SDCC 2018: George Takei’s Graphic Memoir ‘They Called Us Enemy’ From Top Shelf & IDW In 2019

by Richard Bruton

The announcements from San Diego Comic-Con are coming thick and fast. This time it’s the news of a very special new graphic memoir coming out in 2019 from Top Shelf & IDW. They Call Us Enemy sees acclaimed actor, author, and activist George Takei revisits his haunting childhood as one of the 120,000 Japanese Americans imprisoned in US concentration camps in World War II.

In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the order to place every person of Japanese descent in “relocation centers,” where they would be held for years under armed guard.

At this time where immigration issues and the government separating families is in the news once again, George Takei’s first graphic novel will take readers back to his experiences of WWII, where he found himself as one of the Japanese Americans who found themselves in US internment camps. They Called Us Enemy explores the nature of xenophobia in America and the generation of Japanese Americans who were affected by the mass imprisonment.

Takei’s account of his years in the camp will explore just what it meant for the 4-year-old to attempt to understand why his family had been uprooted from their home, and why his country, the place of his birth, was at war with the country of his father. The memoir shares Takei’s memories of life inside the camp, how it affected his family, what it meant to be subject to legalised racism, and the way that these formative experiences have influenced everything Takei would accomplish in a future that saw him break down barriers in television and become a passionate and effective advocate for equal rights, marriage equality and LGBTQ rights.

In this exploration of what it means to be American, Takei is joined by co-writers Justin Eisinger & Steven Scott and artist Harmony Becker.

Justin Eisinger is Editorial Director, Graphic Novels & Collections for IDW Publishing, where he was instrumental in developing Top Shelf/IDW’s line of non-fiction titles. Steven Scott’s comic writing has appeared in publications by Archie Comics, Arcana Studios, and Heavy Metal Magazine. Artist Harmony Becker is the creator of the comics Himawari Share, Love Potion, and Anemone and Catharus.

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