Boutique home video distributor Criterion commissioned Samuel Hiti (Los Tiempos Finales, Death-Day) and a list of other great comics artists to create artwork for the individual films in the company’s box set for the long-running Zatoichi series starring Shintaro Katsu as a blind, but incredibly quick and accurate swordsman. Hiti designed the cover for Zatoichi the Fugitive, the fourth in the series.
Twenty-five Zatoichi films were produced between 1962 and 1973, making it the longest-running action series in Japanese history. There was also a four-season TV series in the late ’70s. The Criterion box set collects those first 25 feature films in one package for the first time, but doesn’t include 1989′s Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman, written and directed by Shintaro Katsu himself.
Eightball/Ghost World creator Daniel Clowes provides the covers for two Sam Fuller classics for the Criterion Collection — The Naked Kiss and Shock Corridor. Both movies come out next year, and based on the description, it sounds like he provided artwork for the accompanying booklet as well.
If you’re in San Francisco, you can meet Clowes at APE today, which kicks off in a few short hours.
Top-of-the-line DVD house the Criterion Collection is no stranger to comics. In addition to employing the likes of Adrian Tomine and Jaime Hernandez to draw covers for classic films from around the globe, they’ve also recently received rave reviews for their deluxe rerelease of Terry Zwigoff’s stranger-than-fiction documentary Crumb.