Some of my favorite comic book runs have been ones that I can connect with on a personal level. Chris Claremont’s run on the Uncanny X-Men, for example, dealt with civil and human rights and celebrating differences that – together – make us stronger as a team and as a whole. I could relate to this as a young reader growing up with the characters. I can relate to Peter Parker and his struggle with having to live with bad decisions that inform and resonate long after the immediate aftereffects have subsided. The deeper themes and relatable social commentary that run through certain books – whether in undertones or more overtly – make them iconic and relevant and memorable. It makes them valuable in more ways than simple supply and demand economics tells the market current dollar amounts should be. I found a book recently that tackles an important social issue and had the opportunity to sit down with the creative team for a conversation and – quite frankly – a rather nice and fun conversation.
Larry Higgins and Steve Beaulieu are the creators of the comic book Nyobi. The main protagonist of Nyobi is the teleporting J-Pop star Nyobi Lee. Nyobi Lee was created by Larry Higgins decades ago and arose from his times playing Palladium’s Heroes Unlimited. It was not until recently that Larry found his partner and creative compliment, artist Steve Beaulieu. Hailing from Canada, they live six hours from each other yet still find a way to work cohesively and efficiently thanks to the internet.
It was also the internet that gave rise to the book itself; Higgin’s brought his project to life via a Kickstarter campaign. In our YouTube conversation, Higgins and Beaulieu discuss having a project on Kickstarter, the life of independent comic book creators as well as the decisions and logistics behind a self-published book.
We talked about the print runs and the sharing of information by way of the internet and how our modern technological era makes this possible for not only them but countless other creator-owned, independent, small press titles. They are currently working on the third issue of Nyobi and have projected at least twelve issues but Larry tells me he will keep making Nyobi as long as he is able and as long as people are enjoying the book.
In the first issue, there are two important social issues tackled, that is of depression and of gender equality. From their Kickstarter; “”For I stand for something that you will never know, a world of equality for every girl” The book starts off with a student named Lucas who doesn’t feel accepted and is an outcast. He is harassed and bullied by his peers and is utterly depressed. To tackle a sensitive subject like depression in a comic book can be capricious and complicated but done right will speak to many people as did Uncanny X-Men that I mentioned before.
Nyobi herself makes a strong appearance in the books and is beautifully drawn by Beaulieu who came on board beginning with issue #2. Nyobi Lee has her own struggles with which she has to deal and learning about her powers and weighing where and how she can use the. Nyobi does this right and puts the focus on Lucas instead of Nyobi Lee.
The subjects approached, the story itself and the artwork all come together to create a beautifully executed book. If you enjoy comic books that are not necessarily the classic, overly-pervasive trope then this is a book most definitely worth reading.
Find Larry, Steve and Nyobi online:
Find NYOBI on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NyobiLee1/
Find NYOBI and Larry on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTY2xGOFWnq1nd0RSzep7tw
To find Steve, visit Facebook:
Look for Nyobi on Kickstarter: