Comic book legend Stan Sakai made his return to the CBR Tiki Room at WonderCon Anaheim to discuss, among other things, his extensive wardrobe of Hawaiian shirts and growing up in the Aloha State, the upcoming thirtieth anniversary of Usagi Yojimbo, announce his martian invasion “Usagi” miniseries, selling Usagi merchandise at LAX, a look at how he and Dark Horse Comics Publisher Mike Richardson worked together on “47 Ronin” and more.
On Usagi Yojimbo’s long-lasting popularity taking him around the world for shows , signings and more: I’ve gone to places like Croatia — you mentioned Croatia — Croatia did not exist as a country when I was growing up. Poland was a communist country, and I never imagined I’d travel there. The scandinavian countries, I’ve been to almost all of them. A lot with my friend Sergio Aragones, who loves to travel himself. I’ve been all over; it’s really neat!
On collaborating with Dark Horse’s publisher Mike RIchardson on “47 Ronin”: He’s been a delight to work with! He gave me full scripts, so I did not have to think that much about pacing or story breakdowns, compositions and things. But he’s also open to ideas I have, so I’ve made suggestions as far as stories, things about my research, and he’s very accepting of it. We’ve actually changed some aspects of the story some panels, because of my suggestions. It’s very open; it’s more of a collaboration than a writer/artist kind of thing. I would do something — I actually did something that I normally do not do. I would send in pencil art for approval — usually, for “Usagi,” I send in complete, finished art — for him to look at, to make corrections, also to change dialogue, if need be.
On how critical he is of his own work: I think I’m accepting of my… what I can do and what my limitations are. And besides, once I finish that work, I move on to something else. There have been instances where I would go back and redo pages and redo panels, but that was because some of my research was erroneous and I would go back and fix that rather than, “I don’t like the artwork.”
On returning to “Usagi” once “47 Ronin” is complete: Right when I finished the first issue of “47 Ronin” is, “Oh, I’m kind of jonesing to get back to ‘U sagi.” Like I said, “47 Ronin” should be finished in a few days, and then I’m jumping back to “Usagi,” first as a miniseries, a six-issue miniseries, completely unrelated to the [ongoing] “Usagi” storyline. Once that is done, then I’ll go back to the “Usagi” series, following the same [issue] number. And, as you know, I’ve already done more than two hundred issues.
The six-issue miniseries is completely unrelated to any “Usagi” storylines I’ve ever done. It’s called “Sensou,” which means “war.” Its premise is, what if the Martians sent a scout ship [to Earth] 200 years before H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds?” So, you’ve got these tripods versus samurai armies in full armor, ninja versus these octopus aliens — all kinds of stuff!