Since we’ve looked up to the skies above and felt the earth between our toes below, we’ve been fascinated with our beginnings, spinning tales of larger-than-life battles and derring-do that explain our place in the scheme of things. We imagine gods above and below, often with familiar human passions and motivators, whose actions decide the fate of humankind.

And, honestly, who doesn’t enjoy a primal yarn of violence, monster, and gods that sprawl across the face of the Earth? Fans of such stories themselves, Murewa Ayodele (I Am Iron Man) and Dotun Akande (Moon Knight: Black, White & Blood) are delving into that tradition with their miniseries AKOGUN: BRUTALIZER OF GODS, debuting this April from Oni Press. In AKOGUN: BRUTALIZER OF GODS, Ayodele and Akande explore and pull from Nigeria’s Yoruba mythological tradition to follow a warrior deity and his exploits across an Africa in its primordial era. This is clearly a labor of love for the pair and, if the preview pages are any indication, fans of mythology are in for quite the adventure.

We spoke with Murewa Ayodele recently about the idea behind AKOGUN: BRUTALIZER OF GODS, the Yoruba mythology upon which the book pulls inspiration, why we’re attracted to mythological tales, and what’s next for Akogun.


AKOGUN: BRUTALIZER OF GODS #1 Dotun Akande Main Cover


FreakSugar: For readers considering picking up the comic, what is the conceit of AKOGUN: BRUTALIZER OF GODS?

Murewa Ayodele: Sword and sorcery, epic, and cosmic Fantasy; AKOGUN: BRUTALIZER OF GODS is the battle cry for those who seek a sharper edge and are burdened with the flames of primal savagery that demand to be fed.

AKOGUN: BRUTALIZER OF GODS is the story of a monster hunter who has lost everything he holds dear. With his broken blade in hand, a thirst for vengeance, and blood-soaked fists, he hunts for new prey… gods.

FS: The name of the comic is enough to hook any reader. What can you tell us about Akogun and the cast we meet?

MA: As Robert E. Howard once said, “…not all men seek rest and peace; some are born with the spirit of the storm in their blood, restless harbingers of violence and bloodshed, knowing no other path….”

Men like Akogun are best left alone. But when you’re a god, that’s not a rule, that’s not a suggestion. It’s a challenge. AKOGUN: BRUTALIZER OF GODS starts the story of how these immortal egomaniacs respond to that challenge. Akogun and the cast you’ll get to meet are characters who will never back down without a fight… and fight they shall as their paths cross in spectacular bursts of brutality.


AKOGUN: BRUTALIZER OF GODS #1 Grey Williamson Variant Cover


FS: From reading what you have to say about the comic, you seem very excited to delve into Yoruba mythology. What is it about Yoruba mythology that appeals to you?

MA: I’ve always loved fantasy stories of all shapes and sizes. I particularly enjoyed anything that featured Greek mythology to any degree. I guzzled down movies, comics, cartoons, and any entry in Microsoft Encarta that featured Greek mythology. I even once wrote a spec script for a Jason and the Argonauts movie adaptation as a kid. My aunt read the script and I think she was worried I was going to grow up a perv because I was writing steamy sex scenes between famous Greek figures before I was even thirteen.

As I grew much older, I began to dig into more mythologies like the Norse and the Yoruba myths. Yoruba myths quickly became my favorite. The Orishas (Yoruba gods) are deeply flawed in scary ways that you would not look down on humans for their flaws anymore. Yet, they show immense strength of character and supernatural powers in the face of great adversity to a level that you would understand why these gods are still being worshipped to this day.

Dotun (co-creator and artist of the series) and I are both Yoruba. So, we share this huge burden to explore this wonderful mythology – telling stories that are unmistakably African.

FS: Following up on that, why do you think we keep getting drawn to these larger-than-life mythologies? What does it say about us?

MA: I think this applies to both classic myths (Yoruba, Norse, Greek, etc.) and modern myths (superheroes, etc.); people tend to judge them rather poorly as mere power fantasies. But I think many of them are cautionary tales under the guise of swashbuckling adventures. People with extraordinary power who choose to fight the injustices of this world, often face nightmarish challenges and temptations.

Like Friedrich Nietzsche said, “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”

Every human wants power – the power of wealth, words, status, competency, beauty, etc. Many never get it. But there is a seduction to finding out what happens next if that desire is ever met. And the answer is hardly ever a good one.


AKOGUN: BRUTALIZER OF GODS #1 David Mack Variant Cover


FS: Without giving anything away, what’s been your favorite part of tackling the book so far?

MA: My favorite part is getting to work with the people we’ve been able to work with because of this book. The African Dark Fantasy features some of the best artists and illustrators on the African continent providing variant covers, an Eisner-nominated writer being our series editor, and other remarkable collaborators like letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, colorist Dee Cunniffe, and artist Dotun Akande. I suspect this is how great tales are told.

