000.

    Usagi Yojimbo has also won several Ursa Major Awards, the major awards of the furry fandom. With the exception of the years beyond and including 2006, it has won an award every year since the awards were founded. This makes Usagi Yojimbo the most successful publication in these awards. It won " Best Anthropomorphic Comic Book or Strip " in 2001 and 2002. In 2003, 2004 and 2005, it won " Best Anthropomorphic Comic Book ". The book The Art of Usagi Yojimbo also won " Best Anthropomorphic Other Literary Work " in 2004.


    Other awards : 1999 Eisner Award for " Best Serialized Story " ( Usagi Yojimbo's " Grasscutter " ), 1996 Eisner Award for " Best Letterer ", 1996 Eisner Award for " Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition " , 1991 Inkpot Award from Comic-Con International: San Diego for " Lifetime Achievement in the Field of Cartooning ", Winner of a 1990 Parents' Choice Approval for " Skillful weaving of facts and legends into his work " ( recommended for children ages 7 and up ).

    Here is what a few other people ( who are all more eloquent than me ) have to say about the awesomeness that is Usagi Yojimbo :

    One of the most original, innovative, well-executed comic books anywhere to be found. (Stan Lee )

    Fans of comics set in historical Japan should definitely check this out. You'll be glad you did. I think it would also be a good fit for manga fans looking to try a non-Japanese comic. I enjoyed this book a lot, and look forward to reading more. – (Panel Patter )

    While I enjoyed Sakai's artwork in the first volume, this second trade collection is even stronger. ... Usagi Yojimbo is a great addition to the canon of samurai stories, and is definitely highly recommended for anyone who is a fan of wandering ronin or just good storytelling. (Rob McMonigal - Panel Patter )


    As a fan of samurai fiction (to the point of having a Seven Samurai tattoo) and comics, I can’t recommend Stan Sakai’s beautifully drawn, note-perfect reinvention of the genre highly enough. (Kevin Church - BeaucoupKevin.com )

    These bittersweet adventure stories offer entertaining reading, especially for young Asian-Americans who feel excluded from mainstream juvenile literature. (Los Angeles Times )

    More about Usagi Yojimbo : a general overview ( with some spoilers )

    usagi at wikipedia / official usagi website / usagi at schwarzer turm


    previews and reviews :

    review issue 119 / preview issue 121 / preview issue 123 / preview issue 124 / preview issue 125 / preview issue 126 / review issue 126 / preview issue 127 / review issue 127 /review issue 128 / preview issue 129


    And this concludes our first installment of MONTH WITHOUT SUPERHEROES as I should have gone to bed one hour ago. I´m going to do the proofreading and spellchecking Tomorrow and maybe add one thing or two. I hope you liked our first foray into the world outside DC and Marvel and you will check out USAGI if you haven´t already.

    Since it´s awfully hot in Germany right now I´m going to get my pijama from the freezer and go to bed. Good night, till our next superhero - free post.

    New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest