Actor, activist, and author George Takei appeared on stage today at Book Expo America to present THEY CALLED US ENEMY, his new graphic memoir from IDW Publishing. Chronicling one of the darkest periods in American history, They Called Us Enemy follows the Takei family in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. “Even though we were born American citizens, were categorized as ‘enemy aliens,” said Mr. Takei. He recounted his first impressions of being sent to the swamps of Arkansas as an exotic adventure for a five year-old boy. “My father bore the rage, anguish, and despair for my family.”
As Mr. Takei grew older he learned one needed to be actively engaged in a democracy in order to combat an “endless cycle of cruelty and injustice.” The goal of the comic book is provide a glimpse into the past that history books rarely cover. While Mr. Takei has covered this material in his semi-autobiographical musical ALLEGIANCE. But this project is specifically based on his life and aimed for a younger audience. Mr. Takei said, “It was important to capture a child’s view of incarceration.”
Co-author Justin Eisinger later commented during the signing that the success of Rep. John Lewis’s MARCH series, recounting his time in the civil rights movement, was what fueled the idea for this series. He noted it was a long process in selecting artist Harmony Becker, who displayed a talent for drawing the intimate family moments in addition to the big battles. Mr. Takei specifically praised Ms. Becker for capturing his mother’s little gestures in relating to the family.
The book will be available for purchase in July in time for San Diego Comic Con.