By Jason S. Yadao
File today's featured Cel Shaded Report item in the "man, if only I had heard about this sooner, I would've written about this a whole lot more!" department: There now exists a locally produced manga-style graphic novel that tells the story of the all-Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the 100th Infantry Battalion and their service during World War II.
And you can get your hands on it -- and meet a bunch of cool people, including author Stacey Hayashi, artist Damon Wong and several 442nd vets -- for the first time at an event downtown on Saturday.
The book is called Journey of Heroes, and it's based on the experiences of several vets. From the book's official site:
Stories are the foundation of our culture, the way we share our values and pass them along to future generations. Many of the documentaries and books about the famed 100th Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team speak to the enduring values, heroism, and truth of their war experiences. Few, if any, tell their story within a medium that appeals to the audience that most needs to learn from and understand these lessons: our youth.
We are producing a 30-page graphic novel that tells the compelling story of these young boys who, after battling racism at home and fascism abroad, literally saved the world.
Developing the story in this medium -- a flexible, easily-consumed format -- makes it eminently accessible to younger audiences (grades 7 to 12) who might otherwise never study or learn from this most important chapter in the history of Asian Americans and our country.
I haven't seen the entire book yet, but judging by the images posted on the official site and on the book's Facebook page, it appears that Damon's rendering his characters in chibi (super-deformed) style. Here's a sample page to give you a sense of that style.
This book has a limited print run of 10,000 copies, 5,040 of which are going to schools and libraries in two states. That number seems a bit odd until you consider that 5,000 were originally allocated to schools and libraries locally, but an email from Washington state resulted in an additional 40 copies being pledged to that school as well.
So about Saturday. You can buy the book (and get it signed, too!) for $10 starting at 3 p.m. Saturday in the courtyard of the Pacific Guardian Center -- the address is listed as 737 Bishop St., but think of it as the block bordered by Bishop, Queen and Alakea streets, and Ala Moana Boulevard. Cute character swag will also be available for purchase -- all proceeds will go toward further efforts to preserve and perpetuate the 100th/442nd's legacy -- and there will be a panel discussion of the stories featured in the book.
Learn more about the book at www.facebook.com/442comicbook -- if anything, read through the project's timeline (it's available to read by Facebook members and non-members alike); it's fascinating to see how this project has developed since January -- and 442comicbook.com. With this and MidWeek artist Roy Chang's manga-infused young adult novel Cacy & Kiara and the Curse of the Ki'i due this month, this promises to be a very good month in terms of this style of local literature.
More from the anime news desk
Pen & Ink Works: Group members Heather Matsuura and Brady Evans will be hosting "Expression Session KIDS: Drawing From the Masters of Manga," 10 a.m. to noon Sunday at Spalding House (the former Contemporary Museum), 2411 Makiki Heights Drive. Participants ages 5-12 will learn how to create characters and lay out pages for their own manga, studying works from manga artists and pieces currently on display in the A Thousand Words or More exhibit. Cost is $15, or $10 for Honolulu Museum of Art members. Reservations required; call 237-5230 or email email@example.com. Learn more about Pen & Ink Works at peninkworks.wordpress.com. And since this event ends at noon ...
Comic Jam Hawaii: ... you'll have plenty of time to bring the kids over to this cartoon art group's inaugural Comic Jam at Pearlridge Center. Sit down, draw a bit, collaborate with a bunch of talented people and have a fun art-filled afternoon. 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday SUNDAY (Update 9:45 p.m. 10/4: date corrected; blast my aged, addled brain >_<) on the Uptown side of the mall, in front of Hot Unique Imaging. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/147779161986428/ (Facebook login required).
JManga: School Rumble is now in the online manga publisher's catalog. Yes, I know, it's part of the bigger news that Kodansha's signed on to provide content to Jmanga, and that also joining School Rumble will be Code:Breaker, Pumpkin Scissors, Princess Resurrection, Pastel and The Yagyu Ninja Scrolls, and that those six series haven't been seen since the Del Rey Manga imprint morphed into the Kodansha Comics imprint, but ... School Rumble! I enjoyed it! I have a copy of volume 1 autographed by Jin Kobayashi to prove it! So go buy some points from jmanga.com and read it already.