The world of fantasy writing is widely perceived as being as homogenous as your average gallon of milk. Through a genre called “sword and soul,” writers like Charles Saunders and Milton Davis have developed a new paradigm for fantasy fiction with more diverse casts of characters and innovative new voices.
One such effort is Dusu: Path of the Ancient from Stranger Comics. Based in the tropical land of Ujoa on the fantasy world Asunda, a human is raised by a tribe of wild elves, discovering he has a destiny far beyond anything he may have known. Written by Sebastian A. Jones and Christopher Garner with art provided by James C. Webster and Darrell May and a cover by Hyoung Taek Nam, the first issue was released yesterday free for Amazon Kindle and iTunes-compatible devices.
Noted “sword and soul” author Balogun Ojetade was asked to offer a guest review of the first issue, which presented in its entirety.
When asked to read Dusu: Path of the Ancient — a comic book from indie comic book publisher, Stranger Comics — I said yes, expecting a fairly good read and some great artwork. What I got, however, was nothing short of a masterpiece.
I got so into the compelling and heart-felt story, the depth of the characters, the brutal, yet beautiful world of Asunda and the Blacknificent artwork that I forgot all about his mug of coconut chai tea sitting before him and allowed it to go tepid – and I do not do tepid tea.
Every page is a painting bought to life by James C. Webster, who wields his brush with the adroitness of a seasoned master. You can literally see the characters move and feel each blow from their spears. Every line of narration and dialogue is well-crafted and draws the reader deeper into this amazing world.
Dusu’s fight against ignorance and intolerance is as powerful as his fight against those who would invade the lands of his adopted people — a people who do not truly accept him.
As an author of Sword and Soul — African-inspired Epic and Heroic Fantasy — I am happy to see more fantasy with Black protagonists, but I’m always wary of such stories, wondering if they will be too didactic or just another Lord of the Rings wrapped in a leopard-skin loin cloth. This reviewer is happy to say that Dusu: Path of the Ancient stands among some of the best in graphic storytelling he has ever had the pleasure to read and although the creators may not have intended for what they wrote to stand beside Imaro, Dossouye, Meji, Changa’s Safari, Griots and Once Upon A Time in Afrika as a definitive work of Sword and Soul. As a Sword and Soul brother of the subgenre’s founder, Charles R. Saunders, I proclaimed it as such.
Do yourself a favor, read Dusu! You can thank me later with a mug of hot — not tepid — coconut chai.
Dusu: Path of the Ancient will be solid digitally, as will its prose sequel, Waso: Will To Power, written by 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt winner Hannibal Tabu.
ABOUT STRANGER COMICS
Located in Los Angeles, Stranger Comics is an incubator and aggregator of content, developing and designing franchises for multi-media platforms. Its guiding philosophy is that of quality, and that the idea is king, and the story is sacred. From the vast and volatile fantasy world of Asunda to the literary climes of Lloyd Levin’s Foundry Comics and the wide-eyed whimsy of Stranger Kids, Stranger strives for excellence in production as well as presentation.
[Source: Stranger Comics]
Balogun Ojetade is author the Steamfunk novel, Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman the Sword and Soul novel, Once Upon A Time in Afrika and the Urban Fantasy novel, Redeemer. He is contributing co-editor of the anthologies, Steamfunk and Ki-Khanga: The Anthology. Finally, he is screenwriter and director of the action film, A Single Link and the Steamfunk film, Rite of Passage. On his website, The Chronicles of Harriet, he discusses Steampunk, Steamfunk, Sword and Soul and the craft of writing.