Stan Sakai’s legendary run on Usagi Yojimbo has walked the path with multiple publishers over the decades, including Fantagraphics and, most recently, IDW. But now the legendary ronin rabbit will return to the publisher where he stayed the longest — Dark Horse Comics.
Following a more than two-year stint at IDW, Stan Sakai will return to Dark Horse to helm his own imprint: Dogu Publishing — joining Karen Berger, Matt Kindt, Kevin Smith and Brian Michael Bendis, who also have their own imprints at Dark Horse. Prior to 2019, Dark Horse had published Usagi for more than 20 years.
“I’m very excited, honored and thankful to have my own publishing imprint with Dark Horse,” Sakai said. “As the sole creator and owner of Usagi Yojimbo, this is a significant milestone. I’ve known Mike Richardson for more than 30 years and he is one of the pioneers and champions of creator-owned IP. As the industry continues to change, I feel he brings a unique progressive perspective.”
Sakai will be joined at Dogu by several others: CEO Jeremiah Blank, COO Julie Sakai, and Daniel Fujii, president and publisher for Dogu Publishing. Emi Fujii, who colored Stan and Julie’s work on the graphic novel Chibi Usagi and the Attack of the Heebie Chibis, will also be involved.
“Having Julie, Daniel, Jeremiah and Emi step into the business and creative support roles has been a welcomed addition to my brand. Being the sole creator of Usagi Yojimbo takes a tremendous amount of time and responsibility. I still write, hand-draw, and hand-letter each story. Because of this new synergy, I am able to continue to do what I love most: Create more Usagi Yojimbo stories. We feel that through this imprint with Dark Horse, an expanded Usagi Universe is becoming a reality,” Sakai said.
According to the press release, Dogu will serve not only as the home for Sakai’s stories, but also will “create a space for up-and-coming creators and artists to be featured, and to expand the Usagi Yojimbo universe through working with other artists and writers.” Dark Horse and Dogu plan to continue to publish Chibi Usagi, Space Usagi, the Color Classics and more to be announced.
“It is with great excitement that we welcome back Stan Sakai and Usagi Yojimbo to the Dark Horse family,” said Dark Horse founder Mike Richardson. “Stan is one of comics’ legendary creators and we are extremely proud to announce the launch of Dogu Publishing. Stan and his team are preparing new adventures with Usagi Yojimbo, as well as bringing new and important voices to the comics community. Stan and I have been friends for a very long time and I am extremely pleased to renew our partnership at Dark Horse.”