It’s not a seahorse, it’s not a ship, it’s a cow – a squid cow. Hold your fins, that’s just Squid Comic of the Week! This week’s comic is Lake of Tears, LoT for short. 

Lake of Tears or LoT for short is a story of captivity and redemption. Set against the backdrop of Ghana’s hazardous inland fishing industry it follows 3 children on the Volta Lake as they escape child labour and help free other children from slavery.

Speaking on the title of the comic in an interview with the lead illustrator, Setor Fiadzigbey, he says, “A lake can be different things to different people; to one person it’s their source of livelihood, to another it’s simply a wonderful sight to behold but in this context, it has become something of a bad omen with regards to the subject matter we are tackling in the story.”

In 2018, Lake of Tears won the Best Graphic Novel category at the NOMMO Awards for Speculative Fiction.

If you want to hear our voices speaking about Lake of Tears and other cool stuff, check out this episode of the Space Squid podcast.

Important Info About Lake of Tears

Initial Release: November 2017

Chapters: 4

Origin: Ghana

Creators: Challenging Heights, John Schaidler, Setor Fiadzigbey & Kwabena Ofei

Writing: Kobe Ofei

Art: Setor Fiadzigbey

Additional Art: Alfred Achiampong & Kofi Ofosu

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: John Schaidler (for Full Circle Publishing)

Likies ❤️

Anima looking Up at kyei in lake of tears

Kofi:

The first panel that dazzled me was the melancholic dive by the Yeji boys on the first page, the rest is a flow of panels in a rhythmic fashion that creates a feeling of immersion. Frankly, Lake of Tears delivers a strong audience involvement.

The writing is cinematic and catchy, fast paced when it needs to and slow to surreal accompanied with changing color tones.

The array of characters have true sentiments which can be felt by the work of the triple combo squad. Setor, Alfred and Kofi. Whose crude feel but beautifully monstrous brush strokes and lines could easily nudge any reader to connect with the emotions lifting of the pages.

I read Lake of Tears as it was released in parts, so I tend to appreciate it in parts. My favorite is Ghost in the Shell (One Badass flashback) ,followed by Unshackled Resolve (a captivating final stance in Rambo style, the real deal).

Kadi:

Setor Fiadzigbey’s art. I love that sketchy feeling he adds to his work. Those rough edges ground the story a little better for me. 

I like that the story was resolved, this arc anyway. I find that a lot of comics in Africa are stuck in the serial loop with updates far in between. At least with this, one part of the story has been concluded.

I love the subtlety in the story. Things aren’t Michael Bay over the top. There’s magic, and bad people, and all the social ills. But it’s not forced onto you. I love that the supernatural is as mysterious as it is in real life. Magic isn’t a defining trait of the story. Instead, the characters are front and centre. Additionally, I’m happy with how the comic while raising awareness to a dire situation, isn’t preach and pushing an agenda. It just humanists the characters first and puts me in their shoes. I love that. 

Above all, I love that this story brought awareness to something I had absolutely no idea about, despite growing up relatively closer to the problem than most people. Until Lake of Tears, I didn’t even know about child trafficking on our dear Lake Volta.

Urgh 💔

Suffocating child worker in LoT graphic novel

Kofi:

Damn! This is a Nommo Awards winner for godsakes. I can’t fault this graphic novel on any level. Comment if you think otherwise.

Kadi:

Master Otu from Lake of Tears
Master Otu

I would have loved to see a bit more of the villain. I would have loved to know a little about his background. I think that’s a great way for readers to start identifying potential traffickers. The story did that a little with the secondary protagonist and that was excellent. 

Infinity and Beyond 💫

Scene from LoT (Lake of Tears)

Kofi:

This will rather be my wish for Lake of Tears, that it’s turned into an animated flick with more details and awesome dramatic scenes. Panels in LoT could easily fall for key frames from a storyboard due for the big screen. It will be a thrilling experience to behold.

Also there could be some periodicals or possible character based journeys. Aya is now a self imposed vigilante and Anima is still in search of her Dad. There are lots of layers to this story, I would like a spinoff especially of Master Otu and how he became so vile.

Kadi:

I hope there’s an animated version of LoT. I would so love to see this comic in motion.


How to Read Lake of Tears

The first part of Lake of Tears is available free of charge. The continuation however for sale as part of the Kugali Anthology and also when you sign up for the Kugali Comic Club.