Usagi Yojimbo Leaves Dark Horse
This is a change I was not expecting. Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo is an incredibly long-running, award-winning, wonderfully drawn series about a samurai rabbit in an historical Japan where everyone is an animal. It has been published by Dark Horse since 1996 (although previous runs were put out by Fantagraphics and Mirage in the decade before that). IDW has just announced that, beginning in June, the series will be published by them.
Usagi Yojimbo will now be monthly, in full color (colored by Tom Luth), and IDW will also release a complete, full-color graphic novel library that covers all of its 35-year run.
Typical of the current comic market, the new series will launch with variant covers. Sakai provides the main cover, with alternates by Daniel Warren Johnson, Kevin Eastman, and Walt Simonson. The first three issues will be a story about bunraku (Japanese puppetry).
Dark Horse’s last Usagi Yojimbo publication may be the collection of the recent seven-issue The Hidden. The paperback is due out June 26, with a limited signed hardcover on July 10.
This is more bad news for Dark Horse, which has been shedding properties lately: Star Wars and Conan to Marvel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other Joss Whedon brands to Boom. But they still have Hellboy, American Gods, Black Hammer, The Umbrella Academy, various video game tie-ins, and some Disney collections.