Zufan Series

As I mentioned last week, some of my Kickstarters were coming out. This comic Zufan #1 came from the Hawi #1-3 set that just came out. I haven’t gotten to Hawi yet since I’ve been busy. But a quick #1 issue fits my budget for this week and so I took a look.

Set around 150 years in the future, an African republic faces a stark challenge- partner with aliens to get weapons tech that matches the other nations around them, or be left behind and become easily conquered. Unfortunately, this is the plan of the colonial aliens.

Think of the story as a futuristic take on the early “Scramble for Africa” that the continent went through after the 16th century, with a better focus on the 1885 Berlin Conference. This shot here represents the conference in a Sci-Fi setting. If you’ve got 3 hours to spend on learning about the Scramble, I suggest this video from Jabzy. This is the playlist to all of his Scramble history videos. Instead of a dry historical telling, this comic is more of a history-thru-the-news and history-thru-character story. Zufan is a rising politician who recognizes the risks to her republic if they don’t get alien arms. Her husband rightfully recognizes that the aliens are no different from colonialists in the 1880s and partnering with them would make the republic a puppet state or worse. Zufan wins the election but signs a treaty with one of the alien races, the last one to sign with a human race. Think of the this part of the story as how African kingdoms must have felt when budding European powers started showing up with new weapons. The art was pretty good, though the cover doesn’t quite match what the point of the story is. I think the second image I shared is the more accurate cover of what is to come. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the paneling because it made reading difficult.

I give Zufan a hopeful rating of 4 out of 5 stars. An interesting concept meets historical realities. You can find it on sale here at https://etancomics.com/shop/

Zufan #2

A continuation of a sci-fi historical retelling by the minds behind Hawi. We find ourselves in the African alliance after the signing of the treaty between the Mero aliens, but there were some hidden costs. Just like in real life, the Mero were not fully honest about what they wanted and Zufan was in a hurry to sign it.

Part of the story is told months after the signing and part is told not long after the signing, when the Mero deception has been found out. Lurking in the background are the cunniving leaders of the CMWA out of Mali, who lost to Zufan in the election. There is an important lesson here on the nature of trust vis-a-vie national interest. Something that Kofi and Nkem learn the hard, painful way.

The art showed a bit of improvement though I liked the art in #1 more, especially the key scenes.  But in other scenes I found it lacking. Not that I expect every scene to get the artistic treatment. Yet I think some scenes could have been better with greater lighting emphasis. Ah well- they'll improve next time.

And it seems like there will be a next time. Lots of backers for this one, which is always a good sign. I think this will be a series I can follow to start to finish. And so should you.

Look for Zufan on Kickstarter and their website here.