Plastic Paper Realm: Usagi Yojimbo
from Rob, June 12th, 2013 12:36 am, Plastic Paper Realm

by Robert “Rob Base” Greenwood

Welcome to the first article in a series talking about great comics that never had a truly great toy franchise.

Today I want to talk about a book that’s pushing 30 years now.

 Usagi Yojimbo  by Stan Sakai

 

A brief history

 

兎用心棒 Usagi Yōjinbō (pronounced oo-SA-gi) “The Rabbit Bodyguard” created by Stan Sakai that first appeared in Albedo Anthropomorphics #2 published by Thoughts and Images in November 1984.

Stan Sakai accepted an offer to move his warrior rabbit to Fantagraphics Books where he appeared in several issues of the new anthropomorphic anthology series, Critters.

 

Usagi’s popularity influenced Fantagraphics to then release the Usagi Yojimbo Summer Special in October 1986.

Finally, Fantagraphics gave the ronin rabbit his own on-going series with issue #1 being published in July 1987.

usagi

The adventures of this talented anthropomorphic biped have captivated comic fans for a long time yet he has never seen a proper toy line.

 

Don’t get me wrong he was made into a few figures over the years. In the TMNT vintage line, he appeared twice. Nothing that was groundbreaking.

 

One issue that diehard fans have is that Usagi is neither dressed nor resembles his comic book counterpart other than the ears in a bun.

tmnt usagi vintage

 

I make exceptions for toys that are really out there and Space Usagi gets the pass for just being too quirky and over the top!

space usagi

 

When characters who are basically in the same vein as Usagi, like Bucky O’Hare, get a full fledged toy line, why didn’t our beloved Rabbit warrior?

bucky ohare

 

In the late 90′s, Antarctic Press released an Usagi Yojimbo figure that did its best to capture the comic book.

antartic press usaigi

 

 

Of course, being it was the 90’s, comic book fans couldn’t escape the dreaded variant versions.

antartic press usaigi dark antartic press usaigi silver

 

In the early 2000’s, the return of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (redubbed “TMNT”) brought new and more adult themes into the world of the Fab Four. With their return, they brought their totally awesome rabbit friend in to the modern toy world.

TMNT usagi

 

Needless to say that with the rise of direct market and high end action figures, Usagi and the gang could very well be made into an awesome toy line in the year 2013.

In 2003 Dark Horse released a PVC of Usagi.

Unfortunately, this has almost no articulation but does retain a lot of what makes Usagi who he is.

dark horse usagi

 

Who would I pick to handle such a monumental undertaking event?  Minimates! Having a full line of 2 inch figures makes me smile from ear to ear.  Mininates, who first out could capture the cartoon style of Sakai and give a robust collection which could then be incorporated into any preexisting Minimates toy line.

 

minimates tc

 

With its parent company Diamond Select, we could also get a 7 inch tall highly detailed collectors figure of Usagi to add as well.

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We have been treated to Usagi in statue form but a proper figure still alludes us. With Sakai doing Usagi right for so long and his new series, 47 Ronin, being a modern masterpiece, plus Usagi getting his own hack and slash app game, a proper figure would just be the icing on the cake.

usagi game

 

Let us also not forget that in 2011, IGN ranked Miyamoto Usagi 92nd in the top 100 comic books heroes.

 

There is no time like the present to bring action figures back to Usagi Yojimbo.

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DARK HORSE LAUNCHES A LIBRARY OF TITLES ON GOOGLE PLAY!
from Bill, March 24th, 2013 2:33 pm, comic book

 

MARCH 19, MILWAUKIE, OR–Dark Horse continues to further its digital initiative with the announcement of titles now available on Google Play!

Hot on the heels of a successful partnership with Amazon Kindle, and following up on the incredible success of Kobo and Nook, Dark Horse is proud to announce a partnership with Google Play.

Dark Horse digital graphic novels are now available for purchase in the Google Play store, including over four hundred of the company’s top titles, like Mass Effect, Hellboy, Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Serenity, Sin City, and more!

“We are very excited to be working with Google to bring Dark Horse graphic novels to the Play store,” said Dark Horse’s director of digital publishing, Mark Bernardi. “It is an important addition to the growing list of platforms where our digital books can be enjoyed.”
Starting today, readers can download their favorite Dark Horse graphic novels on Google Play. Look for more and more titles to be added every month!

GooglePlayDH

To find a comic shop near you, call 1-888-comicbook or visit ComicShopLocator.com.

