What's New?

In April, 2016 this site was updated to include a visitation counter and two new buttons, namely: Graphic Novels and Graphic Novel Excerpts. Note also, that we are strongly contemplating converting this site into a Word Press format in 2017. If you prefer to have us leave the site design as is please let us know!

1. In 2008 DAN AIKI PUBLICATIONS initiated its production of black and white graphic novels with the publication of four books in the Adventures of Dan Aiki series. In August 2009 the remaining six books in the series were completed. These ten books were then combined into two volumes (ADA 1-5; and ADA 6-10). In 2010 a graphic novel based on stories appearing in the Adventures of Waburi series and two graphic novels dealing with Mouse Deer were published in color. For further information about these publications see the list of published titles on this site and their respective excerpts.

Note that within the next five years, Dan Aiki Publications plans to convert all of its remaining publications in verse (see listing below) into graphic novels. All the below texts have as their aim the propagation and popularization of the cultural and literary heritage of peoples of African, Dravidian, and Melanesian origins:

A. The Adventures of Waburi - A collection of seven story poems narrated by Waburi (a fictitious Melanesian guide) who takes the reader on a journey of discovery to Irian Jaya, Papua New Guinea, Torres Straight, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, and New Caledonia. A short introduction precedes each adventure-poem, providing the reader with cultural information as well as the source form which the narrative draws its inspiration. The themes of these narratives deal with: cannibalism, coconut getting, the “kula” trade, the coloration of birds, “black birding”, battles between totem gods, and an origin myth [Price: $7:00]. After having read these stories the reader is expected to concur with the adage that:

The most exciting tales e’er told,
On either land or sea,
Are those of a Melanesian youth
By the name of Waburi.

B. Adventures of Waburi II: Vanuatu - This book deals exclusively with Waburi’s adventures in Vanuatu, an archipelago with many ethnic groups and an equal number of languages. Vanuatu has a rich cultural patrimony with many interesting things to see and do. This volume presents some important mythic (Legend of the Creation, Legend of Separation of the Sun & Moon), philosophical (Origin of Death), religious (Legend of John From), etymological (Origin of Kava and Coconut) and historical (Blackbirding in Epi), aspects of Vanuatan culture as well as three fascinating recently lived-experiences (Encounters with Little People, The Forbidden Place, and Black Magic in Malekula) which though absolutely true, could just have easily been drawn from the realm of folklore. The book also contains a glossary describing the islands where the contents of these story-poems emerged with the hope of encouraging tourism to this truly fascinating country [Pice:$20 B&W, $30 (Color)].

C. The Pop Wuj in Verse: Book I – This 112-paged volume is a versification of the mythological portion of the Pop Wuj (Books I & II) along with a foreword, introduction, and conclusion which provide a great deal of contextual and interpretive information. It also has a comprehensive glossary and additional sections dealing with the “Tale within the Tale” and “Cosmic Interpretations.” A partial listing of the deeper meaning of characters and events as well as a short comparison of the Mayan myth with an Ancient Egyptian creation myth is also provided. The book is illustrated with 20 original drawings by two twin Mayan artists from Chichicastenango, Guatemala – the place where the original version was first discovered by a Spanish Friar [Price: $20 / $40].

D. Popol Wuj in Verse: Book II -  This 133-paged volume features a rhymed metric version of the historical portion of the Pop Wuj (i.e. Books III & IV) along with a foreword, introduction, and conclusion which provide a great deal of contextual and interpretive information. It also contains: a) an annotated prose summary of pre-Colombian K’iche’ history; b) a K’iche’ Sound System & Pronunciation Guide; c) a section dealing with possible relations between the Ancient Maya and Nubians; and d) a number of photos of the ruins of Q’u’markaj. The book has 15 original drawings made by twin Mayan artists from Chichicastenango, Guatemala – the place where the original version was first discovered by a Spanish Friar  and uses the new K’iche’ orthography [Price: $20 / $40 (Color)].

