'Curlie' gag from the 2 September 1944 issue of The Granada Pioneer.

Little is known about Tom Yabu, an American-Japanese (amateur) cartoonist interned in the Granada Relocation Center in Amache, Colorado during World War II. He was on the editorial staff of the camp newspaper The Granada Pioneer, irregularly contributing the full page gag strip 'Curlie' in the second half of 1944.

Background
On 7 December 1941, the Japanese army attacked the U.S. military base Pearl Harbor, causing the U.S. to declare war on Japan. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered Executive Order 9066, all first and second generation Japanese-Americans were interned in concentration camps. There were no exceptions for people born on U.S. soil and naturalized citizens. Over 2,000 Japanese-Americans were sent to this detention center. Tom Yabu was one of them. Other (future) Japanese-American cartoonists who underwent the same fate were Rosie Arima, Chris Ishii, Willie Ito, Jack Ito, Harry Kuwada, Bob Kuwahara, Bennie Nobori, Eddie Sato, Esther Takei, Tom Okamoto and Iwao Takamoto.

Curlie
Yabu was interned in the Granada Relocation Center in Amache, Colorado during at least the most of 1944. By July of that year, he began as a cartoonist with the camp newspaper, The Granada Pioneer. His lead character, Curlie, introduced himself - with microphone stand and all - in the 29 July 1944 issue. He mentions that he will be the Saturday replacement of 'Lil Neebo', since that character's cartoonist Jack Ito left for Washingon, D.C. to serve in the military. Also introduced are Curlie's belle Amako and her mischievous little sister Yancha. The cartoonist probably suffered from hay fever, since it was a recurring element in the feature's comedy routine.

'Curlie' and his gang appeared irregularly in full page gags until at least September 1944, by when Jack Ito's 'Lil Neebo' returned. Simultaneously with Yabu's strip appeared Rosie Ariba's 'Lil' Eva-Cuee', a comic strip with a simular irregular publication rhythm. By late 1944/early 1945, the internees were gradually released. It is unknown what happened to Tom Yabu after his Granada days.


Curlie's introduction in the Granada Pioneer on 29 July 1944.

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