Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo will once again team with Eastman and Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in a new one-shot, coming from IDW Publishing and Dark Horse Comics this summer.
Usagi of course has met the Turtles before, not only in comics but also on their animated television show. He was also an action figure in their 1990s toy line. But those were different Turtles, Sakai explained in the press release.
“I had wanted to reunite Usagi and the TMNT for awhile, but these are not the Turtles that he knew,” said Stan Sakai. “Relationships have to be reestablished, suspicions overcome, and trust earned. The survival of all Japan literally rests on them working as a team.”
He shared more about the story with Entertainment Weekly. Like many of Usagi’s tales, it pulls from Japanese folklore:
The story is called “Namazu.” It’s based upon the folklore of a giant catfish that lives underneath the Japanese islands. When it moves, that’s what causes earthquakes. There’s a god, Kashima, who had trapped it, pinned it down with a huge capstone. In my story, a piece of the capstone has crumbled off centuries ago, and that has weakened it. Because of that, the catfish has gotten stronger and is able to move a bit more. Usagi and the Turtles come into possession of a fragment of the capstone, and they have to put the fragments back together to trap the catfish. Otherwise, it will literally tear the Japanese islands apart. One of my characters called Jei is on a sacred quest to destroy all evil in the world. He reasons if he destroys all people, he’ll be destroying evil. So he wants the Japanese islands to be destroyed and is preventing them from completing their mission. It’s just full of fun.
The crossover will be available this July in both standard comic book format and as a deluxe hardcover collector’s edition. Both editions will feature exclusive extras including layouts, pin-ups, character studies and more. David Petersen of Mouse Guard fame has drawn the book’s variant cover, which you can see at the EW link above.