A new Ethiopian superhero comic book titled “Jember” has been released by Etan Comics in Ethiopia in Addis Ababa. The book is currently available in Amharic and English.
Hiwot Abebe with Ethiopian Reporter magazines writes about it:
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 Amanual 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, Amanuel’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.
Beserat Debebe, creator and writer of ‘Jember,’ says:
Amanuel’s story shows that a hero is not defined by where he/she comes from, or what he/she has accomplished, or his/her (super) abilities. Heroes are defined by the choices they make, their will and desire to do what is right, despite the difficulty of circumstances and irrespective of the recognition they might get.
The book is currently available digitally online at etancomics.com. Customers in Ethiopian can find it at Emana Book Center on Getu Commercial Building in Addis Ababa.
‘Jember’ is a great beginning and a trailblazer for Ethiopian comic book writers. It is possible that Jember film with real actors is next — similar to Superman or Black Panther.
Here is a short video introduction to the book.