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How To Start Reading Usagi Yojimbo [Guide]

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Cartoonist Stan Sakai has been creating Usagi Yojimbo since its inception in 1984. Throughout this time, the comic has told the story of Miyamoto Usagi, a ronin samurai, who wanders an anthropomorphic feudal Japan doing good deeds. Many stories are inspired by real-life samurai Miyamoto Musashi and Akira Kurosawa films, however, Sakai also takes much inspiration from facets of Japanese society and folklore.

While the comic has never been a huge seller, Usagi Yojimbo is a critical darling and has won many Eisner Awards. This is because Stan Sakai uses the elements listed above and combines them with his strong storytelling abilities. He has a natural talent for framing dynamic pages that flow well as a sequence in clean but interesting ways. It’s rare to find an uninspired page.

(I could go on and on about why Usagi Yojimbo is great. I should write a more comprehensive piece in the future.)

With the comic series inspired Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles hitting Netflix, there’s never been a better time to read Usagi Yojimbo. But where do you start? With hundreds of comics over four publishers, it’s a reasonable question to ask. With this handy guide, you will soon see that it’s easier than you think!

It will help get you started reading Usagi Yojimbo and answer any questions you might have about it along the way.

Enjoy!

Quick Glossary

Before getting into this guide proper, here is an explanation of a few terms used in Usagi Yojimbo and this guide.

Vol: Throughout this guide you will see the term “Vol” used in conjunction with a series name – for instance, Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3). This is short for Volume and helps distinguish the different Usagi Yojimbo series over the years.

Usagi: Rabbit in Japanese.

Yojimbo: A samurai bodyguard.

Ronin: A samurai without a master or lord.

Check out the Glossary of Comic Book Terms for more explanations of terms.

Usagi Yojimbo 25th anniversary poster featuring the extended cast by Stan Sakai and Tom Luth.
Usagi Yojimbo 25th anniversary poster featuring the extended cast by Stan Sakai and Tom Luth.

Where To Start Reading Usagi Yojimbo

Usagi Yojimbo is one of those rare comics where you can start almost with almost any story.

The comic’s accessibility primarily comes down to how it is structured. Usagi is a wanderer who travels throughout feudal Japan. As a result, he’s always meeting new people and facing new challenges.

That’s not to say there is no continuity with Usagi Yojimbo. It’s just Stan Sakai is more interested in telling new tales instead of bogging the reader in what has happened before. For instance, the comic has a wide cast of semi-recurring characters who appear depending on the story. When they’re involved in a tale, they might reference when Usagi last saw them, but it’s not essential to what is happening in the story that’s being told at the time.

With that in mind, you can pick up Usagi Yojimbo almost anywhere. Although, it’s best to begin at part 1 of a storyline as jumping into the middle of a multi-part story could be confusing. Luckily, the ongoing series has included the story’s name and the chapter on the cover since 2015. This information is on the inside cover for earlier issues. Alternatively, you can check out this handy Wikipedia page for reference.

This is a long way of saying that you don’t have to start reading Usagi Yojimbo from the very beginning. You can pick up any story or collected edition and begin from there.

Usagi Yojimbo interior page by Stan Sakai.
Usagi Yojimbo interior page by Stan Sakai.

Black and White or Colour?

Usagi Yojimbo has been published in black and white for the majority of its publication history. When the comic first began in 1984, it was part of a boom of independent comics that came up with the introduction of the direct market and the popularity of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. However, it was cost-prohibitive to publish comics like these in colour. As a result, most of these comics were printed in black and white – including Usagi Yojimbo.

As the years went on, the comic continued in black and white, with the occasional story in colour. However, it wasn’t until Usagi Yojimbo moved to IDW Publishing that it was published in colour with regularity.

If you asked most long-term readers their preference, they would probably tell you it’s black and white. This makes sense as the comic was black and white for so long. However, there’s nothing wrong with the stories in colour either.

Check out the IDW material if you’re one of those picky readers who refuses to read black and white comics. (That’s a shame as you’re missing out on some excellent comics.) If you’re fine with the black and white art, you have your pick of Usagi Yojimbo comics to enjoy.

Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 4) #6 cover by Stan Sakai.
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 4) #6 cover by Stan Sakai.

