Hello everybody and welcome to the April edition of Digging Up Positivity! This episode is filled to the brink with charity events and fundraisers. And now that most of the world is slowly opening up again, the urge to go out and have fun again is real with many of us! When I visited some of them, like Elfia, it was like a reunion from a long lost time, and many conversations went like this [scene from the Witcher]:
I haven't seen you since the plague.
But besides new events, charities and just plain old outside fun, recently a new furry social network has been rapidly growing: Barq. And this social network has been founded by a Dutch Fur, Woutske, who is our featurette of this month, but now, without further ado: The charities.
I was beginning to worry there for a moment, but Rocket Raccoon will return in his own comic book series again next year. Stupid awkward Marvel "reboot" thingy.
This February comic book legend Stan Sakai and Dark Horse Press present a special Usagi Yojimbo one-shot for people looking to get a fresh start on this famous series. And the price is right: 1 issue for $1.00. “Miyamoto Usagi’s most popular adventure kicks off in this value-priced issue! A sweeping tale assembling nearly the series’ entire cast, Grasscutter finds the rabbit ronin drawn into a violent struggle over the legendary sword of the gods—the Grass Cutting Sword—as the fate of the nation hangs in the balance!” In black & white of course. Check it out at Dark Horse.
Guardians of the Galaxy was the only furry comic to make it to the top 100 list again, so I’ve got nothing.
From there, Usagi Yojimbo has grown to become a very famous comic book, traveling through several publishers, the most recent being Dark Horse Comics since 1996. The comic has always been written and drawn by Stan Sakai. During that time, he has become one of the most popular artists in the professional comic-book community, for his friendliness and readiness to join in numerous benefit projects. When furry fan artist Michael-Scot McMurry was dying of cancer in 2000, he drew the cover for a benefit comic book for McMurry’s expenses for an operation, showing Usagi and McMurry’s Zonie the coyote fighting monsters.
Stan has often been an attendee of furry conventions, sometimes with his wife, Sharon, and their two daughters. I remember one convention, probably a ConFurence in the mid-1990s, where Stan’s daughter Hannah, then about 3 years old, tried to climb up Kjartan Arnörsson, a lean 6'9". Stan was a member of Rowrbrazzle, the furry amateur press association, from 1990 to 1998. He is a member of the Furry Hall of Fame. His Usagi Yojimbo won the Ursa Major Award in the Best Anthropomorphic Comic Book category in every year from 2001 to 2005. He has also won non-furry awards such as the Eisners, a Parent's Choice Award, the Comic-Con's Inkpot, Spain's Haxtur Award and many others. He has been a furry convention guest-of-honor on three continents, at an Anthrocon, a EuroFurence and an Australian MiDFur.
If you have not heard – it has been widely publicized - Stan’s wife Sharon has had an inoperable brain tumor for the past decade. It was mild at first, but has gotten progressively worse until she is now confined to bed and in need of round-the-clock care. The Sakais have medical insurance, but their medical expenses have far exceeded the amount of the insurance. Dark Horse Comics and the Comic Art Professional Society have organized The Sakai Project, this 160-page hardcover book, to both celebrate Usagi Yojimbo’s 30th anniversary and as a benefit project for the Sakais’ medical expenses. All proceeds go to them. Dark Horse is not even reimbursing itself for the printing expenses.
By various, foreword by Mark Evanier, preface by Tone Rodriguez, Milwaukie, OR, Dark Horse Books, July 2014, hardcover $29.99 (160 pages).
Most people who know about Sakai’s Nilson Groundthumper series think of it as Sakai’s series just before the adventures of Usagi Yojimbo, but they were actually mostly contemporaneous. The first Nilson short story was published in Albedo: Anthropomorphics #1 in 1984; the first Usagi story was in Albedo #2.
The two alternated briefly, then Sakai concentrated on Usagi Yojimbo with an occasional Nilson story as a backup feature, or when Sakai wanted to do a standalone short story for a different magazine. Most of these were first published between 1985 and 1994, with a final story in 2013.
Milwaukie, OR, Dark Horse Books, March 2014, hardcover $14.99 (109 [+3] pages).
The only furry comic of note to make the May 2014 bestsellers list was Guardians of the Galaxy #15 at 25, so I’ll add that this month actually sees not one, but two furry takes on War of the Worlds, and I’m excited about both of them.
Which will be the best (or will Alan Moore’s Dr. Moreau vs. Martians still be the best furry War of the Worlds take)?
Happy Fourth of July! Hope it finds you all safe.
