Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai

My Japanophilia wasn't born of anime or video games. It started with this comic, a strange meeting of Charles Schultz and Akira Kurosawa that's as much a portrait of early-seventeenth-century Japan as it is high fantasy. Despite the fact that every character in Usagi Yojimbo is an anthropomorphic, Stan Sakai (who's been writing and drawing every issue himself since 1984) does an exhaustive amount of research to guarantee that every single corner of his Japan is an accurate historical representation. When Miyamoto Usagi, Sakai's ronin protagonist, stares across an open valley in the dead of winter, Sakai's penciling transports you to an austere and pure moment of storytelling. It isn't escapism. It's time travel