Journey of Heroes: The Story of the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Written by Stacey Hayashi and Illustrated by Damon Wong
Journey of Heroes, published in 2012, details the heroic efforts of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the 100th Infantry Battalion soldiers during World War II. In a visual style unique to manga, we are immersed in their individual and collective experiences. In one harrowing episode, as massive bombs explode and artillery fire surround the soldiers, we witness them rescue the infamous “lost-battalion”cut off by German forces.
For creator Stacey Hayashi, the book began as a movie project. For over a decade she researched and interviewed countless veterans. With the help of animator Damon Wong, she translated the film into a comic book, to appeal to young readers unfamiliar with the story, and to utilize a cost-effective and accessible format.
Originally drawn in a photo-realistic style, the pair later decided to use a “chibi” character stylization. In manga, characters drawn in chibi, Japanese for small, add comic relief. The challenge for Journey of Heroes lay in conveying the reality of war while softening its violence by using the chibi characters for a younger audience. The manga oscillates between presenting humorous personal stories and the brutalities and heroism encountered in war.
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