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Daniel Browde and Josh Ryba Discuss Their Graphic Novel Rebirth Which Features Jan van Riebeeck as a Vampire

RebirthGerdus Senekal from LitNet caught up with Daniel Browde and Josh Ryba, respectively the writer and the illustrator of Rebirth, to find out more about this graphic novel.

They discussed the Johannebsurg launch of Rebirth, with Browde saying that the amount of people that bought their book, “kind of endorsed a hunch that Josh and I had sometimes had, that we were making something really new, something that people in Joburg and South Africa would respond to: a fundamentally South African story told in a fresh and vivid style.”

Ryba and Browde then spoke about how the project changed since they started conceptualising it in 2008 and discussed the meanings behind the title. Senekal asked them about the importance of the alternative history that they created, in which Jan van Riebeeck is a vampire, and Browde said that it “is not intended to be a kind of simplistic diatribe against colonialism, and I think readers of the book will see that we haven’t painted a simple picture of ‘evil’ settlers vs ‘good’ first peoples.”

Hey guys, congrats on the completion of REBIRTH! How did the Joburg launch on February 8 go?

Josh: Hi Gerdus. Thanks for the congrats. We’re really happy ourselves to have finished this. There were definitely a couple of times over the past few years where we thought we’d never reach the end, whatever the end was going to look like. It felt kind of overwhelming sometimes.

I think this was also because neither of us had ever done anything like this before, so we had no standard to measure against, no idea of how far we had to go, except for our own sense of what we wanted it to be – visually, storywise, everything. It was a battle against ourselves and our own measure of artistic value.

In this video uploaded by Richard Aaron, Browde and Ryba speak about why they decided to write a graphic novel set in South Africa:

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Image courtesy LitNet


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