About Dark Horse Comics

Since 1986, Dark Horse Comics has proven to be a solid example of how integrity and innovation can help broaden a unique storytelling medium and establish a small, homegrown company as an industry giant. The company is known for the progressive and creator-friendly atmosphere it provides for writers and artists.  In addition to publishing comics from top talent like Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Neil Gaiman, Gerard Way, Will Eisner, and best-selling prose author Janet Evanovich, Dark Horse has developed such successful characters as the Mask, Timecop, and the Occultist. Additionally, its highly successful line of comics and products based on popular properties includes Star Wars, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Conan the BarbarianMass Effect, Serenity, and Domo. Today, Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent comic-book publisher in the United States and is recognized as both an innovator in the cause of creator rights and the comics industry’s leading publisher of licensed material.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jill Thompson’s Scary Godmother coming to a toy store near you?
from Chuck Suffel, February 19th, 2013 8:38 pm, Toy Fair 2013

Jill Thompson is a wearer of many hats. A comic book artist and storyteller, she’s probably best known for her work on Neil Gaiman’s Sandman as well as her own creations; Scary Godmother and Magic Trixie. Did you also know she designed “ring gear” for WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan? Check it out on his figure in Mattel’s new line!

So writer, artist, costume designer and now toy maker?

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 Yup that’s right Jill’s wonderful all-ages creation Scary Godmother is on its way to a collectable shop near you!

She’s spent countless hours working with a sculptor to get everything just right from her curly red hair to her pointy silver buckled shoes.

Removable outfits and hand painted tights are some of the touches Jill hopes to be able to include. Toy design is a huge undertaking but just like all the other things she does she tackles this with a passion rarely seen.

Hoping to get a better idea of the process she even designed her own box (not just the box art, the actual box), check out some of the detail (in the image below)

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While we were talking at Toy Fair, Jill’s sculptor (who shall remain nameless for the moment) stopped by with a special treat…

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That’s the sculpt of “The Boozle”, Scary Godmother’s ghost cat!

And Jill even let slip that she hopes to include Bug-A-Boo as a character/accessory (seen below in her booth banner).

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So how does she expect to pull all this off? Let’s listen to her tell us all about her plans in this Toy Fair interview with AlternativeMindz very own Rob Base!


How can you find out more? Follow her on twitter @thejillthompson, check out Scary Godmother at her site jillthompsonart, and don’t forget to look for her work on amazon and at you local comic shops and book stores!

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DARK HORSE SET TO RELEASE CAMILLA D’ERRICO’S HELMETGIRLS!
from Rob, December 13th, 2012 9:10 pm, Comic Book Reviews

 

Camilla d’Errico is a powerful voice in pop surrealism, her work combining diverse influences in imagery is both singular and hauntingly familiar. Compelling and deeply personal, Helmetgirls documents Camilla’s art and lifestyle brand that fuses manga, steampunk, and fine art into an original and meaningful aggregate. 

Gargantuan biomechanical headgear adorns beautiful, wide-eyed, and seemingly fragile girls. More than just decoration, the helmets express each girl’s character, needs, and desires. Look deeply into the Helmetgirls’ eyes—they have a story to tell.

 

The first volume of d’Errico’s work, Femina and Fauna, was released by Dark Horse and has gone into multiple printings and can be found in a diverse array of retail venues, such as bookstores, art galleries, pop-culture and designer-toy emporiums, and comic shops.

 

Praise for Camilla d’Errico:

 

“She is part of what may be the first art movement in Western history where women are not second-class citizens, but may even have an edge in the mind of the public, especially when it comes to capturing the essence that is woman.”—Juxtapoz

 

 

Helmetgirls hits bookshelves everywhere on February 27th, 2013!

 

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ADVENTURE TIME: MARCELINE AND THE SCREAM QUEENS #1 BALTIMORE COMIC-CON EXCLUSIVE VARIANT
from Bill, September 1st, 2012 12:17 pm, Baltimore Comic con

August 30, 2012 – Los Angeles, CA – BOOM! Studios is proud to announce the ADVENTURE TIME: MARCELINE AND THE SCREAM QUEENS #1 Baltimore Comic-Con exclusive cover will debut at the show September 8th and 9th, 2012 at the Baltimore Convention Center.

With cover art by regular ADVENTURE TIME creative team and guests of the show Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb this variant cover will be sold at the official Baltimore Comic Con Show Exclusive booth #2507 only and available in extremely limited quantities. Be sure to snatch yours up as quick as you can and get it signed by the cover artists at the BOOM! Studios booth!