Is There An Origin Story?

Some readers feel compelled to read a character’s origin before reading any other material. You’re in luck if that sounds like you. The story of how Usagi became a ronin has been told five times over the years. Each time, Stan Sakai expands upon it with more details.

The retelling I recommend happens to be the most recent – Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 4) #6. This one takes all of the details from the previous incarnations and expands upon them in the context of the very first Usagi Yojimbo story – “The Goblin of Adachigahara”.

Is Usagi Yojimbo Suitable For Kids?

For the most part, Usagi Yojimbo is suitable for older kids (aged 9+), but some parental digression may be required. I say this because the comic book series contains regular death. In most instances, it’s relatively bloodless violence. However, there is some blood in the earlier stories when Stan Sakai was still figuring out the comic’s tone.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Usagi Yojimbo cover by Stan Sakai and Tom Luth.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Usagi Yojimbo cover by Stan Sakai and Tom Luth.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Connection

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fans have come across Miyamoto Usagi before. Not only has he appeared in a few comics, but also in episodes of multiple animated series and action figure lines.

I believe this is because Stan Sakai is good friends with TMNT creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Liard. This makes sense as Usagi Yojimbo and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were created around the same time and the creators probably hung around in similar circles.

The Different Publishers Explained

While Usagi Yojimbo is an accessible comic, what can make it confusing is that it has been published by multiple publishers over its 35+ year history. While this is not uncommon for long-running creator-owned series to move publishers, what makes it different is that each publisher (except for Mirage Comics) has kept the publishing rights for their comics.

Below is a summary of each publisher who has released Usagi Yojimbo and how their comics have differed from one another.

Usagi Yojimbo Book 1: The Ronin cover by Stan Sakai.
Usagi Yojimbo Book 1: The Ronin cover by Stan Sakai.

Fantagraphics

Which Usagi Yojimbo comics did they publish?: Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 1) #1-38 and short stories from various anthologies.

Fantagraphics is the original publisher of Usagi Yojimbo, publishing comics from 1984 to 1993. They still reprint the stories from this era in collected editions, however, other publishers also carry the rights to these comics in different formats. This guide goes into more detail about these later in this guide.

Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 2) #2 cover by Stan Sakai.
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 2) #2 cover by Stan Sakai.

Mirage Comics

Which Usagi Yojimbo comics did they publish?: Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 2) #1-16, 2 Space Usagi miniseries, and a few crossovers with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Usagi Yojimbo moved from Fantagraphics to Mirage Comics, the original home of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, in 1993. During this time, Mirage relaunched* the ongoing series, referred to as “Vol 2” by readers, and published the first two Space Usagi miniseries and some TMNT crossovers.

Mirage Comics is no longer operational and Dark Horse Comics now has the publishing rights to the material of this era. Find out more about this in the “Mirage/Dark Horse Comics Era” section of this guide.

Usagi Yojimbo #131 cover by Stan Sakai.
Usagi Yojimbo #131 cover by Stan Sakai.

Dark Horse Comics

Which Usagi Yojimbo comics did they publish?: Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #1-165, 2 miniseries, various one-shots and short stories, an original graphic novel, and the third Space Usagi miniseries.

Usagi Yojimbo moved publishers yet again in 1996. This time it was Dark Horse Comics, which was the home for the comic until 2018. Yet again, the comic was relaunched*, this time running for an impressive 165 issues. Along the way, Stan Sakai also created two miniseries, various one-shots and short stories, and an original graphic novel.

As mentioned above, Dark Horse Comics also reprints the material from Mirage Comics. In addition to this, they offer digital versions of the single issues. (This is explained in more detail later.)

Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 4) #27 cover by Stan Sakai and Emi Fujii.
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 4) #27 cover by Stan Sakai and Emi Fujii.

IDW Publishing

Which Usagi Yojimbo comics did they publish?: Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 4) #1-ongoing, 1 original graphic novel, a TMNT crossover, and colour reprints.

Since 2019, IDW Publishing has become the new home of Usagi Yojimbo. The long-running series was relaunched*, but now in full colour every month. In addition to the ongoing series, IDW has been republishing the Fantagraphics issues in colour.

