Heroic Japanese Americans in New Comic Series

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At the Baltimore Comic Convention, graphic novelist Billy Tucci introduced his new six-issue comic book series set in World War II: Sgt Rock: The Lost Battalion. The DC Comics character Sgt. Rock is part of the Lost Battalion that repelled German attacks while it was cut off for 6 days behind enemy lines in the Vosges Mountains of Eastern France. The Japanese Americans of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team fought their way up the mountain to rescue the trapped men.

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In the comics, other Japanese American issues are explored such as internment camps. Tucci invited Japanese American WWII veterans Yeiichi Kelly Kuwayama, a 442nd combat medic; Ranger Grant Hirabayashi, a member of the famed Merrill’s Marauders, a Special Forces brigade that operated behind enemy lines in Burma; and Terry Shima, a 442nd veteran, to join him for a signing and panel discussion.

Tucci told the audience that the rescue is considered one of the most fiercely fought battles in U.S. history. A member of the audience asked about Kuwayama’s metals, and he responded that he received the Purple Heart for wounds from enemy fire in the battle for the Lost Battalion.

Graphic novelist Billy Tucci and Japanese American veterans Yeiichi Kelly Kuwayama, Ranger Grant Hirabayashi, Terry Shima sign promotional prints of Sgt Rock: The Lost Battalion at the Baltimore Comic Convention.

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