Mark McKeown and Andre Human provide us with a visual version of the sacred story of the Tree of Life.
This comic is an adaptation of the Zulu Myth of the creation of all that is living and all that is life. The myth was recorded in “Indaba, my children”, an African book that was ahead of its time. Much like we are told, the beginning of life starts in complete darkness or as the story puts it “Nothingness”. The black pages really add to creating the atmosphere of sheer vast nothingness. As the narrator opens the tale light is introduced into the darkness, a light of life and it is from here that the Zulu story of creation is told for the new generation of readers.
Andre Human provides us with some great art that is complemented by superb colouring. Light and darkness create powerful contrasts on the page. Once again, the black pages bring out the best in what the colouring has to offer as the warmer colours tend to burn brighter. Born from the ashes of the spark of life is our protagonist, the Goddess MA; born immortal, yet cursed with a well of emotions, our protagonist sets about restoring order in the new world. MA created the planets, the stars, the sun, the universe as we know it all, thanks to the powers given to her by Nkulukunu. However, MA longed for more, she longed for love and Nkulukunu would grant her that which she looked for so desperately.
As the story progress more and more bright art graces these dark pages, truly alluding to the creation of life and making the reader experience the world as MA does. It also allows the reader to relate to the sense of loneliness that our protagonist is feeling; she is the only life-form in an empty world that is slowly but surely moving out of the darkness and into the light of life. This adaptation is certainly an amazing read that shows just how talented our local art and literature has become and will continue to be. Whilst the story ends sort of in the thick of things, it sure does offer excitement for the next issue. With crisp images and colouring, “The Tree of Life#1″ is a great read that gives the reader a modern spin to an African Classic.