It probably doesn't need an introduction, but Ghost World is one the most acclaimed independent comics ever made. It was also made into a movie with Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson in the starring roles. If you've only seen the film, the comic has less of an actual plot but in my opinion it's the stronger of the two. One of the biggest changes in the film is the introduction of a character played by Steve Buscemi who in effect becomes the story's deutaragonist (at times it even feels like he's the main character) and it overshadows the relationship between the two girls to the film's detriment in my opinion.
( Scans under the cut... )
This is a graphic novel about Jeffrey Dahmer written from the perspective of someone who was friends with him in high school.
I'm not sure where to even begin with what might be triggering given who it's about. That being said they don't show any of the murders but they are alluded to.
The manga "Lone Wolf and Cub" became a film in 1972, and that film was also told in an Usagi story and created a pair of his recurring characters: sword-for-hire Yagi ("Lone Goat") and his son Gorogoro ("Kid").
( 9 out of 28 pages )
This story is collected in Fantagraphic's Usagi Yojimbo Book 5, which bears the same name as this story.
I have decided to not include Jei stories because, although he is a supernatural-themed villain, he has a different function in the Usagiverse, serving more as the main antagonist.
( Six stories out of dozens )
Any stories you remember or want to discuss, feel free to in the comments!
He was introduced in a short 10-page story in Critters #7, January 1987, which can also be found in Fantagraphics' first Usagi Yojimbo book, "The Ronin".
( Only 3 and 1/3 pages below )
Ino was used a lot in the Fantagraphics run (1984-1993), then not so much in the Mirage run (1993-1996), when he was retired by Stan with a beautiful story, and has been absent from the Dark Horse 20+ years run. He still remains a favourite for lots of Usagi fans, including several names in the comic book industry.
Conversely, Dark Horse has been putting out their own series of EC reprints. These versions are digitally recolored and are published in chronological order. There are some here.
I will probably continue to use Fantagraphics' versions for the time being just because I already have them in my collection but I was wondering which versions you would prefer to see if I was able to pick from both.
His most noteworthy enemy, however, is Jei, the psychopathic killer who calls himself the "Blade of the Gods". The best way to describe him would be "self-deluded body-hopping Jason Voorhees (Jei-san is a pun and an homage to Friday 13th) meets the Joker". He kills mercilessly and gleefully anyone his Gods deem "evil". Problem is, that is pretty much everyone (although I've never seen him kill a child), and he considers Usagi the ultimate evil - his endgame is to kill Usagi and become "one with the Gods".
( Read more... )
Jei is a very versatile villain. He can be used in one-shots, he can be the big baddie in an arc, he can be that ever-looming menace. He was used as the antagonist in both recent TMNT/Usagi crossovers (TV and comics) and, in both cases, they used his first incarnation (Jizonobu).
His origin and Hama's possession were collected in Book 24: Return of the Black Soul and Usagi Yojimbo Saga Book 6.
Next profile: Chizu the cat ninja.
Gen is a gruff, cantankerous mercenary who will always put money before honour. He has a penchant for shortcuts that always get him, or whoever is foolish enough to take his advice (usually Usagi) in trouble. He is a glutton who enjoys his saké. But he is also a very competent swordsman and, (not so) deep down, someone with a very generous heart and loyal to his friends. And, no matter what Usagi might say, he is Long Ears' best friend, with most of the "buddy comedy" angle of the series stemming from their interactions.
( 'Would I cheat a friend?' )
Stan noticed that the rhino bounty hunter's lack of morals made a good foil to Usagi's more serious and honourable personality, so Gen came back several times since then (although he hasn't shown up lately).
Also, his horn was cut off in a fight with Zato-Ino the blind swordspig, who I plan to profile someday. The complete horn he sports while telling his origin story is a ceramic prosthetic which is broken in the course of the story.
To end: Gen's inspiration is Toshiro Mifune in the film "Yojimbo"
Next: Kitsuné, the flirty fox thief!
He is a young samurai-in-training who hails from the same village as Usagi, and is being trained by our rabbit ronin's former teacher, Katsuichi. Jotaro has met his "Uncle Usagi" several times, whenever Long Ears went to visit his birthplace. After Katsuichi-sensei is challenged to a duel by an old adversary and has to leave the mountains (I really want to post this storyline in the future) with his students Shunji and Jotaro, the young rabbit meets Usagi and gets to spend some time with our main character.
But there's more to Jotaro than meets the eye. And that is what Tomoe will find out in the story "Kill the Geishu Lord".
( My most spoilerrific post so far )
That's it for Jotaro. Stay tuned for the next profile; my favourite character by far. The persimmon-loving, money-grabbing, dirty cheating rhino bounty hunter with a heart of gold: Gen!
I had the pleasure to chat with Don, and told him that I though he did a good job on continuing Carl Barks' work. He quipped "I think just you and me know who Carl Barks is in this room, kid".
While I'm sure it's an exaggeration, what I do know is we don't have enough Barks or Rosa here. So I'll post a sample of a 1996 Don Rosa story that was reprinted by Fantagraphics in 2014 for Free Comic Book day, called "A Matter of Some Gravity".
( And by sheer coincidence, guess the song playing on the radio )
It may seem like 'cheating', but I'd like to start with the hero of the series, Usagi. First, because obviously pretty much every story revolves around him in some way or another and, second, because it is a quick and convenient way to understand the series' setting.
Fortunately for us, Stan already laid out the fundamentals of Usagi's universe in his first 4 issues of his own comics, back in the mid-80's. Before that, 'Long-Ears', as his friend Gen calls him, was a feature in "Albedo Anthropomorphics #2" before getting his own series in 1986 with Fantagraphics.
BTW, UY's publication history runs like this: Fantagraphics #1-38 (which I call vol. 1), Mirage Studios #1-16 (I call them vol. 2) and Dark Horse #1-160 so far, with 161 and 162 ready for pre-order (I call them vol. 3 up to #38, then I simply give their number with no 'vol.' before, for simplicity's sake).
(That's a scar over his left eye, not an eyebrow).
So, let's find out more about the hero of this fascinating series - starting with his name!
( 20 pages of a badass lagomorph below )
Whoof, that was a lot. Hope you made it through to the end :)
This is collected on the trade paperback Samurai and also on Fantagraphics' "Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition" (which unfortunately seems to be out of print. Maybe it can be found on Amazon?).
I'm planning to do the origin stories of Tomoe Ame the cat samurai, Gen the rhino bounty-hunter, Kitsuné the fox thief, Jei "the Blade of the Gods", and a story illustrating Inspector Ishida, Jotaro (Mariko's son) and Chizu the cat ninja. I might also do one with miscellaneous characters I think are somewhat relevant to some story arcs (Sanshobo the priest, Sasuké the demon queller, Inazuma "the Lightning", Zato-Ino the blind swordspig, General Ikeda), as long as you are interested.