Category Archives: Books

The Sakai Project

The Sakai Project: Artists Celebrate Thirty Years of “Usagi Yojimbo” HC

The most amazing artists in the world have come together to celebrate thirty years of Stan Sakai’s marvelous samurai rabbit saga, Usagi Yojimbo. The participating artists bring their own interpretations and their own styles to the subject, making this book a one-of-a-kind treasure.

Produced in association with the Comic Art Professional Society (CAPS). All proceeds from this book will go to Stan and Sharon Sakai.

160 pages; HC, 9”x 12”
Yesterday I headed on down to my LCS (the Source Comics & Games) to pick up my copy of The SAKAI Project. I have to say Darkhorse out did themselves on this book. The large 9×12 Hard Cover format is the perfect size and very nicely bound.
I opened the book and went right to the Forward, I wanted to read it before I even looked at the art work inside. Granted I had seen quite a few of the images on the CAPS auctions over the last few weeks, but I felt it might enhance my experience and enjoyment of the book if I read it first.
I have to say it definitely did, the forward was written by Mark Evanier, who works on Sergio Aragone’s Groo the wanderer comic. I wont spoil the forward which is titled SHARED SUFFERING, but I will tell you that it is more than worth your time to read. Mark does a great job detailing the kindness of the Sakais and all of the comic creators that contributed to this book.
Next we have a Preface letter written by Tone Rodriguez, Vice President of the Comic Art Professional Society. This is the man responsible for this project, not just this book but also the ebay auctions of the original pieces. He did all of this just to help out Stan and Sharons medical bills (for those of you that dont know, Sharon was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2004) and submissions flooded in from around the world.
This book has 157 pages of just art work, many of the pages have multiple images. It is by far the most beautiful tribute to a creator I think I have ever seen. I wanted to showcase a few of my favorite pieces but after only getting a quarter of the way through the book, I decided it would take me several hours to write up a list of creators and their submissions.
Rating: 5 out of 5
If you love Usagi Yojimbo you will love this book. If you dont know Usagi this is a great way to find out why so many people, fans and creators, love this character and mainly the man that created it. Stan Sakai
So please, contact your LCS, DCBS, book store, and order this book. You wont be disappointed and you will be helping a man and his family that have brought so many great adventures to the pages of comic for years.
Thank you Mr. SakaiUsagi Yojimbo Comic Art
My 2008 SDCC commission!

Episode 49 – Star Wars

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Episode 49 – A Star Wars Discussion

This week we discuss a lot of different Star Wars related topics, check out the links below for more details.



Animated series



Chronological order


Items solicited for a October release date: – Darkhorse Comics

#1 for $1 Star Wars
Brian Wood (W), Carlos D’Anda (A), Gabe Eltaeb (C), and Alex Ross (Cover)
On sale Oct 2
FC, 32 pages
Relive the blockbuster first issue that launched Brian Wood’s Star Wars—for only $1! We take you back to those heady, adventure-filled days when the Empire ruled, the Rebels were on the run, and the galaxy was a dangerous place where anything might happen!
If you like this issue, pick up the trade paperback collection, currently on sale!
• First issue, value priced at $1.00!
• Look for more #1 for $1 issues in the coming months.

Brian Wood (W), Carlos D’Anda (A), Gabe Eltaeb (C), and Hugh Fleming (Cover)
On sale Oct 9
FC, 32 pages
Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles have infiltrated an Imperial Destroyer. But now nine thousand stormtroopers are searching for them, and Darth Vader is aware of their presence. Completing their mission and escaping with their lives may be an either/or proposition!
Meanwhile, the Rebel fleet prepares for an Imperial assault!
• Artist Carlos D’Anda returns!
• Legendary Star Wars cover artist Hugh Fleming!

The “Death Star” battle you didn’t see!
The Star Wars #2 (of 8)
Jonathan Rinzler (W), Mike Mayhew (A), Rain Beredo (C), Nick Runge (Cover), and Ralph McQuarrie (Variant cover)
On sale Oct 2
FC, 32 pages
The Empire is poised for an attack on the peaceful world of Aquilae, and only Jedi General Luke Skywalker seems concerned. When King Kayos is killed, Jedi in training Annikin Starkiller is ordered to find Princess Leia, while Skywalker sends his only squadron against the Empire’s powerful new battle station!
• Official eight-issue adaptation of George Lucas’s original rough-draft screenplay for Star Wars!
what if george lucas had written another version of star wars?
he did!

