12-Year-Old Twin Leaders of Burma’s “God’s Army” Inspired Twin Graphic Novelists

Tomer and Asaf Hanuka fictionalize the Htoo brothers in “The Divine.”


The fictionalized Htoo twins. Tomer and Asaf Hanuka

The Divine, the beautifully rendered new graphic novel from Israeli artist twins Tomer and Asaf Hanuka—creators of the comic book series Bipolar—and writer Boaz Lavie, was born of a photo.

In 2000, AP photographer Apichart Weerawong snapped an iconic shot of Johnny and Luther Htoo, 12-year-old twins who smoked cheroot cigars and led “God’s Army,” a Karen rebel faction, against Burma’s junta. Land mines, lore had it, unearthed themselves at the twins’ approach, and their soldiers were impervious to bullets.

Transfixed, the artists adapted the boys as protagonists. Their Avatar-esque story follows a pair of US mercenaries on a mission to destroy a mountaintop in fictional “Quanlom,” where they encounter a kid wolfpack aided by a dragon spirit. The real Htoo twins are grown-ups now, but “for us,” the authors write, “they will always be 12-year-olds in a photo we’ll never quite understand.”


If you buy a book using the Bookshop link on this page, a small share of the proceeds supports our journalism.

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate