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Link Love: Willem Samuel’s Graphic Novel Mengelmoes 1: The Schoolboy Soon To Be Released in the UK

Artist Willem Samuel’s first graphic novel, Mengelmoes, loosely based on his own life growing up as a teenager in the 1990s in South Africa, is set to be published in six parts in the UK.

Typical teenage experiences like secretly smoking at school, being bored by the principal’s speech at assembly and dealing with the “chop” in your class who listens to 2Pac, are mixed in the comic with explosions, shootings, an appearance by Judge Dredd, a talking mantis and other extraordinary events. The first 50 page issue, “The Schoolboy”, set in 1994, will be released by Soaring Penguin Press in February next year.

Samuel has shared an extract from the graphic novel with Books LIVE, in which his mother (who you might recognise as the poet Antjie Krog) finds his stash of porno magazines.

About the book

When you’re a teenager, life can seem a bit random.

When you’re a white teenager, growing up in post-apartheid South Africa, the term you’d use is Mengelmoes: a mishmash. A casual and caustic chopping-up-and-changing of the rules that you were only just starting too get a handle on.

To try and make sense of a world in flux, Willem Samuel would draw stories as they occurred to him whether the mundane (math class), the fantastical (a sermon turned zombie attack) or the tragic (Mom finding your porn stash).

Volume One starts with Willem at age 14 and follows his journey through a documentary-style comic, as he takes on different guises as a young Afrikaner, as he learns to shape-shift from guilty boy to superhero, from devil to saint, from a rock god into an ageing mortal nobody.

This is Mengelmoes, a six-part series covering Willem’s life in South Africa from 1994 to 2011, from a boy in middle school too a young, married professional. The first issue, The Schoolboy – taking place in 1994, the year apartheid ending and Nelson Mandela was elected – is out in February 2014.

Soaring Penguin Press will also be offering a subscription service: the complete 6-issue run for £23.50 including p&p (UK) or $33.50 (US and Canada); (elsewhere, add £5).

About the author

Willem Samuel was born in South Africa and grew up in Cape Town in a very creative family atmosphere. While studying Fine Arts at Stellenbosch, he got his comic work published in the controversial Bitterkomix, South Africa’s chief underground comic publication. After 7 years of working at a local animation and comic studio, an opportunity allowed him to move to London. Using material spanning over 15 years, Willem is currently composing an in depth story of his life in South Africa, while being wonderfully supported by an adoring wife.


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