HONOLULU (KHON2) — Comic book fans on the Big Island have a chance to get a first look at a new comic in the making called “The Signal Fire” this weekend.

The story is set in a dystopian future in Hilo where the concept of misinformation has become viewed as a massive threat to society and an authoritarian power takes a draconian approach to handle it.

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“The heroes are a vigilante group of journalists whose aim is to fight for everyone’s right to freedom of speech and resist the dictatorial narrative established by said power,” said Zak Silva-Sampaio.

Silva-Sampaio grew up in Puna and graduated from the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Though this won’t be his first art show, it’s one he hasn’t had in a while.

“It will be the first that is focused on my art specifically,” the 33-year-old artist said. “It has been 12 years or so since my last one in college. I am nervous, but I am certainly looking forward to the show.”

Silva-Sampaio knew he wanted to be an artist as soon as he picked up a pencil as a kid and started drawing. Pursuing art, however, has been an on-and-off journey.

“I went to college to study art briefly but changed my focus of study because I felt like I should have other skills in my life,” Silva-Sampaio explained. “For the past five years, however, I have been focused on improving my ability and now I am working on a comic book.”

Taking inspiration from Japanese and Golden-Age American comics, “The Signal Fire” features original characters Silva-Sampaio created with his friend Nathan Christophel.


Scarlett Rose is the main character of the story. She’s the newest member of the vigilante journalist organization and is guided by a set of journalistic values that aim to make society a better place.

Hunter Zelinsky comes from a prestigious family within the vigilante group. Silva-Samapio said his tactics are a bit off the cuff and maybe a little unhinged. Scarlett and Hunter are friendly rivals.


Steven Gobbles is the boss of the vigilante group. He has become jaded over the years and has settled with just making ends meet. Scarlett and Steven do not see eye to eye on many things.

Steven Gobbles in the upcoming comic “The Signal Fire.” (Courtesy: Zak Silva-Sampaio)

On Saturday, Aug. 20, comic book enthusiasts can get a closer look at these characters and more at Enjoy Comics, located at 111 E. Puainako St. #612, Hilo. Silva-Sampaio said he’s expecting the entire release for the first issue to happen in April. Those who follow his Patreon will get week-to-week updates.

Silva-Sampaio would also like to thank Mike Sado of Enjoy Comics for hosting the art show. To follow Silva-Samapio’s artwork, click here.

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“I hope that the readers will understand the role of journalism in democracies better,” he said, “how the pursuit to control misinformation can be dangerous and also how the process of uncovering the truth can go.”