Ronald D Edge

From childhood after WWII and through the fifties and sixties, comics were a magical part of my life. My favorites were the Disney comics, with the wide ranging adventures of Donald, the nephews, and Scrooge. Those comics were filled knowledge, history, insight, and deep caring and humanity. Anyone, child or adult, who read and loved these comics was the better person for it.

I never thought any comic creation could trump the Ducks and Carl Barks and Don Rosa. But that was before Stan Sakai gave us Usagi Yojimbo.

Now I am 63, and I still collect comics, although my focus is a little more narrow than it once was. But life is busy, and sometimes the joys of life have to wait. But the one comic that does NOT wait to be read after each monthly trip to my comic book store is Usagi Yojimbo. It is a sad month when there is no issue, but a joy when there is a new installment of the saga of Usagi's life and times waiting for me.

I was always fascinated by Japanese history and culture, and so one of the great things in the 25 years of Usagi has been the marvelous stories that weave in fascinating illustration of such things as the making of the Samurai's swords; the harvesting and making of seaweed as a crop; the tea ceremony; the history and legends of the emperor's sword; the traditions of flying kites; the characters from Japanese folklore and superstition. The list could go on and on, and all of it was and remains a stunning achievement by Stan Sakai, for which I will be forever grateful.

Above all, Usagi appeals to me because of the commitment to honor, duty, and courage that permeates the actions and thoughts of the main recurring characters, most importantly Usagi himself.

One issue that stands out in my mind was the tale of Usagi crossing a mountain ridge in the snow, and encountering a young girl who wishes to save her father. By the end of the story, it is revealed it was the ghost, the spirit of the girl, and Usagi's actions have helped her find peace.

These are the comics I would put in the hands of my children. That is perhaps the highest accolade I can offer in today's world.

Thank you, Stan Sakai, for the magic you bring into my life with each issue.

Ronald D. Edge
Director of Information Services
Indiana University Athletics