Writer Gemma Bedeau and Artist Lee Fenton-Wilkinson combine forces to form Kromatron Comics, the indie publisher of the comic Afroella. There are few strong characters of minority in comics these days, so when I saw cover art that featured a black woman in outer space, I was drawn in.
Cover Art courtesy of Kromatron Comics
When you turn the page to begin the adventure in Issue 1, you are immediately met with a sense of playfulness in the introduction: “Outt-Space…Outta-sight. These are the Voyages of Afroella. Her Mission: To Get Down On It With New Planets & People. To Soc It To Sucka’s Across The Universe. To Boldly Funk Where No One Has Funked Before.” The opposite page opens the series with the title character, Afroella entangled in the tentacles of an alien race, lamenting to her virtual assistant about the overabundance of sticky tentacled perverts. In these few lines and the opening art, you get all the information you need.
Agent 36-24-36, code named Afroella, is the no nonsense, butt-kicking Captain of the Starship Fierce. The most decorated of the Elite Lunisolar Liberty Agent (ELLA) operatives, she heads out among the planets to protect various races with her unique set of skills in fabulous style. Always by her side is DIVA, her Digital Interactive Vitrual Assistant, a life-form that is able to assimilate and control data. As the first officer of the Starship Fierce, he interfaces with the ship to keep things running smoothly and assist Afroella on her missions, with no shortage of attitude and quick-witted comments.
In the first issue, Afroella easily fights her way out of a sticky situation, only to find herself recruited for another. This time, she is going in blind. The lack of information helps the character to keep a sense of curiosity and danger. Bedeau’s writing keeps the story going, while allowing the action to speak for itself. Admittedly, the jive talk does go a tab overboard in the beginning, but the dialogue is laced with pop culture references that reminds the reader this comic is all about fun. Overall, Bedeau has provided a good story which is nicely complimented by Fenton-Wilkinson’s action scenes. Fenton-Wilkinson’s art is bold, colorful and echos the overall sense that this comic is meant to be playful. It does not take itself too seriously. Nor should you.
So, how does one describe Afroella? To my mind, it is the comic amalgamation of Barbarella, blaxploitation and a buddy cop story, if Captain James T. Kirk were a black woman, of course. Fun, funky and lighthearted, Afroella is definitely worth the read if you enjoy a good time!
In the comic world, we need more strong characters of ethnicity and we certainly need more works that highlight the strength and capability of women. In its premier issue, Afroella achieves both. For that, Afroella has been nominated for a Glyph Award for Best Female Character. The Glyph Awards celebrate comics by, for and about people of color.
Issue #1 is the first of a limited series of 4 comics that was launched in November. Issues 2-4 are in process, but Kromatron Comics needs your help to finish the story. They are currently running a Sponsume Campaign to crowd source the funding needed to print and market the remaining issue. Meet Gemma, Lee and Afroella in their Sponsume pitch video below and please consider supporting the comic.
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