How many West African fantasy epics get published in the US? Hell, how many get published period and as comics? TKO Studios released the first one I've ever read, Djeliya by Juni Ba. I previously wrote about a couple other OGNs from TKO, and Dijelya is the first TKO OGN I've read on the description alone.
Djeliya has what we hope for from an OGN, a complete story alongside multiple reasons to revisit the graphic novel after the first reading. The overall effect is what a reader hopes for from a first reading experience with a new author. Djeliya feels like a book from a creator who honed their craft for decades.
Ba's name is new to me, so if he's got a long bibliography, I'm not aware of it. In terms of notes on story and characters, early on in Djeliya, there was a fetch quest that showed character which led me to put down the book for a couple weeks. It wasn't poorly drawn or anything, it just didn't work for me. Once I picked up the book after that, it was smooth sailing.
Ba's style reminds me of the kinetic, rambunctious series Teen Titans: Go! Ba's great at drawing mass. motion and velocity. Djeliya's never too far from something big being toppled or a great punch.
In terms of TKO specific notes, unlike Goodnight Paradise and Sara, TKO printed Djeliya at a standard size. Which was a minor bummer, as that larger size book helped draw me into Goodnight Paradise and Sara. I hoped for the same effect with Djeliya.
I pass over characters and setting as I'm completely ignorant of West African folklore and storytelling. Overall, I'm happy I read Djeliya and I eagerly await Ba's next comic.
Inspired by West African folklore, Djeliya tells the remarkable tale of Prince Mansour and his royal storyteller Awa as they journey to reach the mysterious Wizard Soumaoro who guards a fearsome power that he once used to destroy the world.