A Hawaiian Comic Tells the Story of King Kamehameha
HONOLULU (KHON2) — A local comic book company is thrilled to bring to life the story of young Kamehameha and his extraordinary journey to becoming the king who will one day unite the Hawaiian Islands. Mana Legends: Kamehameha #1 is their first comic book based on true events – and it’s also their first to be available in Hawaiian O’lelo.
“We invested a lot of time, blood, sweat and tears into this comic,” said Christopher Caravalho, founder of Mana Comics.
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Readers will be transported back in time to experience Kamehameha’s death-defying birth and be
introduced to people who taught him vital lessons on his journey to becoming the future king, including King Alapa’inui, Nae’ole, Keku’iapoiwa, Kekūhaupiʻo, and Kahuna.
Developing the comic has also been a journey for Caravalho who began the process in 2020.
“My artist DJ and I were both excited because although we had done other comic book projects, this would be our first based on real events, and we knew our version of such an iconic figure would be scrutinized. close. Honestly, we had our reservations,” he said.
But those worries quickly disappeared when the Kamehameha Schools Internship Program kumu approached them to hire student interns. Caravalho took it as a sign that they were on the right track and moving forward with the project.
“Mokihana Paik, our first intern, shared that she loves art and writing and was eager to learn what she could from Mana Comics,” Caravalho said. “I was able to share lessons for enhancing her natural talents, and she also helped create many of our comedic commercials.”
When Caravalho saw how hard she worked, he wanted to give her the chance to draw a variant cover for the comic.
“So for his last lesson, I asked him to draw King Kamehameha,” Caravalho said. “His finished art was beautiful, and I just blurted out to him, ‘Oh, by the way, I want this to be one of the covers of Mana Legends comic.’ His reaction to this news was nothing but bliss.
The comic will be available in English and Hawaiian O’lelo, which was also made possible through Kamehameha Schools’ Kapalama Internship Program. After Caravalho pitched this idea to the program, their kumu found the next trainee to onboard, Chole Sylva.
“Chole was a blessing and took on this difficult task and completed 46 pages of dialogue selecting Native Hawaiian words to capture the script’s imagery, action, drama and humor,” Caravalho said.
Another intern Caravalho wanted to spotlight is Payton Oliveira, the captain of the Kamehameha women’s volleyball team who just finished her winning season and is busy finishing her senior year. He said Payton had helped tremendously with the marketing.
“She spread the word about the Kamehameha project via wireless coconut, advertisements she helped create, a Mana Comics display in the Midkiff Library featuring Mana Comics, and a 6ft cutout of the King,” explained Caravalho.
He added that Payton also set up and hosted a video feature segment for the Puka Mai Ka Lā Campus Morning News Show.
“I was simply amazed by the work ethic and professionalism of these interns. I am also very grateful to Kamehameha Schools, staff and kumu who have supported them throughout the process to ensure their success,” said Caravalho. “The school also invited us to campus to participate in a small ceremony, and we were able to thank and recognize these young mana wahine for all of their collective contributions to Mana Comics.”
When Mana Comics launched its Kickstarter event on March 1, it was fully funded in less than a day. This is thanks to their early community contributors and being recognized by Kickstarter.
“Our project received a ‘Projects We Love’ badge,” Caravalho explained. “The badge indicates that out of the 20,000 ongoing comic book campaigns, our project has been selected as one of the best and brightest on Kickstarter.”
Although they have achieved their fundraising goal, Caravalho would like to see him go even higher. Fans have the chance to receive exclusive merchandise, variant covers from local artists like Brook Parker and Stephen Kakaio, among other perks. The Kickstarter event ends on March 30.
Caravalho shared that what was really rewarding about partnering with the Kamehameha Schools Internship Program was hearing what the interns had to say about it.
In a recent podcast, Mokihana was asked what it was like working with Mana Comics. Caravalho said his answer made him cry.
“With a genuine smile, she replied, ‘Working with Mana Comics was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of, and working under Chris has definitely changed my life and given me a new perspective on my future – what I want to do as an artist – and inspired me to want to do illustrations and animation for children in the future,” Caravalho said.
“I had no idea she felt that way,” he said. “The fact that I have been blessed with such amazing interns and been able in my small scale to help Mokihana decide on the path to follow for her own life journey – it is invaluable.”
Mana Comics has self-published 15 superhero books to date. Click here to help finance Mana Legends: Kamehameha #1.
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” I am delighted. I believe in our project. I believe in the power of comics. I believe that in a world where we are competing with a tsunami of digital information, sharing Kamehameha’s story in a comic book will excite keiki of all ages,” said Caravalho. “Our intentions are purely aloha. If we can help ignite a passion in someone to want to learn more about Hawaiian history and culture… pau. We’ve done it.”