ComicBuzz Chats With Murewa Ayodele and Dotun Akande

With the release of Akogun: Brutalizer of Gods #1 from Oni Press today, we are delighted to be joined by writer Murewa Ayodele and artist Dotun Akande. They both have worked on many comics; Murewa has written New Men, I Am Iron Man, and Grandfather Was A God and Dotun art can be seen in I Am Iron Man, Black Panther, and Grandfather Was A God.


Hi, Murewa and Dotun; it’s so wonderful to have both of you here with us.

Murewa: It’s our pleasure.

Dotun: It’s wonderful to be here too. Thank you.


Could you please introduce yourselves to our readers?

Murewa: My name is Murewa Ayodele. I’m a comic book writer from Nigeria. Alongside Dotun Akande, my awesome best friend and creative partner, I’ve worked in the Nigerian comic book industry since 2017 and broke into the American comic book industry in 2020 with Action Lab’s New Men. I’ve worked on webcomics like My Grandfather Was A God, and comics like Marvel’s I Am Iron Man. Dotun and I are currently working on Akogun: Brutalizer of Gods over at Oni Press.

Dotun: Hey there, I’m Dotun Akande, an artist, visual storyteller, and self-proclaimed professional perfectionist and over-thinker extraordinaire. Chances are you’ve stumbled upon some of my work—with my creative partner and best friend, Murewa— in Marvel classics like I AM IRON MAN, VENGEANCE OF THE MOON KNIGHT, BLACK PANTHER, MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR, and X-MEN’s HEROES OF APOCALYPSE, among other adventures. Oh, and I may have casually doodled, nothing serious(lol), on the Nommo-nominated series NEW MEN and the webcomic MY GRANDFATHER WAS A GOD. :)


Could you tell us about the origins of Akogun: Brutalizer of Gods?

Murewa: Oni Press reached out to us about the possibility of working on a Sword and Sorcery comic book series with them. It’s supposed to be in oversized format with premium quality paper. You know… the fun stuff. We couldn’t pass on the offer. We went straight to our drawing boards – and dug deep into our Yoruba mythology influences and the Genndy Tartakovsky storytelling we love so much. By the end of the process, Akogun was born.


How would you describe Akogun: Brutalizer of Gods?

Murewa: It’s an adrenaline-filled action-adventure tale that features brutal struggles between man and nature like in Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal. It’s set in a rich world like J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, whilst telling an African dark fantasy tale that is very Yoruba. All these elements boil into an epic saga that follows a hunter and his vengeful quest against the gods.


Murewa, when were you first introduced to Yoruba mythology?

Murewa: I’m not quite sure. I’m Yoruba, so Yoruba Mythology has been a part of my everyday life for as long as I can remember. If someone dies by lightning, everyone simply says, Sango, the god of lightning, smote the person in fury. You watch Nigerian movies and you get a taste of the mythology as well. In school, we are taught many of the Yoruba legends and the literature that feature them. I grew up in Osun State, a state literally named after a goddess. Every year, there is a big celebration of this goddess where worshippers from all over the world come to experience. Sometimes, I take a walk and just find ritual sacrifices on my route. So, the “mythology” is and has always been all around me.



Who is Akogun?

Murewa: He is a strong silent type with a tranquil soul like Samurai Jack. Yet, for the honor of his people, he is capable of going berserk like Kratos from God of War. He is a hunter. He is a cartographer. He is a man of peace who has to choose the way of war to survive in his dangerous world. As a hunter, he doesn’t fight so boldly like Conan the Barbarian. He fights in the shadows more like a savage Batman that… well, you know… kills.

Dotun: Akogun is a vengeful hunter and skilled cartographer who exemplifies qualities such as stoicism, duty, competence, and a reserved demeanor. Raised from a young age in the ways of combat and survival, Akogun possesses the courage and skill necessary to confront even gods.


How did Oni Press get involved with Akogun: Brutalizer of Gods?

