Amid all the candy-colored tie-in titles and flashy superhero movie trailers revealed during Comic-Con, IDW Publishing announced an extremely timely new graphic novel: They Called Us Enemy, a story from the life of actor, author and activist George Takei. Set to be published in summer 2019 under the Top Shelf Productions banner, the project promises to be a powerfully resonant retelling of Takei’s own experience of American xenophobia, as a child sent with his family to an internment camp for Japanese Americans in the 1940s.
Takei is creating the graphic novel in collaboration with co-writers Justin Eisinger (Editorial Director, Graphic Novels & Collections for IDW Publishing) & Steven Scott, and artist Harmony Becker (creator of Himawari Share, Love Potion and Anemone and Catharus). Eisinger and Scott discussed the project and shared some of Becker’s artwork during SDCC’s panel “The Human Condition: Connecting Humanity with Graphic Novels.”
From the IDW announcement:
George Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his magnetic performances, sharp wit, and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father’s — and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future.
In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast (about 120,000 people) was rounded up and shipped to one of 10 “relocation centers,” hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard.
They Called Us Enemy is Takei’s firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the terrors and small joys of childhood in the shadow of legalized racism, his mother’s hard choices, his father’s tested faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future.