Usagi Yojimbo Color Classics #6 continues to reprint the Fantagraphics publication in a new display. While Ronda Pattison continues to provide color to the original black and white story, Stan Sakai’s classic beginnings remain intact.
Usagi Yojimbo’s earliest publications began in Fantagraphics Books’ Critter anthology until Usagi received his own series. With influences including Groo, The Wanderer and samurai cinema, the franchise goes through several publishers as a testament to its success.
Usagi Yojimbo Color Classics #6 Tributes
Usagi Yojimbo Color Classics #6 makes use of two unconnected stories as a way to display and contrast character. This serves as a good jumping on point to anyone who hasn’t been reading from the beginning. All any reader needs is a character introduction. Usagi doesn’t strike unless he absolutely has to, and even then the most he would do to rowdy crowds is scare them with his swordsmanship. This comes in contrast to Zato-Ino, a blind swordsman who genuinely wants good company. But his hair-trigger temper at threats in addition to his swordsmanship causes wanton destruction. The clash between these kindred spirits feels tragic when they get along in their first encounter.
Stan Sakai’s art complements his writing skills. While Sakai’s art changes after decades, this early version of artwork is a display of humble beginnings. Usagi for example looks only marginally similar to his design on the cover. There is also a three-headed dragon for some unknown reason. It’s simple yet cartoonishly detailed, allowing for the casual times to feel lax and at ease. When things get serious however, these details sharpen to reflect the mood. Not unlike Usagi and Zato-Ino’s clash featuring speed lines.
Ronda Pattison’s coloring, however, gives Usagi Yojimbo Color Classics #6 its title. The coloring and simple shading certainly gives the art a little more depth, otherwise they may look a little flat. But it’s the backgrounds that benefit from the coloring the most. A sunrise looks better as the lighter color begins to illuminate a formerly dark sky. Moments of intense emotion like Usagi and Zato-Ino’s duel even get a background to demonstrate the intensity.
Usagi Yojimbo Color Classics #6 is Waiting For You
Whether you are feeling nostalgic or are looking for a place to begin, Usagi Yojimbo Color Classics #6 might be for you. You might not get Usagi’s backstory, but you do have a chance to see everything you need from an Usagi Yojimbo story. Some things will be a little strange like character designs that doesn’t match the cover. But there are good stories and character unavailable in modern times like Zato-Ino.