Upcoming lecture by “creative genius” Christopher Caravalho, super hero to all local comic book fans

“Christopher Caravalho’s work in comics bears testimony to the creative genius and energy of local-based writers and their sensitivity to and respect for culture, identity, and narrative traditions.” —UH Hilo Professor of English Kirsten Møllegaard.

By Susan Enright.

Christopher Caravalho pictured
Christopher Caravalho

Honolulu-based comic book creator Christopher Caravalho, founder of the delightfully Hawaiʻi-centric Mana Comics that features legendary superheroes, will be giving an online lecture this month sponsored by the Department of English at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.

This “Brown Bag” event, part of an ongoing series of guest lecturers hosted by the English department, is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 28, from 11:00-11:50 via Zoom (login details in poster below). Co-hosted by UH Hilo Professor of English Kirsten Møllegaard and English major Braden Savage, the event is free and open to the public.

Caravalho is independent and self-published in his comic book creations. He grew up on Oʻahu and is a full time police officer for the Honolulu Police Department. He writes and draws comics in his free time. Mana Comics features beautifully crafted heroes from Hawaiʻi in all their cultural and ethnic diversity, reflecting local life in Hawaiʻi.

“I try to touch upon things that happen in Hawaiʻi,” he says about his work, where he often explores the history, lore, and customs of Hawaiʻi. “I want someone to crack open the (comic) books and say, ‘Wow, I’m excited to learn this,'” he explains. “You’re learning about the culture, you learn about Hawaiian history.”

Kirsten Møllegaard pictured
Kirsten Møllegaard

Møllegaard says Caravalho has been a valued, frequent guest of the English department at UH Hilo, both in person pre-pandemic and online during the pandemic, sharing his manaʻo and creativity with students and campus communities.

“His work in comics bears testimony to the creative genius and energy of local-based writers and their sensitivity to and respect for culture, identity, and narrative traditions,” she says.

Flyer: At top is graphic of the Mana Comics heroes, different brown ethnicities, on Waikiki Beach. UH HILO ENGLISH DEPARTMENT BROWN BAG LECTURE COMIC ARTIST CHRISTOPHER CARAVALHO. Author of the popular local comic series Aumakua and founder of MANA COMICS. LIVE ON ZOOM, meeting ID 918 2331 2383, Passcode COMICS. OCT. 28, 2022. 11:00 AM-11:50 AM. University of Hawaii at Hilo English Department. For disabilities accommodations please contact Kirsten Møllegaard (molegaa@hawaii.edy) 10 working days prior to the event.

Growing up in Hawaiʻi, Caravalho fell in love with the island culture and humor. His bio on the Mana Comics website says that as a kid, if he wasn’t exploring the neighborhood, beaches, or mountains, he was spending all his loose change on his second passion, comic books from the corner store.

Many years later he was inspired to blend his two loves together and in September 2014 he self-published his first comic book entitled, ʻAumākua #1 Guardians of Hawaiʻi. Since then he has gone on to publish several other titles including Mana Double Feature and Sistah Shark.

In a promotional video for Mana Comics, Caravalho says that he tries to touch upon things that happen in Hawaiʻi. “It’s more important to me to have these great [comic] books that local kids, locals everywhere, can really connect with. That’s more important to me than anything else.”

He says he prays every day that Mana Comics brings joy to excite, to inspire.

Prof. Møllegaard says Caravalho’s comics are powerful expressions of local pride, cultural depth, and artistic acumen.

“As literature, they empower our students and deepen our understanding of graphic narratives’ function in contemporary Hawaiʻi,” she says.

By Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories.

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