They Called Us Enemy, George Takei’s graphic novel memoir, has become a New York Times Bestseller after just one week. Together with writers Justin Eisinger & Steven Scott and artist, Harmony Becker, Takei retells the story of his childhood, when he was imprisoned in American concentration camps during World War II. Top Shelf published the timely comic and made the announcement on Friday, following its July 16 release.
This news is only more significant considering that graphic novels no longer have their own NYT category. As it stands now, They Called us Enemy stands as number two on the bestseller list for paperback nonfiction, right in between Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime and The Mueller Report.
Having just heard the news, Takei writes “Just one week after its release, I am astounded and grateful to learn that my graphic memoir, They Called Us Enemy, is a New York Times Bestseller! The story of the Japanese American internment MUST reach new generations — and with your help, it will.”
It was a busy week for Takei, who spent much of his weekend along with the rest of the book’s creative team at SDCC. There, he appeared standing-room only panel and hosted two sold-out signings. While he was there, he was also awarded with an Inkpot, before heading over to the Japanese American Museum for another signing event.
This memoir of a family coping with legalized racism isn’t just recognized by the NYT. On Amazon, it’s the #1 graphic novel and on the top ten of all books, and Barnes and Noble ranks it as #9 on its college bestseller for paperback nonfiction. As beloved publishers shut down and concentration camps become ever more present in the States, They Called Us Enemy’s rise to bestseller sends a hopeful message; that people want to hear his story and that they want it told through comics.
In spite of what he endured, Takei has made a name for himself on televisions in Star Trek, as a voice for LGBTQ+ rights – and now as a bestselling author. Eisinger joins him in that title – we even met up with the IDW senior editor at SDCC and traded industry secrets for delicious donuts.
For more on They Called Us Enemy, check out our review.