Putting up that drawing I did for the "Art of Usagi Yojimbo Book" the other day reminded me of one of the fun times that I had with Stan Sakai, and this photo in particular.
I took this at a small restaurant in Bethesda, Maryland, when Stan and I were attending the SPX (Small Press Expo) in 2000 -- a really excellent show just bursting with energy and creativity. I had been to it the previous year, and I'd never before seen so many small press and independent comics creators and publishers in one place. It was really quite inspiring. I got to meet several Xeric grant winners who were there promoting their books, which was very nice. As I recall, Scott McCloud was there too, and I always like getting to see and talk with him.
One day Stan and I walked around the neighborhood next to the hotel we were staying in, looking for a place to eat, and found this funky little place with a few small tables outside (always my favored place to eat if the weather is good). As I recall, I thought the waiter looked like a young Jack Kirby. They had an amazing "golden gazpacho", which I got and thoroughly enjoyed.
I couldn't tell you what it is that Stan is about to eat here, but if I'm remembering correctly, he enjoyed his meal too. (I have found that Stan is quite the adventurous eater... probably a good thing, with all of the traveling that he does.) I just love the way he's giving it the "once-over" in this photo. -- PL