Comic Review: TMNT/Usagi Yojimbo – Expanded Edition
(W/A) Stan Sakai (C) Tom Luth
Last year, the crossover one-shot between Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was one of the most well-received intercompany collaborations in recent memory. And with that success, IDW Publishing is looking to tap the same well again with an expanded edition featuring more back-matter features than previous editions. But for those who have already purchased the one-shot or the hardcover released last year, is this new edition worth shelling out 18 bucks for? Well, the answer ultimately depends on what you’re looking for.
The Expanded Edition reprints in full the 40-page story by Stan Sakai in beautiful colors courtesy of Tom Luth. I would discuss it more here, but I’ve said everything I needed to in my original review, found here. Looking back on this story nearly a year later, I stand by every word written then. This is easily the TMNT book I revisit over any others, and that’s in large part due to Sakai’s mastery of the comics medium.
But what else can be found in TMNT/Usagi Yojimbo – Expanded Edition? Well, like the hardcover release, there are plenty of pinups, an afterword by Stan Sakai, and a reprint of “Turtle Soup and Rabbit Stew” in all its cream-colored, hi-res scanned glory. The real meat of this edition can be found around the 70-page mark. Here, the book includes scans of Stan Sakai’s story notes and early layouts with the comparable finished pages. This offers readers an eye-opening look into the work Sakai puts into each of his works. With the effort behind each page on full display, it becomes easy to understand why his is a standard to which many creators aspire to meet.
If the actual creation of comic books is something that interests you, then this expanded edition of TMNT/Usagi Yojimbo will be a great addition to your bookshelf. However, for the majority of comic readers, I would advise them to either pick up the the original one-shot from your comic shop, or the hardcover edition. Both of those editions feature the same great story found here, at a lower price point.