Last week Midas Monkee released their production schedule giving us a glimpse of the new fantastical universe the company is trying to build. Paul Louise-Julie, writer, artist and founder of Midas Monkee has made no secret about his intention to emulate JRR Tolkien. In the same way that Tolkien created the world of Ea in which are found the lands of Valinor, Beleriand, Númenor, and Middle-earth. Paul is has spent nearly a decade developing the world of Aya that will house fictional recreations of ancient African nations such as the Nubian Empire, The Sokoto Caliphate and the Tuareg lands.
Paul decided to introduce us all to the world of Aya with The Pack, a graphic novel series series that follows a group of Nubian & Egyptian werewolves and their rise to infamy in a fantasy version of Ancient Egypt. The Pack is thus far the only title that Paul has released however if the quality of this graphic novel is any indication of what we are to expect from him then it is time to get vey excited. The Pack features superb art, some of the best illustrations I have ever had the privilege of gazing upon. Three out of five issues have been published and the last two are expected to be released in August and October respectively. Here’s our impression of issue 3.
Unlike the Silmarillion Paul’s fictional universe extends planet earth and ventures into galaxies beyond the stars. This chapter of the story will be explored through Yohance, another graphic novel series this time following a Master Thief that inadvertently finds himself at the center of an Intergalactic War. Paul will release a prequel titled Yohance & the Ekangeni Crystal for free at the end of April. While the actual trilogy will begin next year.
In addition to encompassing other Galaxies Paul is also looking beyond the shores of Africa by incorporating African American history into his narrative with the Voor, a series that will comprise of two novels and a graphic novel. The most controversial element of this book is it’s attempt to examine racism and the transatlantic slave trade. In this story the western world is represented by the Voors, a steampunk, bio-mechanical race that symbolise Industrial Imperialism. In this story corporate greed turned men into Monsters, and pushed them to engage in chattel slavery. Racism was the subsequent tool used to enforce this abomination.
The next set of stories will revolve around the history of the Nubian Empire. First up is the story of Kush, founder of the Nubian empire who must stand up to the tyrannical Osiris and his family of giants. Then it’s time for Candace of Nubia, a decendant of Kush an exiled princess raised and trained by dwarves. Eventually the time comes to put her training to the test and reclaim her family’s kingdom. Both Kush and Candance of Nubia will be graphic novels comprising of 2-3 35 page issues.
Since the Dwarves did such a wonderful job raising Candance they, will be getting their own story in the form of three illustrated books. Then the Midas Monkee 2017 line up will conclude with the Book of Aya which Paul refers to as ‘my Simarillion’. Spanning several Millenia this story will begin with the creation of the universe up until the time the events of the pack take place.
Paul Louise Julie is by no means the first person to mesh Fantasy with African culture. However, he is the first (to my knowledge) that intends to create his a new mythology that will span millennia and a blueprint to show for it. These plans are ambitious to say the least at least they highlights just how much we can enrich the genre of fantasy (and sci-fi) by infusing more elements of African Culture into it. If Paul manages to achieve even a portion of what he has set out to do with Midas Monkee it will transform our perception of fantasy, sci-fi and most importantly our perception of Africa.
If you want to keep up with Midas Monkey you can follow them on their Kugali Page where you’ll find all of their published works to date.