Usagi Yojimbo: The Hidden 5 Finds the Parallels Between Criminals and Children

by Michael DeLaney

Usagi Yojimbo The Hidden 5

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Usagi Yojimbo: The Hidden 5 is a great reminder of how the comics medium can be/should be very intentional with its imagery. In film the term “match cut” refers to a transition where two shots are paralleled (matched) by their action or subject matter. Stan Sakai uses this technique in the middle of Usagi Yojimbo: The Hidden 5 to reiterate the kind of villains that Usagi is dealing with. Continue reading

The Virtue of Justice in Usagi Yojimbo: The Hidden 2

By Michael DeLaney

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

In a world of glorified anti-heroes we often forget the merits of the old fashioned, tradtional hero. Usagi Yojimbo: The Hidden 2 leans on the classic archetype of the law-abiding do-gooder in Inspector Ishida, who is in charge of the murder case that Usagi Yojimbo is working on. Continue reading

Usagi Yojimbo: The Hidden 1

by Patrick Ehlers & Michael DeLaney

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Patrick: I saw the new Wes Anderson movie, Isle of Dogs, this weekend. It’s cute, moody and starkly graphic — it fulfills the promise made by the phrase “Directed by Wes Anderson.” But the film also has a weird relationship with its setting: the Japanese language and and culture represent the alien in its own country. The dogs that we follow around, who are the heroes of this story, are all voiced, speaking English, by white American actors. A note tells us early on that barks and translated into English, but Japanese will remain untranslated (unless when done diegetically). For whatever argument you can make for Anderson’s reverence of the language and the culture (to say nothing of employing a bunch of Japanese actors and film folk), there’s no denying that the Japanese-ness of Isle of Dogs is meant to be novel and out of the ordinary. Usagi Yojimbo: The Hidden 1 takes the exact opposite route, making damn sure that the East is familiar and the West is exotic. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Usagi Yojimbo 1: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers and Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

I grew up in Europe — where the history comes from. Oh yeah. You tear your history down man: “30 years old? Let’s tear it down and build a car park here.” I have seen it in stories — I saw a program on something in Miami. They said “we’ve redecorated this building to how it looked over 50 years ago!” People going: “No! Surely not, no! No one was alive then!”

Eddie Izzard, Dressed To Kill

Patrick: One of the things we here at Retcon Punch find so impressive about IDW’s run with the Ninja Turtle series is the storytelling team’s commitment to remixing, recontextualizing, and reimagining the franchise’s immense history. Tom Waltz, Bobby Curnow, Kevin Eastman and a murders row of artists and writers have been pulling in influences from over thirty years of comics, TV shows, movies, video games, action figures, music videos, stage shows — you name it. It’s an impressive feat, but is also an exercise that rings weirdly hollow when compared to what Stan Sakai has always done with Usagi Yojimbo. The Long-Eared Samurai has been the protagonist in remixed stories from Japanese folklore for decades — literally as long as the TMNT have been around. With this latest crossover, Sakai again proves he is the king of narrative remix, reaching back way further than 1984 for his source material. Continue reading