Is’Nana the Were-Spider #1: Forgotten Stories
Hello, my adoring fans! I’m Komics Fan Kat Fish, and I’m here to welcome you to the first installment of K.F. Kat Fish’s Reviews, where I’ll be telling it like it is about indie comics and more!
For this inaugural edition of my super-fancy column, I’m reviewing Is’Nana the Were-Spider #1: Forgotten Stories! This dark and delicious gem was written by Greg Anderson Elysée, pencilled and inked by Watler Ostlie, colored by Lee Milewski, and lettered by Joshua Corzine. It came out in 2016 from Webway Comics. And I’m reviewing it now! You’re welcome.
First things first, fabulous folks: Spiders are not K.F. Kat Fish’s favorite animals, okay? I’m glad there aren’t many of them that live underwater, because they make me feel weird when I look at them. I know some of you might feel the same way, so I thought I should tell you the truth: I feel a little better about spiders after reading Is’Nana. But—and this is a big but—there’s some pretty freakin’ creepy spider imagery in this book, so if you’re squicked out by that idea, you might want to skip this series.
Sunglasses-at-night cool. K.F. Kat Fish cool. No joke!
But! And this is also a big but! Even though I’m not usually a fan of spiders…Is’Nana is flippin’ cool as heck! Sunglasses-at-night cool. K.F. Kat Fish cool. No joke! This book makes you feel hip just for reading it! (Not that I ever don’t feel hip. But you get the point.) The storytelling is sleek and sophisticated—much like myself—and it goes deep into West African lore, the beauty of human connection…The book even talks about how stories make sense of who and what we are. I mean, is that some cool K.F. Kat Fish–level Big Picture Cool Stuff, or what?
So here are the basics: Is’Nana is the son of Anansi, the Akan god of stories and a trickster who takes the form of a spider. In a prologue to the main story (illustrated by Lee Milewski), we learn that Anansi was trapped in the human world. His gentlest son, Is’Nana (which, by the way, is “Anansi” spelled backwards—you’re welcome!), is sent from the Mother Kingdom to our world to rescue him by a powerful witch. But, when Is’Nana breaks through the barriers between worlds in a human form, he accidentally lets a few horrors in behind him. Is’Nana, being the stand-up guy that he is, pledges to make it right by defeating the horrors. And that’s where Forgotten Stories begins.
As he’s making his way through a contemporary cityscape with his father Anansi on his shoulder, Is’Nana learns that all existences are part of a great web of stories. And, seeing as he’s the son of the god of stories, he can see into different realities and places using his own webbing. It’s—um, how do I put this?—heckin’ cool.
Anyway, using his web ability, he and his dad and his sister, track down the first Horror—Osebo the leopard, who’s inhabiting the body of a middle-aged musician named Roger and using it to kill people! Not. Cool. When Is’Nana finds him, Osebo explains that he’s going to use Roger’s body to become a legend in this new realm. To no longer be forgotten. Which, I mean, honestly? I get it.
I’m legendary enough without the blood and gore!
Of course, I clearly am a legend in this realm, but it got me thinking—I wonder if I could inhabit someone’s body and become a legend in the human world, too. I’d be way better at it than Osebo, because I wouldn’t kill anybody to do it. I’m legendary enough without all the blood and gore! And it’d be way easier for me to climb into somebody’s mouth for the whole taking-over-their-body part of the process. Leopards are way big for that, and, like, gross.
Anyhoo, so Anansi tells Is’Nana to just kill this leopard-man thing, but Is’Nana is all, “Dad, I’m a pacifist.” That’s kind of weird, especially for a comic book character who can take the form of a horrific spider-human hybrid like Is’Nana. I mean, why not fight everybody when you’ve got eight legs, poison, and legions of little bebeh spooders to help you out of a tight spot? How cool is that?!
Buuuut Is’Nana is really not into fighting unless he has to, so he tricks Osebo into vacating Roger’s body. Which is good, because Roger seems like a nice guy.
“Stories. That’s all that is.”
So, hey, look. I am sick to death of seeing the same old superhero stories based on the same old legends and myths from the same old cultures. And even though Is’Nana the Were-Spider came out four years ago, I’m still heckin’ excited to see these West African stories get their own comics series! And it is a series—Is’Nana #2 and #3 are both out now, and an all-new Is’Nana story called Showtime is Kickstarting until September 30 at 7 AM Eastern! Back it now to preorder your copy! (I got a sneak peek at Showtime, because I’m a legend and a reviewer, NBD. I can tell you, it’s heckin’ fantastic. But that’s for another review at another time! Although I can tell you that, after reading it, I’m planning to become a famous breakdancer. You’ll get why when you go to the Kickstarter page.)
I think it’s flippin’ cool for more cultures’ tales to be told. Because, like Anansi says, “Stories. That’s all that is. Stories. It is what we are and will become.”
So, obviously, I really liked Forgotten Stories, the first Is’Nana comic. But there’s one big thing that could make it way better. I could be in it. I’m great at sitting on people’s shoulders and dispensing wisdom, so I could totally take Anansi’s place!
Look. I’m just saying, Greg Anderson Elysée—give me a call next time you’re writing an Is’Nana story! I’m available for a reference photo shoot anytime!
BTW, Walter Ostlie, who did the art for Is’nana The Were-Spider #1: Forgotten Stories, is an amazing artist! We were fortunate enough to have him illustrate an arc for our zombie apocalypse comedy, Mr. Guy: Zombie Hunter. Our Kickstarter for Mr. Guy was just successfully funded at 152 percent, bringing us to our 3rd stretch goal! Find out more about that at mrguycomic.com.