News Brief
Image courtesy of Etan Comics

Check Out 'Jember,' the First Ethiopian Comic Book Super Hero

Jember will feed your appetite for more African and diaspora lore.

With vivid illustrations and sleek storytelling, Jember brings us the first Ethiopian superhero comic. It's a story that represents something we've all faced or are yet to face—the scary reality of coming into adulthood. More than just a hero's journey, it explores the challenges many face in finding out their ancestral, familial history, and in deciding what mark they will make on the future.


The story follows a young college graduate named Amanuel who, after much efforts trying to solidify his career, finds disappointment in his non-success. His attempted quest to make a life for himself by pursuing the ticket that will grant him the opportunity to pursue the facade of the American dream, in connection to his American girlfriend, comes to a halt. His initial quest brings him face to face with decisions that involve sacrifice, and leads him down the road of finding self-worth, power, responsibility and hope.

"Amanuel's story shows that a hero is not defined by where he/she comes from, or what he/she has accomplished, or his/her (super) abilities. Heroes are defined by the choices they make, their will and desire to do what is right, despite the difficulty of circumstances and irrespective of the recognition they might get," says creator and writer, Beserat Debebe.

Etan Comics' founder Debebe created an entertainment platform for innovative African superhero stories. He, along with line and color artist Stanley Obende, line artist Brian Ibeh, color artists Akanni Akorede and Waliu Edu, and letterer Rebecca Asah, brought Jember to life.

Instead of coming up with a completely fabricated backdrop for his story, Debebe cleverly interweaves Africa's ancient history and mythology. The history of the East African civilization known as the Kingdom of Punt is a big part of the creation of Jember's rich story. We asked Debebe about the artistic decisions he made with Jember, and his mission with Etan Comics:

Our mission with Etan Comics is to entertain, empower, and educate our fans. We hope to entertain our audiences with fresh fantasy stories based on African history and mythology, and set in present day African countries. We want to empower the current and future generation of Africans and challenge them to expand their imagination by showing them we strive to portray superheroes that rise from African cities and stand as the symbol for justice, peace, equality, hope and love for their community and the world. We aim to broaden our readers perspectives about Africa by depicting a narrative that encourages everyone to learn more about the continents rich history, culture, and innovative day to day life.

Available in both Amharic and English translations, you can obtain your own copy Jember here, and immerse yourself in its compelling story.

Zubaydah Bashir is a filmmaker and writer from South Orange, NJ. Follow her on Instagram @zu_thecute and visit her website to indulge in her blog and find out about her latest film and tv projects.

Interview

Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

The 7 Best Nigerian Songs of the Month (July)

Featuring Olamide, Lady Donli, Omah Lay, Adekunle Gold, Falz and more.