*Each series relaunch kept the history intact. It was just that the issue numbering reset back to #1 to make it more accessible to new readers. As you will see below, the numbering of the trade paperback collections would continue from publisher to publisher.


Find out more about what you can read from each publishing era below.

Usagi Yojimbo Book 2: Samurai cover by Stan Sakai.
Usagi Yojimbo Book 2: Samurai cover by Stan Sakai.

Fantagraphics Era

Take a look below at everything published by Fantagraphics. This section also explains the weird publishing quirks that come with this era of Usagi Yojimbo.

Trade Paperback Collections

The Fantagraphics era has been reprinted in the following trade paperback collections. These were also released as a limited edition signed hardcover too, but are long out of print.

Usagi Yojimbo Book 1: The Ronin
Collects:
Stories from Albedo Anthropomorphics #2-4, Usagi Yojimbo: Summer Special #1, The Doomsday Squad #3; and Critters #1, #3, #6-7, #10-11 and #14.

Usagi Yojimbo Book 2: Samurai
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 1) #1-6

Usagi Yojimbo Book 3: Wanderer’s Road
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 1) #7-12 and a story from Turtle Soup #1

Usagi Yojimbo Book 4: Dragon Bellow Conspiracy
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 1) #13-18

Usagi Yojimbo Book 5: Lone Goat and Kid
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 1) #19-24

Usagi Yojimbo Book 6: Circles
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 1) #25-31 and a story from Critters #50

Usagi Yojimbo Book 7: Gen’s Story
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 1) #32-38 and a story from Critters #38

Buy Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 1) on:

IDW Publishing is colouring the Fantagraphics era as a series of miniseries grouped by storylines. Find out more about that in detail later in this guide.

Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition by Stan Sakai.
Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition by Stan Sakai.

Hardcover Box Set

For those who want something that will look nice on the bookshelf, Fantagraphics has released Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition. This two-volume hardcover box set collects all seven volumes and a plus a bunch of other extras. See the details below:

Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition
Collects: Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 1) #1-38, and short stories from Albedo Anthropomorphics #2-4, Usagi Yojimbo: Summer Special #1, The Doomsday Squad #3; Critters #1, 3, 6-7, 10-11, 14, 38, and 50; and Turtle Soup #1.

Extras include rare art, interviews with Stan Sakai, and hard to find material. If you’re a die-hard fan, then I highly recommend The Special Edition.

Digital Comics

The Fantagraphics era can be a little confusing when it comes to digital editions. Here’s a summary and solution for digital readers.

If you prefer reading the collected editions digitally: Fantagraphics has made all the trade paperback collections (books 1-7 and Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition) available digitally.

These digital editions are only available on Kindle Comics (collected editions | The Special Edition)

If you prefer to read individual issues digitally: Dark Horse Comics currently has the publishing rights to these comics and has released them as so:

  • Classic Usagi Yojimbo #1-4 (These collect the short stories from various anthologies)
  • Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 1 #1-38 (This is the original Fantagraphics ongoing series)

These digital editions can be found on Kindle Comics and Dark Horse Digital.

If you prefer to read Usagi Yojimbo in colour digitally: IDW Publishing has the publishing rights to this material in colour. The single issues, grouped as miniseries, and collected editions are available digitally. More information on these later in the guide.

These digital editions can be found on Kindle Comics and the IDW Publishing website.

Usagi Yojimbo Book 8: Shades of Death cover by Stan Sakai.
Usagi Yojimbo Book 8: Shades of Death cover by Stan Sakai.

Mirage/Dark Horse Comics Era

For the sake of this guide, the Mirage and Dark Horse eras have been combined.

Trade Paperback Collections

The Mirage era has been reprinted in books 8-10 and the Dark Horse era as books 10-33, plus a few others. Find out more about these below. These were also released as a limited edition signed hardcover too, but are long out of print.

Usagi Yojimbo Book 8: Shades of Death
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 2) #1-6 and material #7-8

Usagi Yojimbo Book 9: Daisho
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 2) #7-12 and #14

Usagi Yojimbo Book 10: The Brink of Life and Death
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 2) #13, #15-16 and Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #1-6

Usagi Yojimbo 11: Seasons
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #7-12, Usagi Yojimbo Color Special: Green Persimmon #1, and stories from Usagi Yojimbo Roleplaying Game and The Art of Usagi Yojimbo #1

Usagi Yojimbo Book 12: Grasscutter
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #13-22

Usagi Yojimbo Book 13: Grey Shadows
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #23-30

Usagi Yojimbo Book 14: Demon Mask
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #31-38 and short stories from Dark Horse Presents #140, Dark Horse Presents Annual #3, Wizard Magazine #97, Oni Double Feature #11, and Dark Horse Extra #20-23

Usagi Yojimbo Book 15: Grasscutter II – Journey to Atsuta Shrine
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #39-45

Usagi Yojimbo Book 16: The Shrouded Moon
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo Book 15: Grasscutter II – Journey to Atsuta Shrine
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #46-52

Usagi Yojimbo Book 17: Duel at Kitanoji
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #53-60 and short stories from Dark Horse Extra #45-48

Usagi Yojimbo Book 18: Travels with Jotaro
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #61-68

Usagi Yojimbo Book 19: Fathers and Sons
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #69-75

Usagi Yojimbo Book 20: Glimpses of Death
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #76-82 and a story from Drawing the Line

Usagi Yojimbo Book 21: The Mother of Mountains
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #83-89

Usagi Yojimbo Book 22: Tomoe’s Story
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #90-93 and Usagi Yojimbo Color Special #1-3

Usagi Yojimbo Book 23: Bridge of Tears
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #94-102

Usagi Yojimbo Book 24: Return of the Black Soul
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #103-109 and a short story from Free Comic Book Day: Star Wars/Dark Horse All Ages #1

Usagi Yojimbo Book 25: Fox Hunt
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #110-116 and a short story from MySpace Dark Horse Presents #18

Usagi Yojimbo Book 26: Traitors of the Earth
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #117-123, Dark Horse Maverick 2001 #1, and a short story from MySpace Dark Horse Presents #35

Usagi Yojimbo Book 27: A Town Called Hell
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #124-131

Usagi Yojimbo Book 28: Red Scorpion
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #132-138

Usagi Yojimbo Book 29: Two Hundred Jizo
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #139-144 and short stories from Dark Horse Presents (2011 series) #7 and #35-36

Usagi Yojimbo Book 30: Thieves and Spies
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #145-151

Usagi Yojimbo Book 31: The Hell Screen
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #152-158

Usagi Yojimbo Book 32: Mysteries
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #159-165

Usagi Yojimbo Book 33: The Hidden
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo: The Hidden #1-7

Usagi Yojimbo/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Complete Collection
Collects:
Short stories ‘”Turtle Soup and Rabbit Stew”, “The Crossing”, “The Treaty”, “Shades of Green”, and “Namazu”

Note: Usagi Yojimbo/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Complete Collection collect all the crossovers between Usagi Yojimbo and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Space Usagi
Collects:
Space Usagi (Vol 1) #1-3, Space Usagi (Vol 2) #1-3, Space Usagi (Vol 3) #1-3, Usagi Yojimbo Color Special #3, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #47

Note: Space Usagi is a science fiction, out-of-continuity, spin-off where Usagi is in outer space.

Usagi Yojimbo: Yokai

Note: Yokai is a fully painted original graphic novel.

Usagi Yojimbo: Senso
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo: Senso #1-6

Note: Imagine Usagi Yojimbo meets War of the Worlds.

Buy Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) on:

Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 1 (Second Edition) cover by Stan Sakai.
Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 1 (Second Edition) cover by Stan Sakai.

Usagi Yojimbo Saga Collections

Dark Horse Comics has released this era of Usagi Yojimbo in 600+ page collections. They cover the same content as above but in much larger chunks. See the details below.

Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 1
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 2) #1-16 and Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #1-6 (Equivalent of TPBs 8-10)

Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 2
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #7-30 and Usagi Yojimbo: Green Persimmon (Equivalent of TPBs 11-13)

Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 3
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #31-52 and and short stories from Dark Horse Presents #140, Dark Horse Presents Annual #3, Wizard Magazine #97, Oni Double Feature #11, and Dark Horse Extra #20-23 (Equivalent of TPBs 14-16)

Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 4
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #53-75 and short stories from Dark Horse Extra #45-48 (Equivalent of TPBs 17-19)

Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 5
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #76-93 and short stories from Drawing the Line and Usagi Yojimbo Color Special #1-3 (Equivalent of TPBs 20-22)

Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 6
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #94-116 and short stories from Free Comic Book Day: Star Wars / Dark Horse All Ages #1 and MySpace Dark Horse Presents #18 (Equivalent of TPBs 23-25)

Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 7
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #117-138 and short stories from Dark Horse Maverick 2001 #1 and MySpace Dark Horse Presents #35 (Equivalent of TPBs 26-28)

Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 8
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #139-158 and short story from Dark Horse Presents (2011 series) #7 and #35-36 (Equivalent of TPBs 29-31)

Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 9
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #159-165, Usagi Yojimbo: The Hidden #1-7 (Equivalent of TPBs 32-33 and Usagi Yojimbo/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Complete Collection)

Usagi Yojimbo Saga Legends
Collects:
Space Usagi (Vol 1) #1-3, Space Usagi (Vol 2) #1-3, Space Usagi (Vol 3) #1-3, Usagi Yojimbo Color Special #3, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #47, Usagi Yojimbo: Yokai, Usagi Yojimbo: Senso #1-6 and a story from CBLDF Liberty Annual 2014 #1

Buy Usagi Yojimbo Saga on:

You might see online that “(Second Edition)” is attached to the title of the Usagi Yojimbo Saga collections. This is because the original editions went out of print for a while. Dark Horse Comics reprinted them with a new cover, hence why they’re referred to as a second edition. They include all the same comics as the previous edition.

The Usagi Yojimbo Saga collections were also released as a limited edition hardcover. These were printed in limited numbers and, as a result, go for more than $200 each on eBay. They’re made for hardcore collectors who want something nice on the shelf.

Digital Comics

For those who refer to read digitally, then there are a few different options available for reading Usagi Yojimbo.

  • The original trade paperback collections (as listed above)
  • The Usagi Yojimbo Saga collections (as listed above)
  • Single issues (although there’s a catch)

The Usagi Yojimbo trade paperback collections or the Saga collections are the best options as you can get them all and they will cover all your bases with the Mirage and Dark Horse Comics eras. However, not all the single issues have been digitised on their own. At the time of writing this guide, these are what’s available:

  • Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 2) #4-8
  • Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #134-165
  • Usagi Yojimbo: The Hidden #1-7
  • Usagi Yojimbo: Senso #1-6
  • Usagi Yojimbo: Yokai

If you are looking to read a particular issue(s) that hasn’t been digitised then you will need to pick up a digital version of either the trade paperback or Saga collection that contains that issue.

Buy digital comics on: Kindle and Dark Horse Digital.

Usagi Yojimbo Book 34: Bunraku and Other Stories cover by Stan Sakai.
Usagi Yojimbo Book 34: Bunraku and Other Stories cover by Stan Sakai.

IDW Publishing Era (Current)

IDW is the current home for new Usagi Yojimbo stories. The publisher is releasing a full-colour ongoing series in addition to colouring work from the Fantagraphics era.

Trade Paperback Collections

The following trade paperback collections are available so far. As Usagi Yojimbo is still in publication, more will be added to this list as they’re announced. These are available as limited edition hardcovers too from Stan Sakai’s webshop, select comic book stores, and the IDW Publishing website.

Usagi Yojimbo Book 34: Bunraku and Other Stories
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 4) #1-7

Usagi Yojimbo Book 35: Homecoming
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 4) #8-14

Usagi Yojimbo Book 36: Tengu War!
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 4) #15-21

Usagi Yojimbo Book 37: Crossovers
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 4) #22-28

Note: More trade paperbacks will be added as they are released.

Chibi Usagi: Attack of the Heebie Chibis

Note: Chibi Usagi: Attack of the Heebie Chibis is an original graphic co-authored and illustrated by Julie Fujii Sakai.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Usagi Yojimbo

Buy Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 4) on: eBay | Amazon/Kindle | Things From Another World | IDW Publishing Website

Usagi Yojimbo Origins Volume 1: Samurai cover by Stan Sakai.
Usagi Yojimbo Origins Volume 1: Samurai cover by Stan Sakai.

