Aya

Comic book, 2006

Well, this was a big surprise. Aya has got to be the best new comic I’ve read in a long time. It probably helps that I knew nothing about it going in, but after reading it I can only assume that there’s some level of hype behind it. A story about ambitious girls in an ambitious place (The Ivory Coast in the 70’s), the book follows it’s three young female protagonists and shows us the effects that their goals and priorities have on themselves and their loved ones. It seems light in content, but the depth of the characters and the weight of their interactions are not. The characterization and dialogue are fantastic, but they are perhaps bested by the art. I don’t think I’ve seen artwork this pitch perfect… I’m tempted to say maybe ever? It’s almost reminiscent of Guy Davis’ work on BPRD, with it’s cartoony sketchiness and vibrant colors. The color, my God, the color. I believe the same artist penciled, inked and colored this thing, and he is in total command. It seemed to kind of just stop rather than having an ending, but I had assumed the story’s punchline was common knowledge halfway through the book, so maybe something went wrong there for me. The introduction is a must read, especially if you know as little about the Ivory Coast as I do, and the heady ideas it presents give the story a tiny bit of weight that it might not have had on it’s own: that a story about ordinary people in Africa, one that doesn’t involve war or famine, is a sadly original one. 4



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