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 Tatashe.
We hit something of a brick wall with our Squid Cow Digest of African comics last month. We’ve climbed over that now and we’re back to deliver a weekly dose of which comics you should be reading with our brief but candid thoughts. This week, we’re checking out the Tatashe comic by our dear Cassandra Mark and published by Comic Republic.
Tatashe follows an eponymous, female protagonist as she encounters friendship and adventure on the mysterious food planet “Almonia.” Watch as she faces mythological creatures and trials. Each more obscure than the last. Whether alone, with her pet baby dragon or with new friends, she explores this fantastical planet in the hopes of finding the magic of food, the mysterious kingdom of Eden and her long lost master.
The first installment introduced us to the food haven that is the Ewa Kingdom as well as a runaway princess who may or may not become Tatashe’s best friend.
We teamed up with Spark Magazine’s Twumasi Donkor for this Squid Cow. Check out our pidgin post for Spark Mag on top Ghanaian illustrators to follow on Instagram.
Important Info About Tatashe
Initial Release: December 19, 2018
Creator, Writing & Colors: Cassandra Mark
Art & Cover: Tobe Max Ezeogu
Colors: Cassandra Mark, Emmanuel Kayembe
Letters: Jedidah Orakpo, Eucharia Wanogho, Oz Ezeogu
Publisher: Comic Republic
Something I found interesting about Tatashe is the setting. It’s almost as if in another universe, Nigerians colonized the world. Even though we are in a fantasy world, there are certain details that remind you about Nigerian life.
I liked the characterization of the main character Tatashe. Her curiosity and innocence drives her. This trait makes her character relatable and tells us that she is going to get into a lot of trouble.
Tatashe is red hot like pepper, simple as that. But looking deeply, its actually a color feast, one that is easily brought to the fore by the author herself. Tobe Max’s lines play out perfectly with a profound effect of manga-inspired scenes.
Per my observation, there seems to be unique cameos from Naruto and the One Piece’s Luffy. The diction is laced with lots of food references. If not a pepper bomb then it’s rainbow corn.
I love everything about Tatashe. Firstly, the imaginativeness of this comic is astounding. There are all sorts of foods like rainbow corn, people are named after foods and there are even literal pepper bombs! Then there’s the architecture which make your mouth water.
Secondly, the art direction is brilliant and the colors, oh my, such a delicacy! The colors are as delicious as the food within the comic.
Thirdly, the costumes in Tatashe are fabulous. The fashion choices are bold, trendy and natural.
The fourth thing I love about this comic is all the references within it. It starts with homage to Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbor Totoro, and then continues with the anime and manga references that introduce Kenshin Himura, Naruto and Luffy. That’s followed up with other pop culture references such as the N.E.R.D band, Hero Kekere, Zangbetos and even Gmail, believe it or not.
Above all, Tatashe’s character is magnetic. She’s a selfless, happy-go-lucky person who talks too much. But, despite her talkativeness, is a delight to listen to because of how random she is. Her Pidgin is also yumy, like fresh out of the oven cookies. 😋
There’s more to say but I’ll save that for a later post.
It’s been nearly a year since Tatashe was first published and there’s been only one chapter. Where’s the rest of the story? That’s my only peeve. Fingers crossed there’ll be another chapter this holiday season. It’s only fitting after all, that’s when food is most abundant and this comic will be a great companion.
Infinity and Beyond 💫
Something I kept thinking about is how the princess knows so much about the market if she has been kept in the palace her whole life. There is so much mystery around the princess and her character that I want to find out.
Waiting for the next edition.
So, two things give me hope about this comic. Firstly, whenever a talkative adventurer and a runaway princess team up, the result is a must-read!
Secondly, believe me, a map preceding the start of a comic will definitely have a world of stories worthy of dramatic characters, intriguing environments and longevity.
The comic ends on something of a cliffhanger. Tatashe and her new friend have just escaped into a hideout. But this hideout may not be as it seems because the sign leading to it references a spooky Nigerian urban myth. I’m eager to see what happens in there.
I’m also looking forward to seeing more of this mysterious food world, as well as understanding the characters better. Also, I’m curious to know what the Mushroom Pits are; do you only eat mushrooms there? Then, I’m dying to know what rainbow corn tastes like.
How to Read Tatashe
Tatashe is available free of charge on this Comic Republic page. The comic is available in different file formats such as PDF, CBR and a web version. Click any of the buttons below to read it.
Some Incredible Tatashe Art
The secret to great storytelling is to show and not tell right? Below is a visual feast of some of our favorite pages.
About the Creator, Cassandra Mark
Cassandra Mark is an award-winning writer, comic book creator and anime enthusiast resident in Lagos, Nigeria. She is the author and creator of the hit comic Tatashe and has also lent her pen and colors to other Comic Republic titles like Hero Kekere.
She is also a concept artist, hardcore gaming junkie, and illustrator who enjoys gardening, Yoga, and dabbles in African spirituality. She’s also one of our cherished contributors at Squid Magazine. Read her posts here.