Usagi Yojimbo Origins Collections

Usagi Yojimbo Origins collects the Fantagraphics era material in a colourised format.

IDW releases these comics as single issues first under the name of the story arc. There is no new story. They’re just in colour now and have a new cover.

Usagi Yojimbo Origins Volume 1: Samurai
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo Color Classics #1-7

Note: Usagi Yojimbo Color Classics #1-7 contains stories originally published in Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 1) #1-4 and #6, Critters #6-7, and Albedo Anthropomorphics #3-4.

Usagi Yojimbo Origins Volume 2: Wanderer’s Road
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo: Wanderer’s Road #1-7

Note: Usagi Yojimbo: Wanderer’s Road #1-7 contains stories originally published in Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 1) #7-14.

Usagi Yojimbo Origins Volume 3: The Dragon Bellow Conspiracy
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo: The Dragon Bellow Conspiracy #1-6

Note: Usagi Yojimbo: The Dragon Bellow Conspiracy #1-6 contains stories originally published in Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 1) #13-18.

Usagi Yojimbo Origins Volume 4: Lone Goat and Kid
Collects:
Usagi Yojimbo: Lone Goat and Kid #1-6

Note: Usagi Yojimbo: Lone Goat and Kid #1-6 contains stories originally published in Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 1) #19-24.

Art Books

There are also a number of Usagi Yojimbo artbooks. Find out more about them below.

The Art of Usagi Yojimbo

This 2004 artbook was released for the comic’s 20th anniversary and jam-packed full of art by Stan Sakai and others.

The Sakai Project: Artists Celebrate Thirty Years of Usagi Yojimbo

To help celebrate 30 years of Usagi Yojimbo, a group of well respected artists came together to draw Miyamoto Usagi in their own styles.

Usagi Yojimbo: 35 Years of Covers

A fantastic showcase of 35 years worth of Usagi Yojimbo covers.

Usagi Yojimbo Gallery Edition Volume 1: Samurai and Other Stories and Usagi Yojimbo Gallery Edition Volume 2: The Artist and Other Stories

Dark Horse’s Gallery Editions are massive artbooks that contain high-resolution scans of the original artwork. You get to see all the detail close up, including things that didn’t make it into the finished comic. It’s the closest thing to owning the original pages.

Usagi Yojimbo Grasscutter Artist Select

Similar to the Dark Horse’s Gallery Edition, this IDW artbook collects the Grasscutter and Grasscutter II storylines through high resolution scans of the original art at 9” x 13”.

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Comments (3)

  • Wow. I’m in awe of the research and clarity of this guide! Amazing. I’ve been intimidated before by the complexity of Usagi’s publishing history, but not anymore after reading this guide. Thanks much!

  • Very nice in-depth look at the long and confusing publishing history of Usagi Yojimbo. Needs a little bit of proof reading to correct a few minor errors though.

    1) The Space Usagi history is a little more complicated because Mirage only published the first two mini0series and Dark Horse published the third mini-series (actually the first Usagi material they actually published, released a few months before Usagi Yojimbo vw #1 was published).

    2) At the beginning of the section describing IDW, the rebooted series is listed as “Usagi Yojimbo (Vol 3) #1-ongoing….” when it should be listed as (Vol 4) as it is described later in the guide.

    3) In the section on Artbooks, it is written that “IDW’s Gallery Editions are massive artbooks….” when it should be “Dark Horse’s Gallery Editions….” instead. IDW does a series of similar style books described as Artist Editions. IDW did release a deluxe hardcover Artist Select edition titled “Grasscutter” which includes the content of both Grasscutter and Grasscutter II: Journey to Atsuta Shrine” in a slightly smaller page size than the Gallery Edition books but with a fancy slip case.

    Thanks….

    4. You mentioned the limited edition hardcover editions of the Usagi Yojimbo Saga books but made no mention of the s/n limited edition hardcovers of the individual collected editions from both Fantagraphics and Dark Horse.

    • Hi Steve, thanks for pointing these details out. You’re feedback has been incorporated into the guide.

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