In afro-futuristic comic Yohance by Paul Louise-Julie, Yohance is a thief seeking adventure, money, and that shiny thing over there that says “Do Not Touch!” Who doesn’t like reading about a sassy space thief, his droll companion, and his cranky ex as they adventure through space looking awesome?
The artwork of this comic is bright and vibrant, with designs taking their cues from arts of the peoples and cultures of the African Continent, particularly the Benin art of early 16th century Nigeria, which had a bronzecaster’s guild that began around 1300 (Roughly when the Aztec Culture started in Mesoamerica, slightly before the Italian Renaissance, and the Hundred Years War in Europe), and the artistic traditions continue to this day. The comic also takes a big design cue from the vibrant, primarily geometric, textile traditions of the area. Loom-woven patterns such as Kente, Bògòlanfini “Mud Cloth”, and Mashamba designs of Burkina Faso and Mali.
The comic has a brisk momentum and feel to it, reminding me in tone of the anime (and manga) Cowboy Bebop, as well as a similar vibrant use of color; and evoked recollections of TRON, with the use of light in character design, and makes me imagine that Tamatoa, from Disney’s Moana, would fit in rather well in this world, full of shiny, and powerful trinkets with a a bioluminescent glow.
Art history references aside, I greatly enjoyed the fun and playful nature of this comic, and how Paul handles facial expressions. It isn’t all grim-and-gritty, and has some humorous, and very human moments. Life — and life in Space — isn’t always easy, and the complications of human relationships help make the story more relatable, even if the setting isn’t our own. People have always looked up at the sky, and wondered, and daydreamed about adventure: Yohance is the latest in this human tradition.
Yohance is available from Paul Louise-Julie’s website, here.
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