Stan Sakai, creator of the long-running and always excellent Usagi Yojimbo, has been awarded the first Joe Kubert Distinguished Storyteller Award, as first reported by The Hollywood Reporter. The award was presented on Saturday at Ontario’s Comic Con Revolution.
Named for legendary artist and teacher Joe Kubert, The Joe Kubert Distinguished Storyteller Award was created to “recognize comic book creators who not only produce high-quality work, but also display a commitment to helping nurture and grow the comic book community as a whole, to which Kubert dedicated his life.” In addition to a career creating comics like Sgt. Rock, Hawkman and Fax from Sarajevo, the Eisner Hall of Fame member also founded the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in the 1970s, which still operates as the Kubert School today. Joe Kubert passed away in 2012.
“Alongside industry award icons Eisner and Kurtzman, we now have the Joe Kubert Distinguished Storyteller Award brought to us by the team at Atomic Crush Events to honor my father and his legacy,” said artist Andy Kubert. “Stan Sakai has brought his own ongoing legacy to our field that will be looked upon for generations to come. He is a perfect choice for the first Joe Kubert Distinguished Storyteller Award.”
Sakai first introduced the world to his most famous creation in 1984, in the pages of the anthology Albedo Anthropomorphics. He’d appear again the pages of Critters, published by Fantagraphics, who would eventually publish an ongoing series featuring the rabbit ronin. After 38 issues a d a few specials, Usagi Yojimbo moved to Mirage, home of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, who would welcome Usagi to the small screen on their own animated show. Usagi would then move to Dark Horse Comics, who have published it since 1996. The comic recently relaunched with a new first issue.
“For 20 years, it’s been the immense pleasure of Dark Horse Comics to publish the great Stan Sakai,” said Mike Richardson, the President and Publisher of Dark Horse Comics, in a press release. “For over 150 issues and numerous graphic novels, Usagi Yojimbo has charmed countless readers and fans. Stan Sakai’s storytelling is magical and it is my privilege to not only have published him but to have collaborated with him on 47 Ronin. Stan is a legendary cartoonist, one whose work will inspire creators and readers alike for years to come.”