George Takei's experience in Japanese internment camps will become a graphic novel

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Apr 3, 2017

IDW Publishing's been busy this weekend, cranking out several new project announcements at WonderCon. Among IDW's new offerings will be an original graphic novel from the great George Takei, but this won't be Star Trek-related. Instead, Takei will open up about his early childhood years spent in Japanese internment camps for a new graphic novel.

Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott of IDW will handle scripting the story, which will be narrated by Takei, and still-unnamed artists will tackle the untitled project in time for a 2018 release date. The goal of the book is to shed further light on this chapter of American history, which saw more than 1,000,000 Japanese Americans taken from their homes and relocated, including young Takei and his family.

“I have spoken publicly on numerous occasions during my life on the unjust internment of Japanese Americans in my ongoing mission of spreading awareness of this disgraceful chapter of American history,” Takei said. “I do this, and will continue to do so, in the hope that my personal experience can serve as a cautionary reminder of our past leaders’ mistakes, and that as a society, we can learn from those transgressions and not repeat them. When the opportunity to tell my story in the form of a graphic novel presented itself, I recognized the value in making it easily accessible for our youth to discover and digest the material, bringing attention to an important and relevant issue, while preserving it for generations to come. We live in uncertain times, and if stories such as mine can inspire us to do better and encourage positive change, I want to share it with as many people as possible, no matter who they are, or where they come from.”

This is not the first time Takei has used his experiences to create a piece entertainment that will reach a wider audience. In 2012, he starred in the musical Allegiance, also based on his childhood experiences. The musical debuted on Broadway in 2015.

Now, Takei is turning to comics to re-tell his story, which could have a very powerful effect. Congressman John Lewis, a hero of the Civil Rights battles of the 1960s, turned his experiences in that era into a trilogy of graphic novels titled March, which earned an Eisner Award and a National Book Award, among other accolades. Here's hoping Takei can chart the same path.