FS: Further, it seems like the collaboration between you and Dotun Akande is filled with joy. What is your creative process like?

MA: Dotun is my best friend and we’ve been best friends since university days. So, ninety percent of our collaboration consists of fun banters about comics, movies, and life in general over hour-long phone calls.

Our creative process ends up being whatever the book, chapter, or scene needs it to be. After so many discussions and back-and-forths, every project eventually becomes a brainchild of the both of us in ways that are difficult to describe. At the same time, we try to keep secret elements of the story from each other to maintain an element of mystery to be discovered in future issues. I recently just discovered one and Dotun laughed so hard that it took me so long to discover what he was concocting in the background. So once an issue is completed, I run over to read it like it was a comic book put together by my favorite creators. I am sure you would too.


AKOGUN: BRUTALIZER OF GODS #1 Ramon Villalobos Variant Cover


FS: Do you have any other projects down the line you would like to talk about?

MA: For now, all Dotun and I have planned, is working on more AKOGUN stories. We’ve fallen in love with the world and characters so much, that we are already working on an outline for a sequel series.

FS: If you had one final pitch for the book, what would it be?

MA: What if I stopped telling you about the book, and I just simply showed you some of the cool stuff from the book?  😉



AKOGUN: BRUTALIZER OF GODS #1 goes on sale April 3, 2024, from Oni Press.

From the official press release about the comic:

Oni Press, the multiple Eisner and Harvey award-winning publisher of best-selling comic books and graphic novels, is proud to reveal the first look at the stunning interior art from AKOGUN: BRUTALIZER OF GODS #1 (of 3) – the 40-page, prestige format epic from superstars-in-the-making Murewa Ayodele (I Am Iron Man) and Dotun Akande (Moon Knight: Black, White & Blood) debuting in comic shops everywhere this April!

In an age thought forgotten . . . when man, monster, and the divine all strode the Earth . . . a lone warrior emerges to test the immortality of the cruel gods who would deal destruction with impunity . . . He is a one-man reckoning that stands in defiance of his divine masters with a sword in hand and a thirst for godblood. His name: AKỌGUN THE BRUTALIZER!

Told across three powerfully oversized, bi-monthly chapters, steady your mind and spirit for a glorious new comics milestone revealing the fabled origin and battle-tested fury of the new champion at the heart of a daring new redefinition of swords and sorcery!

“Every generation or so, a new opportunity presents itself to shatter, and then slowly rebuild, the foundations of the mythic genre tropes that we hold dear and, in so doing, make them stronger than ever before. What Murewa and Dotun are creating with AKOGUN is one of those rare, special moments,” said Hunter Gorinson, President & Publisher of Oni Press. “For the first time, two Nigerian creators are recasting the distinctly Westernized mode of no-holds-barred barbarian-driven sword and sorcery storytelling through a distinctly African lens – capturing an entirely new pantheon of gods and monsters in the process.”

“According to Yoruba mythology, we were all made by a drunk god, and during one of his drunken stupor, he made horrific monsters also. The first of the gods to visit this new, twisted world was the erratic god of war,” said writer Murewa Ayodele. “When we discovered this little bit of our culture’s mythology, we knew we wanted to tell a gritty fantastical story set in this primordial African world — a world of barbarous violence, monstrous creatures, and gods who give in to primal, destructive urges.”

AKOGUN: BRUTALIZER OF GODS is the story of a warrior who happened to have found a little happiness in this dangerous world of ours. But when the gods took that happiness from him, they find out what a man who has nothing else to lose is truly capable of,” continued Ayodele. “Dotun and I are having loads of fun telling this adrenaline-filled tale. And with Dotun’s phenomenal artwork, the emotions from the pages drag you in. We are positive everyone who picks up the book is going to have fun with it too.”

“I can’t wait for fans of the medium to have this book in their hands. It’s dark fantasy from dark fantasy lovers. It is African folklore like never seen or heard before. Murewa, a true cartographer, has mapped out an exciting journey full of twists and character. It’s been a joy co-directing and giving life to it. So, grab your pitchforks and torches. You’ll need it for this monster of a tale,” added artist Dotun Akande.

In the tradition of Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s Thor, and the best-selling God of War franchise, writer Murewa Ayodele and artist Dotun Akande usher in a new epoch of African dark fantasy on the ancient continent of Alkebulan with a mythic cycle of cosmic destiny and unrelenting warfare colliding man against god . . . and blade against blade!  Featuring covers by Dotun Akande (I Am Iron Man), Ramon Villalobos (Nighthawk, America), Grey Williamson (X-O Manowar), and Eisner Award winner David Mack (Daredevil), the first double-sized gauntlet of mythic combat will be thrown this April in AKOGUN: BRUTALIZER OF GODS #1!

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