JOIN FAN-FAVORITE CHARACTERS MARCELINE AND PRINCESS BUBBLEGUM FOR RIOT GRRL ROCK-FUELED EXCITEMENT IN THIS BRAND-NEW ADVENTURE TIME MINI-SERIES! Thanks to a newfound interest in music, Princess Bubblegum joins Marceline’s paranormal rock band for a tour across the land of Ooo! But when they’re threatened by everything from scenesters to beasts born of self-doubt, can they make it to the RADDEST GIG EVER in time?! Written and drawn by acclaimed cartoonist Meredith Gran (OCTOPUS PIE) and featuring a back-up story from Jen Wang (KOKO BE GOOD)!

About BOOM! Studios
Founded by Ross Richie, 2009 and 2010′s “Best Publisher” BOOM! Studios (www.boom-studios.com) generates a constellation of bestselling Eisner and Harvey Award-winning comic books and graphic novels with the industry’s top talent, including Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s HYPERNATURALS, new HELLRAISER comics written by Clive Barker, PLANET OF THE APES, and Sam Humphries’ HIGHER EARTH. BOOM!’s all ages imprint KaBOOM! publishes Charles Schulz’ PEANUTS, Jim Davis’ GARFIELD, Cartoon Network’s ADVENTURE TIME, and 20th Century Fox’ ICE AGE. KaBOOM! recently won an Eisner Award for its first original series Roger Langridge’s SNARKED. BOOM!’s lit comix-focused imprint, BOOM! Town, won an Eisner Award for its first book, Shannon Wheeler’s I THOUGHT YOU WOULD BE FUNNIER, and just released SPACE DUCKS, the first comic book from indie musician legend Daniel Johnston.

About Baltimore Comic-Con
The Baltimore Comic-Con is celebrating its 13th year of bringing the comic book industry to the Baltimore and Washington D.C. area. With a guest list unequaled in the industry, the Baltimore Comic-Con will be held September 8-9, 2012. For more information, please visit www.baltimorecomiccon.com.

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Dark Horse at Baltimore Comic Con
from Bill, September 1st, 2012 12:14 pm, Baltimore Comic con

For Immediate Release:BOOM! STUDIOS RETURNS TO
BALTIMORE COMIC-CON 2012
WITH PAUL POPE!BOOM! Studios is proud and honored to be hosting Paul Pope at our booth (#1301), who contributed an amazing back up story in ADVENTURE TIME #5. Additionally, BOOM! will be bringing a fantastic selection of BOOM! Studios, BOOM! Town, and kaBOOM! trade paperbacks, single issues, and convention variants including Get-A-Sketch covers. Don’t miss out on BOOM!’s two dynamic panels – our regular BOOM!/BOOM! Town/kaBOOM! panel on Saturday at 2:00 pm and “Breaking Into Comics Right Now!” on Sunday at 3:00 pm. BOOM! Studios is incredibly proud to have 3 Harvey Award nominations for Roger Langridge’s work on SNARKED and to be a Gold Sponsor of the awards this year.

BOOM! STUDIOS GUESTS INCLUDE:
28 DAYS LATER & VALEN THE OUTCAST‘s Michael Alan Nelson
FANBOYS VS ZOMBIES’s Jerry Gaylord

along with KaBOOM! GUESTS:
ADVENTURE TIME’s Paul Pope
ADVENTURE TIME and ICE AGE’s Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline

Other BOOM! STUDIOS AND KaBOOM! ARTISTS APPEARING AT THE SHOW INCLUDE:
IRREDEEMABLE and INCORRUPTIBLE‘s Mark Waid
SNARKED’s Roger Langridge
VALEN THE OUTCAST’S Matteo Scalera

SCHEDULED SIGNINGS & PANELS

Saturday, September 8th, 2012
All Day – Signing with Michael Alan Nelson, Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb
2:00 – 3:00 – BOOM! Studios/KABOOM!/BOOM! Town Panel. Room 301

Sunday, Septmber 9th, 2012
All Day – Signing with Michael Alan Nelson, Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb
3:00 – 4:00 – Breaking into Comics Right Now Panel. Room 302

We will also have signings with Paul Pope (ADVENTURE TIME), Roger Langridge (SNARKED) and Jerry Gaylord (FANBOYS VS. ZOMBIES) through out the show. Please check with us at the show for specific times.
About BOOM! Studios
Founded by Ross Richie, 2009 and 2010′s “Best Publisher” BOOM! Studios (www.boom-studios.com) generates a constellation of bestselling Eisner and Harvey Award-winning comic books and graphic novels with the industry’s top talent, including Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s HYPERNATURALS, new HELLRAISER comics written by Clive Barker, PLANET OF THE APES, and Sam Humphries’ HIGHER EARTH. BOOM!’s all ages imprint KaBOOM! publishes Charles Schulz’ PEANUTS, Jim Davis’ GARFIELD, Cartoon Network’s ADVENTURE TIME, and 20th Century Fox’ ICE AGE. KaBOOM! recently won an Eisner Award for its first original series Roger Langridge’s SNARKED. BOOM!’s lit comix-focused imprint, BOOM! Town, won an Eisner Award for its first book, Shannon Wheeler’s I THOUGHT YOU WOULD BE FUNNIER, and just released SPACE DUCKS, the first comic book from indie musician legend Daniel Johnston.

