The Afrofuturistic Fantasy Comic I’ve Always Wanted: ‘Djeliya’ Reviewed

by Tito W. James


Djeliya blends West African folklore, Cartoon Network shows, Manga, and Franco-Belgian comics into a colorful fantasy epic.

Fans of Head Lopper and Samurai Jack will love it!


Djeliya is a fantasy epic inspired by West African folklore that follows Prince Monsour and his royal storyteller Awa as they journey to the mysterious tower guarded by the wizard Soumaoro.

Written and illustrated by Juni Ba, Djeliya has a handcrafted feel, where everything from the word balloons to the panel placement is purposeful. There’s excellent cartooning on every page, with characters’ expressions and affectations doing half of the storytelling.

Juni Ba takes the best visual elements of 2000s era Cartoon Network shows, Manga, and Franco-Belgian comics and weaves them into something totally new. Djeliya, like all the best adventure stories, has something exciting for readers of any age. The Afrofuturistic fantasy elements place the world and characters permanently “out of time,” so the story feels eternally classic.

Djeliya is the type of comic I would have loved to have had growing up. There’s bombastic action, mythological monsters, cartoony humor, creative paneling, and thought-provoking ideas. Djeliya is a bold debut for creator Juni Ba and exciting new territory for the new generation of comic creators.

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