Randy Stradley (W), Douglas Wheatley (A), Dan Jackson (C), and Benjamin Carré (Cover)
On sale Oct 16
FC, 32 pages
Darth Vader is on the trail of one Jedi—little does he know that even more Jedi are aware of his search and his impending arrival on their planet. The Jedi and their friends are waiting with a trap to end Vader for good. But this is a dark lord of the Sith they will be battling—and nothing is certain!
Darth Vader is on the trail of one Jedi—little does he know that even more Jedi are aware of his search and his impending arrival on their planet. The Jedi and their friends are waiting with a trap to end Vader for good. But this is a dark lord of the Sith they will be battling—and nothing is certain!
A few of the last surviving Jedi plant a trap for Darth Vader!
“This Star Wars series puts me through the wringer like no other, and it never disappoints. May the Dark Times never end!”—SciFi Pulse

“Hardman’s artwork is drool worthy. Mix in some stunning color work by Rachelle Rosenberg and you have everything one could possibly want in a Star Wars book.”–IGN
Corinna Bechko (W), Gabriel Hardman (W), Brian Thies (A), Rachelle Rosenberg (C), Augustin Alessio (Cover)
On sale Oct 23
FC, 32 pages
Ania Solo and Imperial Knight Jao’s search for Sith leads to the poisoned Mon Calamari homeworld of Dac—where their ship is boarded by pirates who have taken over the planet’s orbiting shipyards.
Jao senses the dark side at work—especially when he and Ania are marked for death!
• Sith, pirates, and the planet of the dead!
“Star Wars: Legacy is another excellent extension of this universe, as it does just enough right for both fanboys and fangirls to be worthy of the heritage it now represents. “ —Unleash the Fanboy

Star Wars Omnibus: Knights of the Old Republic Volume 2 TP
John Jackson Miller (W), Brian Ching (P), Bong Dazo (P), Scott Hepburn (P), Alan Robinson (P), Dustin Weaver (P), Dan Parsons (I), Joe Pimentel (I), Michael Atiyeh (C), and Colin Wilson (Cover)
On sale Dec 18
FC, 440 pages
TP, 6” x 9”
After Zayne Carrick is framed for the murder of his fellow Jedi in training, his poor luck prevents him from clearing his name and throws him into dangerous situations all over the galaxy, leading to his final confrontation with the Jedi Masters who massacred their own Padawans!
• Expands the story of the smash-hit Knights of the Old Republic video games!
• From the New York Times best-selling novelist John Jackson Miller!

Episode 42 – DragonLance Chronicles Book II




 Episode 42 – Dragons of Winter Night


On this episode of the Menagerie, The Rambler and Greenloontern discuss and review Dragons of Winter Night. Let us know what you love about Dragons of Winter Night! Keep an eye out for more Dragonlance review all summer!

Episode 37 – Dragons of Autumn Twilight



Episode 37 – The Dragonlance Chronicles – Book I: Dragons of Autumn Twilight 


This week we continue our Dragonlance discussion with a look at the book that started it all – Dragons of Autumn Twilight!



Episode 36 – Dragonlance & the world of Krynn


Episode 36 – Dragonlance

This week the Rambler and I discuss the world of Krynn, our favorite novels, characters and Authors. If you have never read a Dragonlance novel, here are a few links to information on the world and Authors.

List of Novels by author and website:

Tracy Hickman – Website

Margaret Weis  – Website

Douglas Niles  – Website

Richard A. Knaack  – Website

Jean Rabe    – Website

AD&D material and Fan sites

Dragonlance Nexus

Dragonlance RPG books

PDF downloads – DrivethruRPG


Larry Elmore’s web site!

The Dragonlance Nexus is the greatest community for Dragonlance fans! You need to check it out! Not only that but they also have their own PODCAST – The Dragonlance Canticle! Please check it out!

Upcoming 2 episode mega event!



