This review of Beast from Venus was extracted from the Daily Nation newspaper (snippet available here). The review was written by Abigail Arunga and published on April 29, 2019. It has been slightly edited for content and clarity.
Kenyan comics are experiencing a new wave, in that the quality of illustration is getting better, the stories and the scripts are getting tighter and the collaborations are resulting in new work that is so very visually and imaginatively appealing.
Take, for example, Avandu Media (Avandu literally means all of us), which is trying its best to produce quality Kenyan stories with a touch of whimsy and fantasy.
I bought their latest comic at Comixplosion by Movie Jabber on April 6, 2019 at Michael Joseph Centre, which was a fan event with the premier purpose of giving people a chance to buy Kenyan and international comics, and socialises with other like-minded story lovers.
Beast from Venus is written by prolific Kenyan writer Kiprop Kimutai, and illustrated and produced by Salim Busuru and Nur Cherubi. It tells the tale of Pkurui, who loves his father but is abandoned by him, and lives a hard life with his aunty who treats him as if he isn’t family.
One day, Pkurui comes face to face with a mythical monster. The ending is beautiful, as is the richness of the heritage in the story. I strongly recommend it.
While we haven’t had a chance to read Beast from Venus yet, we are pretty sure it’s a fantastic read based on previous comics by Avandu Vosi such as Dunamis and Rovik. When it comes to storytelling, Avandu through Vibonzo (Kiswahili for cartoons) has a winning formula of pairing fantastic art with unique and diverse stories that position Africa and the diaspora in a positive light.
With Dunamis for example, Avandu tells the story of superheroes from the perspective of disabled children navigating a world which would rather butcher them than recognize them. In Rovik, the studio basically inserts itself into the Star Wars universe but pairs it with migration for greener pastures, an all-too-true reality common in Africa.
Beast from Venus is a comic which explores folklore from the Nandi community in Kenya about mysterious beasts that once roamed the plains. It’s no surprise that Avandu embarked on a project like Beast from Venus.
In an interview by AfridesignX, Salim Busuru shares how he loves telling stories, especially stories about Kenyans and Africans as he further explores African culture, history and art. Watch that interview below.