Celebrating 30 years of the bunny with brawn (and a very sharp sword), creator Stan Sakai brings us the Usagi Yojimbo Color Special: The Artist, a new one-shot coming this month from Dark Horse Press. “The artist of 47 Ronin returns to his signature creation in a new one-shot collecting four Usagi Yojimbo tales in full color, from the pages of Dark Horse Presents and MySpace DHP! In this issue, Usagi encounters ghosts, thugs, pumpkins(?!), and a foreign artist with a price on his head!” You’ll find it at the Dark Horse web site and of course many other places.
Furry comics that made the top 100 best-seller’s list for April 2014 include:
See also: July 2014
Sharon & Stan Sakai fundraising & call for submissions: hardcover to be published by Dark Horse ComicsPosted by earthfurst on Sun 16 Feb 2014 - 11:29
As reported a few months ago, Sharon Sakai has been battling illness. The Cartoon Arts Professional Society (CAPS) have been fundraising for Sharon & Stan Sakai (creator of Usagi Yojimbo) to help with medical bills.
Dark Horse will be publishing a hardcover benefit book The Sakai Project: Artists Celebrate Thirty Years of "Usagi Yojimbo" in association with CAPS. On January 31 the participation of 47 creators was announced with a call for art submissions from industry professionals with a deadline of February 20. The Sakai Project will be released on July 23.
Participating artists include:
- Arthur Adams
- Brian Michael Bendis
- Howard Chaykin
- Mark Crilley (Akiko)
- Geof Darrow
- Edgar Delgado (Ultraduck & Ultrapato)
- Stephanie Gladden (Hopster's Tracks)
- Michael Golden (Bucky O'Hare)
- Matt Groening (Simpsons, Life In Hell)
- Mike Kunkel (Herobear and the Kid)
- Batton Lash (Supernatural Law)
- Oscar Martin (did Solo?)
- Mike Mignola (Hellboy & Abe Sapien)
- Bill Morrison (Captain Carrot and the Final Ark)
- Michael Avon Oeming (The Mice Templar)
- Scott Shaw (Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew)
- Jeff Smith (Bone)
- Phil Yeh (Frank the Unicorn and Penguin & Pencilguin)
Stan Sakai is world-famous as the creator, writer, and artist of Usagi Yojimbo, a multiple-award-winning funny animal comic. He has given a lot to our furry fan community, not only from his creation but from his appearances at furry conventions around the country. Now, Stan needs some real help. His wife Sharon has been battling cancer, and she has been in and out of hospitals for some time — basically needing 24-hour care even when she is at home. The couple have insurance, but the bills have been piling up far past what their insurance will cover. The Cartoon Arts Professional Society have set up a site asking for donations to help Stan and Sharon cover their medical expenses. Please visit and contribute this holiday season if you can. Give back to someone who’s given us great characters and great art!
Previews for May featured an interview with Stan Sakai; he’s finishing up 47 Ronin soon and looking forward to getting back to Usagi Yojimbo. Before that, though, he mentions that he wants to do a non-canonical mini-series featuring the ronin rabbit versus the Martians from The War of the Worlds. So that’s something to look forward to.
Also, remember Free Comic Book Day is Saturday, May 4.
The game adaptation, a classic-style beat-em-up side-scroller, is being created by Happy Giant Media. Their CEO Michael Levine has said that the game will feature over 80 different enemy types, and 15 unique bosses. Usagi will fight solo, or with companions he picks up along his journey.
In order to preserve the graphic-novel feel of Usagi's original media, the game will also feature interactive comic book-style cutscenes.
Happy Giant is aiming to release Usagi Yojimbo (for iPhone and iPad) around Christmas. The game is expected to be "probably a dollar or free", with in-app purchases for special power-ups and costumes.
In the latest collection of Usagi Yojimbo comics coming from Dark Horse, the rabbit ronin faces an army of the undead! Here’s the publisher’s description of Usagi Yojimbo Volume 26: Traitors of the Earth — “With hundreds of zombies and an evil wizard to contend with, Usagi finds himself far out of his depth! Fortunately, he has the aid of fan-favorite character Sasuké the Demon Queller, most recently seen in the Yokai graphic novel. This volume also features several action-packed short stories, including the Eisner-nominated “Death of Lord Hikiji”! This volume collects Usagi Yojimbo #117–#123 and stories from Dark Horse Maverick 2001 and MySpace Dark Horse Presents #35.” When it arrives in stores it’ll be available in softcover, and also in a special signed hardcover edition that will be limited to 350 copies. The introduction is by well-known comic book great Walter Simonson (Thor, Orion). All of this brought to you by the multi-award-winning writer and artist Stan Sakai, of course.
Another low-furry month, and the best items in my opinion are borderline, the last two in this post. An even later report than usual; sorry. But it may still be of historical value.