Production has begun on “Lion of Judah,” an epic, groundbreaking, seven-issue graphic novel series that chronicles the African Diaspora’s last 150 years, from the Solomonic Dynasty in Ethiopia/Africa, through the reign of H.I.M. Haile Selassie I (Ras Tafari Makonnen), as well as an intrinsic examination of the African struggle for independence, The Cold War and its impact upon the African Diaspora globally.
The intersectional story arcs also highlight the historical, musical and political contributions of Bob Marley, The Wailers and other musical and historical figures whose work was inspired by and directly or indirectly impacted by the movements.
Masterfully scripted by M. Menelik Makhar, this wide-ranging narrative spans the globe and fully encompasses the evolutionary history of Reggae from Kumina, Mento, Ska, and Rock Steady, on to Rockers, Dub and Dancehall Music from a unique perspective.
Bob Marley’s daughter, Cedella, Larry Mestel, CEO of Primary Wave Music, and the Creative Principals—the trio of Makhar, Radio Legend/ Afro-Musicologist Dermot Hussey, O.D., and Glyph-Award-winning veteran illustrator Robert Roach—are banding together to bring this narrative to life.
Mestel and Primary Wave are the majority license-holders of the esteemed Blue Mountain Music Library Catalog, which features Bob Marley, Black Uhuru, Steel Pulse, Toots & The Maytals, Burning Spear, The Congos, and many other reggae giants.
Makhar has spent the last seven years researching these cultural icons and the history comprising this compelling series—with a story that breaks all boundaries. “I am honored; feeling humbled, blessed, and highly favored at being given the opportunity to be able to bring this story to fruition. However, without Cedella’s unwavering support, ‘Lion of Judah’ would simply have remained just a great idea.”
Once Makhar’s path overlapped with Cedella’s and he convinced her of his seriousness, Makhar and Marley then worked together to find the right home for “Lion of Judah.” When asked what drew her to the project, Cedella says, “About 11 years ago, my family and I embarked on a journey which took us to Ethiopia to make a concert film, (2008’s “Africa Unite,” the title derived from a song off of Marley’s 1979 opus, “Survival”). But this turned out to be so much more: a symposium, a revisitation of the goals and ideals of the OAU (Organization Of African Unity, the predecessor of the African Union) and the life and works of H.I.M. Haile Selassie I, who, of course, was one of my Father’s most palpable inspirations. When Menelik brought this project to me, I was intrigued at the prospect to be a part of another galvanizing cultural moment, as well as to reopen that dialogue and progressive action that began with “Africa Unite.”
Makhar says, “In addition to Cedella, it was Primary Wave’s visionary spirit which really helped to bring the project together. From our first communication to pitching… I mean
I’m standing in a room with Larry Mestel, the guy that’s partners with not only Bob Marley and Blue Mountain, but Smokey Robinson, Count Basie—I mean just a long line of legends. He seemed to see its potential instantaneously, he… ‘got it’ right away. It was clear that we’d knocked on the right door.
Samantha Rhulen of Primary Wave adds, “From the very beginning, Roach, Hussey, and Makhar have put together a project that’s completely outside of the box of what you’d expect from the typical comic/graphic novel. With LOJ, they’ve built-in multiple conceptual and technological additions that are right in step with the growing trend of merging and cross-marketing different creative industries. In short, get ready for something really special.”
“Lion of Judah’s” seven-issue run, 50 pages each in full color, is slated for arrival Fall 2019. See some of the developing artwork for “Lion Of Judah” in the Gallery Below. All rights reserved.