Hey and Welcome to the next Lesson in BLACK BUSINESS MONTH!
Now, I don’t usually/really do reviews, I normally just prefer to give my thoughts and reactions, but by the end you’ll see why this one deserves this much attention.
“Hawi” was created by Beserat Debebe and drawn by Stanley Obende under ETANCOMICS and right out the gate, I have kind of a long history with it.
Funny enough, this isn’t my first run in with ETANCOMICS. In truth, I bought the first issue of another title under their publisher called: “JEMBER”. So, they were already on my radar for a solid first issue to a story I hadn’t even heard of prior to that day.
The first time I saw Hawi was in 2018 in a Facebook ad (yeah, sound familiar?) but, by this point, I’ve seen plenty of indie Black Comic characters. Not that I would support it any less, but something more to make it stand out.
And that’s when I saw it:
“ETHIOPIA’S FIRST FEMALE SUPERHERO”
When I clicked on the link, it was still in development and wouldn’t be released until 2019! I was both hype AND irritated. Coming off of the high I got from seeing Black Panther (WAKANDA FOREVER!), I wanted to go out and start supporting more Black Comics. (Marvel and DC have enough of my money, trust me.) And so, after what felt like forever, Hawi was released and I would FINALLY get to see what all the hype was about.
Immediately, you’re given the stunning works of both Obende and colorist Toyin “Morby” Ajetunmobi. The art is STRIKING, from penwork to the careful, vibrant colors used across all spectrums, this is already on high regard from that work alone and it doesn’t take long for that first impression to be topped.
From this small panel, you can see the dramatic lightning peeking through the holes in the car. And on another panel, a fade to black POV was a powerful way to convey…loss. Such a detail just to be translated on a page and not something in a Pixar or Dreamworks film is astounding.
Emnet, our protagonist, has dreams of wanting to go back to her home country and reconnect with her family. As someone who only knows one side of his family, only back three generations, I can relate. It’s a small, humble detail that anyone, regardless of age, could place themselves in. Her mother says no, knowing how dangerous that place can be and, admittedly, I thought I had this pegged.
“Oh, no, the elder character saying no but ultimately they’re gonna let her go anyway,” cliché. I called it from a mile away and, yeah, I was right, but not for the reason I thought...
Rather than someone who is denying our protagonist their destiny a la Luke Skywalker’s Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen, Emnet’s mother delivers tragic news that her sister passed away.
Now, I don’t care what you’re going through in life. If something is important enough, you put petty squabbles aside and do what needs to be done. It was this minor twitch in the usual cliché that I didn’t see coming and I’m glad I did. It’s a very real, grounded experience and made me feel more for their family.
I won’t give much else away, but these aren’t the only times moments feel very real in this book, even with the fantasy elements thrown in as well.
From genuine sounding dialogue to even awkward hugs to long, lost family members you’re only meeting as an adult, Hawi welcomes new readers in and props up a chair for you.
Minor nitpicks that, in a way, like Black Sands, I also find endearing. Some dialogue could’ve used a smaller font to fit better in a bubble or a bigger bubble to fit the font size. And, again, I still see this as really endearing. As an aspiring writer, seeing publications with minor imperfections like these really makes me feel like, I can do this and, if it’s anything on Hawi’s level, I’d say I’ve got my work cut out for me.
Before I close, I wanted to take one thing into account. It’s really small, but I NEED to talk about it.
Now to some, if not most, people this could be seen as just a mere two drawings, but it’s so much more. Looking at it closer you’ll notice minor details, like lighting and differences in her eyes and lips. So, it’s just two different drawings, right?
Yeah and it’s INCREDIBLE.
In certain comics, some creators would take the initial drawing and simply flip it to save time and resources.
Take a look at this page from Invincible, another fantastic comic. Robert Kirkman goes out of his way to mention and even poke fun at it.
Like character Flip Schaff (that’s gotta be a euphemism for something) said, “most people don’t even notice”.
Hawi didn’t have to do that, but they did.
They did and, contrary to Kirkman, I noticed.
Hawi, at the time of this post, only has its initial issue, but if this keeps up, Hawi will not only be the First Ethopian Woman Superhero but also the best.
If YOU would like to support and read more of their work, you can go to their site at:
http://etancomics.com or their twitter & instagram @etancomics .
And a personal thank you to Beserat for responding to me so quickly and allowing me to share you and your team’s work. PLEASE keep them coming.
Well, that’s all for now. So, until Static Shock comes back on the air or the Etan Comics let me star in their Netflix adaptation in the future (I know someone who would love to be her LOL), I’ll see you for the next lesson.
Until then, class dismissed!