Africa's First Shared Comic Book Universe is Coming Soon

(reblogged from OkayAfrica)

Paul Louise-Julie, The Pack. Courtesy of the artist.
Paul Louise-Julie, The Pack, Issue 3. Courtesy of the artist.
For Paul Louise-Julie, the critically-panned box office bomb Gods Of Egypt is a symptom of a much more insidious disease. “I found it disgusting that in this day and age Hollywood can blatantly disrespect an entire people’s culture,” Louise-Julie tells Okayafrica. He called for a boycott of the film, while encouraging audiences to support Black mythologies instead. They could start with Louise-Julie’s own stories.
Last March, the 26-year-old French-Caribbean artist generated some buzz around his African mythology graphic novel series, The Pack.
The project is set in a fantasy world based off Louise-Julie’s research of African civilizations. In the first season, we’re introduced to a pack of Egyptian werewolves. Each season thereafter will focus on a different region of the continent.
Courtesy of Paul Louise-Julie
Louise-Julie describes his relationship with Africa as long and intimate. As a child, he visited the continent frequently while his parents were on business trips. He was surrounded by African art and music at home. His parents were avid collectors, particularly of bronze sculptures. At the same time, Louise-Julie knew he wanted to be an artist.
During his senior year of high school in Burkina Faso, he became friends with a Wolof artist by the name of Moktar. One day Moktar brought Louise-Julie to a small compound on the outskirts of Ouagadougou, where he was introduced to a Wolof griot. “For the next three hours, with Moktar translating, he recounted detailed legends and histories of majestic empires, knights, kings, wars, etcetera,” Louise-Julie explains. “He told me that one day I will take these histories and legends and share it to their ‘brothers and sisters’ in America.” Although it wasn’t another two years until he began digging deep into research of African history and mythology, the episode kickstarted Louise-Julie’s artistic journey.
A night of drinking during art school brought the idea for The Pack to light. As the story goes, Louise-Julie was playing a game with a college buddy in which they’d take two random ideas and draw something out of them. Louise-Julie picked Egypt and werewolves. The first drawing was a bit silly, he says. But he sobered up in the morning and realized that perhaps there was actually something there. That was when he came up with the concept of an Egyptian werewolf.