Ghibli Meets Yoruban Folklore in Anamnesis Graphic Novel by JCJB

Anamnesis by Jaqueline C.J. Barnes (JCJB) is a new manga-style YA graphic novel, pitched as Studio Ghibli meets Yoruban folklore about Isra, a narcoleptic, romance novel-obsessed witch living in a magical but war-stricken land, who draws power from memories and teams up with a ragtag group of travelers to save her world. Kiara Valdez at First Second has acquired Anamnesis in a preempt for publication in the winter of 2026. JCJB's agent Jas Perry at KT Literary brokered the deal for world rights.

Ghibli Meets Yoruban Folklore in Anamnesis Graphic Novel by JCJB
Ghibli Meets Yoruban Folklore in Anamnesis Graphic Novel by JCJB

The Yoruba religion comprises the traditional religious and spiritual concepts and practice of the Yoruba people and its homeland is in present-day Southwestern Nigeria, which comprises Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, and Kwara as well as Lagos States, parts of Kogi state and the adjoining parts of Benin and Togo, commonly known as Yoruba land. It shares some parallels with the Vodun practiced by the neighboring Fon and Ewe peoples to the west and to the religion of the Edo people to the east. Yoruba religion is the basis for a number of religions in the New World, notably Santería, Umbanda, Trinidad Orisha, Haitian Vodou, and Candomblé. Yoruba religious beliefs are part of Itàn (history), the total complex of songs, histories, stories, and other cultural concepts which make up the Yoruba society.

JCJB's website states that she is a visual development artist who creates worlds that reflect our current society through a fantastical lens. That she is a storyteller that engages with different forms of escapist media such as animations, speculative fiction, video games, and graphic novels. She also deals with creating different forms of representation within these mediums in terms of race, gender, and sexuality. Jacqueline's work stems from a personal need to see herself and others represented positively in a fun and engaging way. Interdisciplinary at heart, she believes there is no one tried and true way to tell a story, and often employs different mediums in her work. Whether it be through word processing, panels and comics, or the in-betweens in an animation, Jacqueline finds the many facets of storytelling fun to explore. Currently, she is working on exploring the different facets of black fantasy and developed a new term: PhantaNoir, an exploration in black fantasy, in order to contextualize that work.

First Second Books is an American graphic novels publisher based in New York City, and an imprint of Roaring Brook Press, part of Holtzbrinck Publishers, distributed by Macmillan, with Editorial & Creative Director Mark Siegel and Editorial Director Calista Brill.


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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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