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#SDCC: DARK HORSE DEBUTS LANCE HENRIKSEN’S TO HELL YOU RIDE!
from Bill, July 16th, 2012 9:26 pm, comic book

July 16, SAN DIEGO, CA—Dark Horse Comics is proud to announce To Hell You Ride, written by horror movie icon Lance Henriksen (Millennium, Aliens, Near Dark)!

Teased during a thrilling “Drawing on Your Nightmares” panel at San Diego Comic-Con, this new horror series is written by Lance Henriksen and Joseph Maddrey (Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film), with art by Tom Mandrake. To Hell You Ride marks Lance Henriksen’s comics debut!

A deadly curse plagues the small town of Telluride, melting the flesh from its victims—it’s the violent revenge four warriors set in motion when their sacred burial grounds were disturbed for the sake of gold miners’ greed!

Praise for the work of Henriksen and Mandrake:

“Mandrake is an artist who deserves to be a superstar.”

—Comic Book Resources

“Henriksen’s undeniable talents as a storyteller are on full display here.”

Rue Morgue

To Hell You Ride #1 is on sale December 12, 2012!

About Dark Horse

Founded in1986 by Mike Richardson, Dark Horse Comics has proven to be a solid example of how integrity and innovation can help broaden a unique storytelling medium and establish a small, homegrown company as an industry giant. The company is known for the progressive and creator-friendly atmosphere it provides for writers and artists. In addition to publishing comics from top talent such as Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Neil Gaiman, Brian Wood, Gerard Way, Felicia Day, and Guillermo del Toro, and comics legends such as Will Eisner, Neal Adams, and Jim Steranko, Dark Horse has developed its own successful properties, including The Mask, Ghost, Timecop, and SpyBoy. Its successful line of comics and products based on popular properties includes Star Wars, Mass Effect, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Conan, Emily the Strange, Tim Burton’s Tragic Toys for Girls and Boys, Serenity, and Domo. Today Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent comic book publisher in the US and is recognized as one of the world’s leading publishers of both creator-owned content and licensed comics material.

 

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#SDCC: RICHARD CORBEN UNEARTHS POE’S CONQUEROR WORM
from Bill, July 9th, 2012 6:06 pm, comic book

JULY 6, MILWAUKIE, OR—Dark Horse’s horror line continues to get under your skin with the announcement of comics legend Richard Corben’s truly horrifying adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic poem “The Conqueror Worm.”

In Edgar Allan Poe’s The Conqueror Worm, a betrayed man hunts down his wife and her lover, only to stumble upon a gruesome puppet show based on his life. This series will be rotten to the core!

Corben will also be lending his talents to the Eisner-nominated anthology Dark Horse Presents, penning additional spine-tingling stories by Edgar Allan Poe!

Praise for Richard Corben:

“Atmosphere is key to sell the malevolent atmosphere and is pulled off in style by Corben, who makes you feel like you’ve been transported back in time.”—Comic Book Resources

“Richard Corben doing Edgar Allan Poe. If I have to say more than that, I worry about your tastes in comics. You see, Richard Corben is very well known for doing Edgar Allan Poe. He excels at it.”—Comics Bulletin

For additional information, check out the exclusive interview with Richard Corben on The Comics Journal!

Edgar Allan Poe’s The Conqueror Worm is on sale November 21, 2012!

About Dark Horse

Founded in1986 by Mike Richardson, Dark Horse Comics has proven to be a solid example of how integrity and innovation can help broaden a unique storytelling medium and establish a small, homegrown company as an industry giant. The company is known for the progressive and creator-friendly atmosphere it provides for writers and artists. In addition to publishing comics from top talent such as Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Neil Gaiman, Brian Wood, Gerard Way, Felicia Day, and Guillermo del Toro, and comics legends such as Will Eisner, Neal Adams, and Jim Steranko, Dark Horse has developed its own successful properties, including The Mask, Ghost, Timecop, and SpyBoy. Its successful line of comics and products based on popular properties includes Star Wars, Mass Effect, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Conan, Emily the Strange, Tim Burton’s Tragic Toys for Girls and Boys, Serenity, and Domo. Today Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent comic book publisher in the US and is recognized as one of the world’s leading publishers of both creator-owned content and licensed comics material.

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