You can add Trivium frontman Matt Heafy to the growing list of musicians with a graphically animated book to promote. Heafy has teamed up with Half Sumo illustration for the upcoming “Ibaraki and Friends,” a rhyming picture book featuring a wealth of Japanese folk tales and rich mythologies that inspired the musician in his youth. The book is expected to arrive in June.
If Ibaraki’s name sounds familiar, that’s because it’s aligned with Heafy’s latest musical venture with the Rashomon album slated for May 6 via Nuclear Blast. But this should not be confused with the Ibaraki and his friends Lullaby CD that will serve as a soothing acoustic complement to the tales Heafy shares in this new book.
“’Ibaraki and Friends’ is a book full of stories that I grew up with. This Japanese folklore is behind so many of the amazing stories we have today, whether they’re in video games, cartoons, movies, or songs,” says Heafy.
Cover “Ibaraki and his friends”
Each broadcast of “Ibaraki & Friends” features one of the many legendary tricksters, heroes, and mystical beings who occupied the classic Japanese stories Heafy’s mother taught him growing up. These include the ape/man/bird hybrid, Tengu; the eight-headed beast, Yamata no Orochi; and a nine-tailed celestial fox, all channeled with neon energy through Half Sumo’s vivid illustrations.
“For years I have researched as many Japanese stories as possible – I have had several tattooed on my body – and explored their themes in Trivium songs, Ibaraki, and now in ‘Ibaraki & Friends ‘” Heafy continues. our hope that by exploring these wonderful stories, readers will want to learn more about Japanese culture, then other cultures of surrounding Asian countries, and then spread this willingness to learn stories from around the world, inspiring curiosity in many cultures we share around the planet.
As noted, Z2 Comics will release Heafy’s “Ibaraki and Friends” book with Half Sumo artwork in June. The deluxe editions will come with a set of temporary tattoos, a Bento Box set and the above Ibaraki and his friends Lullaby CD. Get your pre-orders here and check out some of the interior artwork from the book below.
Interior artwork “Ibaraki and his friends”
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