Established in 1996, SDSU’s Pacific Islander Student Association (PISA) is a
cultural student organization to help promote the importance of higher
education to younger generations of Pacific Islanders,
as well as to celebrate Pacific Islander culture.
Use the tabs above to learn about comics that explore Polynesian Culture. Included in this guide are graphic novels and comics. For the most part, comic strips and political cartoons are not covered. However, some surfing comic strips are included for this topic. The guide is by no means exhaustive. There will likely be more comics that cover the topic than the titles we’ve chosen as representative examples, but we hope this will give you a good place to start. Happy researching!
'Aumākua Guardians of Hawaii (Mana Comics, 2014-) Kickstarter
A multicultural team of modern day Hawaiian superheroes who help protect Hawaii and its people. ‘Aumākua is a Hawaiian word. ‘Aumākua are protectors, ancestral spirits, family or personal gods. In this story it begins by explaining that the ‘Aumākua Guardians of Hawaii were formed when the first natives came to the islands to protect the land and its people.
Cacy & Kiara and the Curse of the Kii (BeachHouse Publishing, 2012)
In this children’s book, Cousins, Cacy and Kiara, take a field trip to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park where they are thrown into an adventure that highlights Hawaiian mythology and spirituality.
This crowdsourced database identifies at least 34 comic book characters that represent Polynesian traditional religion.
Dennis the Menace: Big Bonus Series (Fawcett Publications)
No. 114 Hawaii (1973)
No. 174 Maui (1978)
No. 190 Kauai (1979)
No. 192 (1979) “At the Polynesian Cultural Center.” The family takes a vacation to Hawaii, Samoa, Marquesas, Fiji, Tahiti, and Tonga.
Hawaiian Dick (Image) (2002-2006)
Set in 1950s Hawaii, ex-detective, Byrd, helps his friend, detective Mo Kalama, solve crime. “Supernatural manifestations of the islands' myths and legends lie just around every corner.”
Kipaku Kai (Manoa Comics Group, 2014)
Jonah Kelly, aka Kipaku, knows little of his birthplace, Hawaii. He moves to Oahu, he is transformed into a sea monster. Comic highlights Hawaiian mythology and spirituality.
King Shark (Character, DC)
Nanaue, aka King Shark, is a Polynesian shark demigod, born to a shark god and a Hawaiian woman. He makes many appearances in Superboy (vol. 4, 1994) and Secret Six (vol. 3, 2011). For more appearances, see the DC Database.
Koni Waves (Arcana, 2006-)
An ex-cop in Honolulu, Koni Kanawai, becomes a supernatural detective.
Kristina Bad Hand presents: Kaui: a Polynesian tale of beauty and the beast (Native Realities, 2015)
When a young woman is washed out to sea, she wakes to find herself on a mysterious island filled with magic, dangers, and secrets. As she remembers the stories she was taught as a child, a new story unfolds around her, one that has dangerous consequences for those who don't listen and those who don't care. ~Publisher’s website
The Kukui Project (2011) Interview with the Artist
Follows an astronaut in the futuristic Hawaii, a kingdom with a space program.
Lime Media Hawaii Presents: Children of ‘Aumakua Online
This supernatural coming-of-age tale takes place on the Big Island of Hawaii, where Manuwai must somehow cope with family turmoil and ancient Hawaiian spiritual forces. --from the publisher’s website
Lime Media Hawaii Presents: CODE III Online
Honolulu’s Paranormal Response Unit work to keep Honolulu safe.
Loa (Character, Marvel)
Skilled surfer, Alani Ryan, aka Loa, was born on Maui. Her mutant powers manifest when she is attacked by a shark. Loa appears in numerous X-Men-related comics. See the Marvel Database.
Mana Double Feature: Geckoman & Sistah Shark (2016)
Sistah Shark and Geckoman from 'Aumākua Guardians of Hawaii get their very own stories.
Maui: legends of the outcast: a graphic novel (Godwit Publishing, 1996)
The story of the Polynesian demigod Māui in graphic novel format.
Pineapple Man (SoloGraphics, 1994-) website
Isamu Pohoa is transformed into a form of the Hawaiian god of war, Kukailimoku. He uses his superhuman abilities to become the hero, Pineapple Man.
Silversword (Character, DC)
Dr. Arnold Kaua is the curator of the Hawaiian Historical Museum, and a proponent of Hawaiian rights. He gains superpowers from an artifact. Silversword’s major appearances are in:
Superboy (vol. 4, nos. 2, 3, 5, 23-24, 32, 45-47)
Green Lantern (vol. 3, no. 94) (1998)
Sovereign Seven (DC) (1995-1998)
Pahe Leilani Fave'ela, aka Finale, is a water warrior from a mythical society similar to an ancient Polynesian culture.
X-Force (Marvel) (vol. 1, no. 81) (1998)
"Hot Lava" includes or mentions the Hawaiian deities, Pele, Laka, Ku, Polivah, and Na-Maka-O-Kaha'l.
There are two types of people in the world, those who surf and those who want to.
Blue and Blonde (Chris Malone) Online Webcomic
Webcomic about surfing.
Chopper Surf’s Up (2000 AD, 2010)
Sky Surfer, Marlon Shakespeare, aka Chopper, competes in Supersurf competitions.
Surf Crazed Comics (Pacifica) (1991)
Includes various stories, such as futuristic surfing, riding the waves with Elvis, and a cat that just wants to surf.
Surf Dudes (JR Johnson) Online Comic Strip
Comic strip about the life issues of surfers in the line-up.
Surf n’ Wheels (Charlton) (1969-1970)
A comic book about surfing and auto racing.
Wilbur Kookmeyer (1986-2006) Online
This surfing comic was published in SURFER Magazine from 1986-2000. No strips appeared from 2001 to 2003. Forty-eight of the classic strips are collected in The Best of Wilbur Kookmeyer Collector's Edition Comic Book.
Tsai, Michael. “Hawai'i artists up against industry's speeding bullet.” Honolulu Advertiser, January 16, 2003. http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2003/Jan/16/il/il01a.html
Ozawa, Ryan. “Local Comics Fans Fuel the Return of ‘Pineapple Man.’” Hawaii Blog, May 10, 2015. http://www.hawaiiweblog.com/2015/05/10/pineapple-man
Center For Pacific Studies at San Diego State University's Interwork Institute. https://interwork.sdsu.edu/cps/