British independent publisher Soaring Penguin Press launches a new series this month: Mengelmoes, by South African-born creator Willem Samuel, a comic diary that takes you into the most life-changing period of South Africa.
Soaring Penguin have kindly sent us a preview copy, and it looks fantastic – a funny, beautifully executed ‘coming of age’ tale, interspersed with fantasy moments (including an unexpected appearance from a certain well-known Mega City lawman). Willem previously published some preview pages online and we’ve reproduced the opening scenes below.
As for the story… well, when you’re a teenager, life can seem a bit random.
When you’re a white teenager, growing up in post-apartheid South Africa, the term you’d use is Mengelmoes: a mishmash. A casual and caustic chopping-up-and-changing of the rules that you were only just starting to get a handle on.
To try and make sense of a world in flux, Willem Samuel would draw stories as they occurred to him whether the mundane (math class), the fantastical (a sermon turned zombie attack) or the tragic (Mom finding your porn stash).
This is Mengelmoes, a six-part series covering Willem’s life in South Africa from 1994 to 2011, from a boy in middle school to a young, married professional. The first issue, The Schoolboy – taking place in 1994, the year apartheid ending and Nelson Mandela was elected – is out in February 2014.
Out every two months in 2014, each issue follows his journey through a documentary-style comic, as he takes on different guises as a young Afrikaner: from guilty boy to superhero, from devil to saint, from a rock god into an ageing mortal nobody.
Willem Samuel was born in South Africa and grew up in Cape Town in a very creative family atmosphere. While studying Fine Arts at Stellenbosch, he got his comic work published in the controversial Bitterkomix, South Africa’s chief underground comic publication.
After seven years of working at a local animation and comic studio, an opportunity allowed him to move to London. Using material spanning over 15 years, Willem is currently composing an in depth story of his life in South Africa, while being wonderfully supported by an adoring wife.
Issue 1 – “The Schoolboy”
Price: £4.95 / $6.95
Publication Date: February 2014
Format: 54 Pages, B&W
UK: Diamond Order Code: FEB142667