aya of yop city

May 7, 2009


Another complete gem from that unique Montreal-based comic book publishers, Drawn and Quarterly. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen any comic books set in an African country before. Marguerite Abouet’s main aim was to tell a different African story, one that did not involve war or famine. Her resulting books on Aya, in collaboration with her illustrator husband Clément Oubrerie, is the funnest, and funniest, trip back to 1970s Ivory Coast I have (n)ever taken.

I won’t spoil the fun by giving too much away, but Aya and her girlfriends, like teenagers all over the world, are occupied with homework, chores at home, clothes, plans for university, gossiping, and of course… boys! All against a backdrop of a regular Abidjan neighbourhood, which, again like the rest of the world, appears not to have been immune to the delights of disco music and bell-bottomed trousers.

I raced my way through Aya, and its sequel Aya of Yop City (go here and here to read full-colour excerpts of both) and am now awaiting with bated breath the newest book in the series, due for publication in September 2009, Aya: The Secrets Come Out. Ms. Super-G is in the same state after her May Day visit last weekend, and Mr. Snow is ¾ the way there, having finished 1½  Aya books as of last night. Maybe you will be too?


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