Murewa: Hunter Gorinson, president and publisher of Oni Press, read our I Am Iron Man comics. He loved it so much he wanted to work with us on a project, so he reached out to us through our agent. We are super grateful for the faith that Hunter and the Oni Press team have in us as creators and in Akogun: Brutalizer of Gods.



Dotun, the series is filled with many monsters; do you enjoy creating and illustrating monsters?

Dotun: Oh, it’s so much fun! Especially when Murewa and I brainstorm together. Creating monsters gives me the freedom to unleash my creative imagination. I get to explore ideas outside my usual scope, delving into the unconventional, the bizarre, and the creepy. It’s an exciting experience that brings out the playful, imaginative side and makes you feel like a kid again with all the crazy ideas mum mustn’t see. The excitement and thrill of it all are truly cathartic, fostering even more creativity in the process.


Murewa, could you tell us a bit about the world that Akogun: Brutalizer of Gods is set in?

Murewa: According to Yoruba myths, our creator was a drunk god. And according to our comic book series, the first thing this drunk god made… were monsters. The world of Akogun is a primordial African world that spans the golden cosmic home of the gods and the grimy savannah on the Earth below that’s populated by humans and deadly creatures. It’s African Hyborian Age meets Mount Olympus.



What has it been like working with Oni Press?

Murewa: Phenomenal. This is what creator-owned comic book experience should be. We were able to fully express our storytelling capabilities – quirks and all. We were able to bring several other African artists we adore to put together great variant covers for the series. We are all putting in everything to make sure this series is awesome.

Dotun: “Phenomenal” is right.


Dotun, how long did it take you to complete the art for the first issue?

Dotun: I’m not entirely certain about the exact duration spent on the first issue of this story. This uncertainty stems from the fact that, apart from a few delays, work on concept arts, character designs, world-building, and so on had already commenced in the background between Murewa and myself around late October of 2023. Additionally, during the production of this issue, I was also engaged in another Marvel project. Typically, I don’t focus solely on one project at a time. To give you an idea of the timeline involved, I typically work for about 10-12 hours daily, excluding Sundays, and aim to complete 3 pages per week.



How did Dee Cunniffe and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou join the team?

Murewa: Dotun and I worked with Dee Cunniffe on a Wakanda story for Marvel Comics. Oni Press saw how well Dee’s colors popped on that story that they wanted to capture that magic again on Akogun. We are grateful every day that they made the call.

We have never worked with Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, but we love his YouTube Channel, Strip Panel Naked. It was very instrumental when we were learning how to make comics or our own. We are also familiar with his work with fellow African creator, Juni Ba. And we completely adored his lettering on Beneath the Trees Where Nobody Sees. With those credentials, it was an honor to have him join the team.


Dotun, the first issue is action-packed and has a number of fight scenes; was it a challenge to make the fight scenes look authentic?

Dotun: Haha, I really love that you mentioned the word “authentic” because it was a thrilling challenge for me! And it’s a challenge I always look forward to tackling. One particular aspect of directing fight scenes that I ponder over is finding the right balance between creating an extra dynamic feel with unconventional or intriguing camera angles, akin to shots captured by a drone, and maintaining a sense of authenticity and realism as if witnessed live by a real person. Apart from emphasizing visual storytelling, it can be quite a dilemma at times to decide which style to employ in order to give these special moments some zhuzh.


The series is presented in prestige format; how did that come about?

Murewa: That was one of the very first things publisher, Hunter Gorinson, told us about the project that convinced us to come on board the Oni Press train.


Murewa, how long have you been working on Akogun: Brutalizer of Gods?

Murewa: Dotun and I put a series proposal together for Oni Press around October 2023, but the idea of a god-killer story has been with us since 2018.


Any message for the ComicBuzz readers?

Murewa: Give Akogun: Brutalizer of Gods a try. It’s loads of fun. We’ve mapped out a wild and intriguing story. Follow us on this journey.

Here is a trailer for your viewing pleasure

We want to say thank you to Murewa and Dotun for chatting with us and wish them and the team for Akogun: Brutalizer of Gods the best of luck with the series.

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