First Ethiopian comic book hits the shelves

Jember Comic Book has made a splash in the comics and visual storytelling industry of Addis. Many are happy there is finally an Ethiopian superhero they can point to. Available in both Amharic and English versions, Jember tells the origin story of a young underemployed man called Aman and his transformation into Jember, an Ethiopian superhero.

According to Beserat Debebe, creator and writer of the comic, Jember is a character inspired by the life and experiences of young residents in Addis Ababa. Aman’s creation was informed by his friends’ and relatives’ job seeking experiences in the city. “He reflects the story of those that are in the transition period between their college life and adulthood. Cities like Addis typically have a high youth unemployment rate. This often leads to a feeling of disappointment and hopelessness for a lot of ambitious young Ethiopians.”

Illustrated by Stanley Obende, Brian Ibeh and Akanni Akorede, Jember is a cross-continental effort. Beserat says the process has led the team to learn from each other and that “having different perspectives always leads to better decisions. We get to learn about each other’s background culture so it continues to be an enriching experience.” Although scenes in the comic book are set in Addis Ababa and the names are Ethiopian, the characters are an amalgamation of African features.

Read more at: The Reporter