ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel


Updated on August 4, 2010

Lately, I've found myself drawn to comics depicting places and times that I am unfamiliar with but curious about. "Aya," written by Cote D'Ivorian writer Marguerite Abouet and drawn by French artist Clement Oubrerie, is a perfect example of this, depicting life in the working class suburb of  Yopougan (or Yop City) in the late 1970s when Cote D'Ivoire was one of the most prosperous countries in Africa. 

The comic revolves around Aya, a responsible young woman who wants to study hard and become a doctor eventually. Her two best friends Adjoa and Bintou, however, are more interested in partying and dancing with boys instead. Aya's father works for an industrialist named Mr. Sissoko, the owner of Solibra, a popular beer company, and is enjoying this time of great prosperity and opportunity for his country. Mr. Sissoko's son, Mousa, likes slumming in Yop City, and is courting both Bintou and Adjoa. A shy cousin of Bintou, Herve, has been instructed by her father to watch her to keep her out of trouble. And finally, there is Mamadou, a handsome young man who just seems to be everywhere either Adjoa or Bintou happen to be.

Given that the book is named after her, Aya strangely barely appears in the story. She's just there to tell the story of the less responsible individuals around her. This is much more the story of Adjoa and Bintou, and the unknowing love triangle they fall into with Mousa (as well as with the irrestible Mamadou). And it is a very interesting and satisfying story, very much an African tale and not a European. It is funny and absurd, and is full of open air restaurants, dancing, and the "Thousand Star Hotel," an open expanse of a marketplace at mighttime where lovers come to be alone. It is a story both different from the romantic comedies I was used to and very much true to its time: i could easily believe that situations similar to this happened to Marguerite Abouet in her youth. 

The drawing style by Clement Oubrerie was very nice, somewhat similar in style to Joan Sfar (which makes sense, as Sfar was apparently the editor of the French version), and it really helps evoke both the place and time in which it is set and the emotions of the characters within the story. Mr. Sissoko's immensity and shadowed eyes give him a threatening aura, while Aya's father is broad but with big eyes, making him seem friendly if a bit foolish. it really contributes to the storytelling incredibly well.

Included in the back of the comic is the "Ivorian Bonus," which includes a glossary of Ivorian slang, the meaning behind the colorful cloths worn by women throughout the story, and recipes for ginger juice and peanut sauce. All of these really helped to grasp the fine points of Ivorian culture and feel more immersed in the world of the comic.

All in all very good and well worth a read. Pick it up and check it out if you see it.   


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Ann Shriver 

      8 years ago

      Sounds VERY interesting! Remind me to read that.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)