Hameed Catel introduces readers to Kade Mabrin, a reluctant hero that finds his duties of being the Champion of Dema a little too troublesome for his liking. Kade never intended to be the people’s champion, so being a hero is not something that comes natural to him.
Kade feels pestered by the people he is meant to protect. Instead of letting him live his life, he is troubled with their issues. Kade hates having to be responsible and the thought of him having to help others all the time seems far too annoying. Being the Champion of Dema is far more than being the best fighter in the village. The champion has to fight the Soul Takers, an evil that threatens the entire village. But Kade could not care less, you can find him saving damsels in distress in the hopes that he gets paid. But it is his lazy, laid back attitude that leads him to becoming the hero that he wished he had not become. Kade might be troubled but he has a conscience and thanks to his irresponsible actions he forces himself to take the mantle as the Champion of Dema.
This book is a beautiful hybrid text that is rich in cultural influences. Whilst it places a large focus on African Myths and culture, the art looks like a mixture of Avatar: The Last Airbender and popular Shonen Manga. Yes, the majority of the book is presented in black and white but this is what makes the title look impressive. The art is crisp, clean and highly detailed, making for a read that is easy to follow visually. The only aspect that steals from the imagery are the speech bubbles and lettering. Some bubbles are so big that you cannot help but think that they were used in order to fill background space. The lettering within the speech bubbles also feels too big a font at times, making it feel as though there was not enough script to fill that bubble. Other than these minor issues the art and lettering offered by this title is quite impressive.
Champion of Dema has a great African feel to it and it is lovely to see African influence meeting the art of a Mangaka – thanks to Pluto! Hameed has said that he poured his all into creating this title and you can actually believe that. The story is original, the characters are well developed and easy to relate to. Pluto’s designs look great in both colour and black and white. Champion of Dema is proof that self-published titles truly have the potential to rival mainstream titles.