Heafy Becomes Children’s Book Author With ‘Ibaraki & Friends’

You can add Trivium frontman Matt Heafy to the growing list of musicians with a graphically animated book to promote. Heafy has teamed with illustration Half Sumo for the upcoming “Ibaraki and Friends,” a rhyming picture book featuring a wealth of Japanese folktales and rich mythologies that inspired the musician in his youth. The book is expected to arrive in June.

If the Ibaraki name sounds familiar, that’s because it is aligned with Heafy’s latest musical venture with the Rashomon album set to arrive on May 6 via Nuclear Blast. But that is not to be confused with the Ibaraki and Friends lullaby CD that will serve as a soothing, acoustic compliment to the tales Heafy is sharing within this new book.

“’Ibaraki and Friends’ is a book full of the stories that I grew up with. That Japanese folklore lies at the very root of so many of the amazing stories we have today, whether they’re in video games, anime, movies, or songs,” Heafy explains.

“Ibaraki and Friends” Cover Art

Z2 Comics / Art by Half Sumo

Z2 Comics / Art by Half Sumo

Each spread of “Ibaraki & Friends” presents one of the many legendary tricksters, heroes and mystical beings that occupied the classical Japanese stories Heafy’s mother taught him growing up. These include the monkey/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’ve researched as many Japanese stories as possible—gotten several of them tattooed on my body—and explored their themes in the songs of Trivium, Ibaraki, and now in ‘Ibaraki & Friends,’” Heafy continues “It’s our hope that in exploring these wonderful stories, that the readers will want to learn more about Japanese culture—then more cultures of the surrounding Asian countries, then spread that willingness to learn about stories from all over the world, inspiring curiosity in the many cultures we share around the planet.”

As stated, Z2 Comics will be releasing Heafy’s “Ibaraki and Friends” book with illustrations by Half Sumo this June. Deluxe editions will come with a temporary tattoo set, a Bento Box set and the aforementioned Ibaraki and Friends lullaby CD. Get your pre-orders in here and check out some of the interior art pieces from the book below.

“Ibaraki and Friends” Interior Artwork

Z2 Comics / Art by Half Sumo

Z2 Comics / Art by Half Sumo

Z2 Comics / Art by Half Sumo

Z2 Comics / Art by Half Sumo

Z2 Comics / Art by Half Sumo

Z2 Comics / Art by Half Sumo

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