Coming in three weeks! We are celebrating Supernatural with not 1 but 2 episodes dedicated to the series! Thats right, the first one will focus on the long running TV series, comics and more! While the second episode will be another RPG Corner featuring the Supernatural RPG (Cortex system)!

If you would like to comment on the series, comics or RPG (good or bad) comment below and we will read it on the show! Come on people join in the discussion!

Episode 28 – The Dresden Files


Episode – 28

On this episode of the Geeks Menagerie, The Rambler (Greg) and The Dancing Bear (Uriel) Join me (Greenloontern) to discuss / review the Dresden Files Novels and TV series. So listen now or download it for later but listen! Dont forget to subscribe to the podcast on ITUNES Thanks for listening everyone! Let us know what you think!

Click here to find out more about the books!
Click here to check out the TV series Wiki

You can watch the Dresden Files for free online on HULU and Amazon Prime.

Click here to investigate the Dresden Files RPG!
Click here to check out the Comic and original graphic novels.


Hyrule Hysteria – From Dark horse Comics

Dark Horse Books and Nintendo® bring you The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia, containing an unparalleled collection of historical information on The Legend of Zelda™ franchise. This handsome hardcover contains never-before-seen concept art, the full history of Hyrule, the official chronology of the games, and much more! Starting with an insightful introduction by the legendary producer and video-game designer of Donkey Kong™, Mario™, and The Legend of Zelda™, Shigeru Miyamoto, this book is crammed full of information about the storied history of Link’s adventures from the creators themselves! As a bonus, The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historiaincludes an exclusive comic by the foremost creator of The Legend of Zelda manga—Akira Himekawa!

* The full history and making of the The Legend of Zelda™franchise, never-before-seen concept art!
* Introduction by Shigeru Miyamoto!”

The following Q&A is from The Dark horse comics blog:


01/17/2013 11:09am
The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia is only 12 days from release here in the United States and Canada and we’ve been working incredibly hard to make sure that this book is as great an experience for you as it was for us in our first experience reading it. To aid in that we needed to translate the whole thing for an English-speaking audience. The schedule was tight and editor Patrick Thorpe brought on some folks to help. Aria Tanner jumped at the opportunity and contacted Dark Horse Comics to assist. As a fan and a translator her work helped us keep this book on schedule. We sat down with her to ask a few questions about the experience.

