"As a storyteller, Stan Sakai is one of the few artists working in comics who completely understands his medium."
- Jeff Smith, Bone comics
Stan Sakai is (IMHO) one of the greatest cartoonists alive today. Most people will probably only know him for his lettering on Sergio Aragones's Groo, Legend of Kamui and the spiderman sunday strips, he actually has his own comic series Usagi Yojimbo currently being published and old issues reprinted by Dark Horse. His stories (set in Edo period japan) usually delve deeply into japanese folk lore and mythology, and are nonetheless highly entertaining. One of his main secrets on why his stories are so entertaining is best expressed in his own words:
The audience that I aimed for is myself.
I just write whatever I feel comfortable with, whatever I like drawing. It seems to have clicked with so many people.
- Stan about himself.
Other less known series include: Nilson Groundthumper, Space Usagi, Ten Little Critters.
Although born in Japan in 1953, Sakai is actually a third generation japanese-american, who grew up on Hawaii and now lives in sunny california. He keeps in contact with his fans on the internet and in many shows and seems like an overall nice guy.
On his webpage, he lists the following people as his main influences in his drawing: Steve Ditko, Sergio Aragones, Milo Manara, Moebius, Jack Kirby, Bill Stout, Walt Kelly, Carl Barks, and Akira Kurosawa.
A couple of links for further information:
- His site: http://stansakai.com
- The official Fanpage: http://www.usagiyojimbo.com