In new graphic novel The Divine (out July 14), an American explosives expert is captured by twin brothers who are child soldiers in the fictional Southeast Asian country of Quanlom. The story has fantastical elements — magical powers, a mysterious beast — but this tale from Israeli twin illustrators Asaf and Tomer Hanuka and writer Boaz Lavie was inspired by a horribly real photograph of child soldiers in Myanmar. “It started in 2007 when Tomer heard this story about these kids on NPR,” Lavie says. “He started looking around and found this amazing photo.”
That may not be typical material for a graphic novel, but Lavie hopes it will help keep the issue on people’s minds. “There is something so sad about children who have to fight to survive,” he says. And the book is already having an impact. “Very recently we were contacted by people in Myanmar,” he says. “People there are very excited that the story of child soldiers is being told. We are proud we can contribute to the discussion.”
You can see an exclusive (and rather gruesome) image from The Divine, below.
This article ran in Entertainment Weekly issue #1371-1372, on newsstands Friday, July 3.
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