Dark Horse Comics: You helped Dark Horse Comics speed up the translation process for The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia. What made you jump at the chance to help?
Aria Tanner: To answer that, I’ll have to begin by explaining why I was interested in the book in the first place.
I’m fascinated by the development process of video games, and how many changes a title goes through from conception to release. Particularly in the case of Zelda, ideas from earlier games are often expanded upon in later titles. One example would be the Imprisoning War mentioned at the beginning of A Link to the Past, which later became the basis of its chronological prequel, Ocarina of Time. Another would be the elemental temples that have appeared in many incarnations throughout the twenty-five-year history of the series.
Because of this, I was immediately excited to hear that Nintendo was planning to release a book that documented these changes, as well as the internal chronology, of nearly every Zelda game in existence.
When I first gathered fellow fans to work on the unofficial translation of Hyrule Historia, we didn’t know if the book would ever see a US release. What a shame it would be if all this incredible information was lost to the language gap between Japan and the rest of the world!
That’s why I was so excited to hear that Dark Horse would be releasing an official English version. Now, instead of having to read the information secondhand on a tiny website, fans would be able to hold the actual book in their hands, and have a giant Zelda encyclopedia on their shelves to refer to in future timeline debates.
Because it’s not very often that encyclopedia-style game books are released in North America, its announcement seemed to be the perfect opportunity for me to get involved in the industry and participate in making an official release happen. I hoped that Hyrule Historia would set a good precedent, ensuring that it wouldn’t be the only such project to reach foreign shelves.
DHC: I have heard translation runs smoother with context. What were some of the most challenging pieces to work on in this book?
AT: Even though it has nothing to do with context, I think the most difficulty I had was deciphering the terrible handwriting of the developers. The staff of the Zelda games may be visionaries, but their penmanship rivals that of doctors. When it came to the handwritten notes on the concept art, I had three or four native speakers doing their best to help me puzzle out the characters, at times, and there are one or two utterly unreadable characters that still haunt me to this day. I won’t name names, but one developer in particular is notorious for spelling errors and questionable grammar. Luckily he’s a creative genius to make up for it!
DHC: What got you started in the world of translation? 
AT: My adventures in translation actually started with Zelda, so it’s fitting that it’s still a big part of my life today!
I began studying Japanese at fourteen, first through self-study and casual lessons with a visiting Japanese professor who lived down the block, then via a year in a beginner-level high-school class. This culminated in a ten-month exchange at a Tokyo high school in my sophomore year.  
While I was on exchange, I rediscovered a site called Zelda’s Secret Ocarina, where users attempted to catalog all the prerelease screenshots of Ocarina of Time, pointing out and speculating on how different they were from the final game. This was the catalyst that sparked my interest in the creation process of video games themselves. I joined the forums at the site, and used my Japanese knowledge to (poorly) translate some of the screenshots that had Japanese text in them.  
(Around that time, I also started playing games in Japanese, mostly old SNES RPGs that I pored over using an electronic dictionary to look up words I didn’t know. At first, it was almost all of them.)
Eventually, the screenshots dried up, so I moved on to translating a series of Ocarina of Time developer interviews. I enjoyed the challenge; it seemed like a good way of practicing my Japanese, and things just snowballed from there. Bit by bit, I branched out into translating material from other games and other forms of media, including voice acting, video, and game scripts. Because I didn’t want to lose track of what I’d done, I built a site to house my work, and the rest is history.
DHC: How many languages do you speak/read? 
AT: I’m Canadian, so I’ve studied French from elementary school to university, but my French isn’t nearly as good as my Japanese. I can read and write, and that’s about it. I’ve also taken Spanish at a university level, and I try to study a little bit of every language I come across. Widening the pool of people I can communicate with is always worth the effort.
DHC: What’s your process for translating a page? Do you jump in and simply tackle it from top to bottom, left to right (or right to left as the case may be), or do you have a step by step process that takes you from rough translation to final copy, like a sketch might go from scratches to inked and then colored pages?
AT: If it’s linear, I generally go from top to bottom. Writing is usually chronological, so if you translate things out of order, you might miss references or foreshadowing that you would be aware of if you had read the previous section. This is especially important when translating dialogue.
If the text is just a series of captions that don’t have any relation to one another, I’ll bounce around to whatever I feel like doing first. I try not to linger on things that I’m having trouble with or get bored with doing; otherwise the work begins to feel grueling.
Most of the time, I start by translating a rough draft, leaving placeholder marks in sections I’m having trouble with so I can come back to them. Sometimes I’m not sure I understand a reference or particular turn of phrase; other times I just can’t render something properly in English. The rough draft usually sounds pretty stilted, and has lots of unfinished sections.
Later, I’ll do a second draft that fills in the gaps, and rewrite any sections I’m unhappy with. I’ll also put my English translation and the Japanese text side by side to compare them and make sure I haven’t forgotten anything or made any mistakes.
Lastly, I try to reread my translation from the perspective of the audience, and fix grammar or edit sections that sound unnatural.
DHC: Everyone has one, but what’s your favorite of the Zelda games?
AT: My favorite is Majora’s Mask. Story is a huge part of the Zelda games for me, and I love the dark atmosphere and how you can see the lives of the characters unfold in real time. The game play is fun, the personalities are interesting, the world is expansive, and there are so many things to do.
DHC: Why do you think the Zelda franchise is such a popular series of video games? 
AT: Zelda is one of Nintendo’s flagship franchises, and it releases a title for nearly every system, showing off the latest hardware capabilities and stretching its flexible story line and motifs over new game-play mechanics. This has drawn in new players and kept older generations loyal and excited to see what comes next, forging itself a solid fan base that holds court in many communities across the web. 
Even during the long waits that come between Zelda games, the creative fans are always generating new art, music, and writing, and discussing every aspect of the franchise in detail. The release of Hyrule Historia may answer a number of long-standing questions, but I have a feeling it will raise even more, and keep the ball of Zelda’s fandom rolling until the next game appears to enthrall players once again.
DHC: Thank You, Aria!

Order your copy now!