E. Tales of Zopilote – This 31-page collection of story-poems dealing with Zopilote (the buzzard) and other birds from Yucatan in Mexico presents six narratives, rendered in metric verse. Each of the tales conveys an important message revealing both negative (i.e. greed, jealousy, arrogance, ambition) and positive aspects (generosity) of human behavior. The tales, in effect, serve to make the reader aware of deceptive behavior in humans and/or give instructions on proper behavior [Price: $18 in color & $9 in B&W].

F. Saga of Shaka Zulu in Verse - recounts the birth, exploits, and death of the founder of the Zulu Nation, Shaka kaSenzangakhona kaJama kaNdaba, kaMageba, kaPhunga kaNtombela, kaZulu. Those who have read Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous Song of Hiawatha will immediately recognize the same verse form. Like the Song of Hiawatha, there are many violent passages in this work. This could not be avoided, however, since it is intended to depict a truthful account of a warrior king who usurped a chieftancy and turned it into the mightiest military state South Africa had ever known. In spite of the violent images, this saga, nevertheless, also contains much wisdom and quite a bit of morality [Price: $10.00].

G. Royal House of Zulu (Color) - The Royal House of Zulu presents the history, glory, trials and tribulations of the Zulu Nation from the time of Shaka, founder of the Imperial Zulu Nation, to the present. This beautifully illustrated presentation in verse contains four Books, namely: a) The Saga of Shaka; b) the Saga of Dingane; c) the Saga of Mpande and Cetshwayo; and d) the Drama of the Four Post Conquest Kings: Dinuzulu, Solomon, Cyprian, and Goodwill. All of the information presented herein is held to be truthful. Highlights include Shaka’s life and rise to power, his assassination at the hands of his two brothers and body servant; Dingane’s rule and death at the hands of the Swazi; Mpande’s long unhappy rule; Cetshwayo’s intrigues, victories, and eventual defeat at the hands of the British; the partition of Zululand into 13 chieftancies; Cethwayo’s return; Dinuzulu’s war against Zibhebhu;  the Bambhata Rebellion; the rise of Apartheid; Bantustanization, the dismantlement of the racist Republic of South Africa; and the present reality and hopes for the Zulu future [Price: $45].

H. Besouro Preto Mangangá – a short 5 page versification of the life and times of Manuel Henrique (better known as Besouro Preto) – a famous practitioner of the art of Capoeira - who has become immortalized in song. This poem is the first in a series of “songs” dealing with Black Heroes of American Diaspora to be entitled “At the Feet of the Ancestors” [Price: $3:00].

I. The Adventures of Dan Aiki Books 1-5 - is a series of didactic adventure poems about Dan Aiki, a courageous Hausa youth who, as he grows in age, overcomes many obstacles (both natural and supernatural) on his way to becoming a legend. The stories are written for children, but people of all ages will find them both enjoyable and instructive. In Book 1 Dan Aiki is chased away in his day dreams by small adversaries; but afterwards chases away a real lion using the tactics employed by his daydream adversaries; in Book 2, he hunts and kills a magnificent deer; in Book 3 he undergoes initiation and receives a magic charm; in Book 4 he matches his wits with a great sorcerer; and in Book V, he kills a shape-changing tunku. These stories, unlike books 6 -10 in the series, are suitable for pre-pubescent children. The Adventures of Dan Aiki series draws its inspiration from field-work the author conducted in Nigeria for his Ph.D. dissertation dealing with Hausa Combat literature. [Already Converted]

J. The Adventures of Dan Aiki Books 6 – 10  - This is the post-puberty continuation of the Adventures of Dan Aiki series. In Book VI Dan Aiki meets the “The Queen with Ten Vaginas”; in Book VII he marries a Fulani maiden; in Book VIII he forms an army; in Book IX the enemy army is described; and in Book X, he fights the “mother of all wars”. These stories, unlike books 1 -5, which were written for pre-pubescent children, contain a great deal of violence and some elements of sex. [Already Converted]

K. A Song of Praise to Hausa - An English verse translation of Alhaji Ibrahim Yaro’s “A Song of Praise to Hausa”, is a 44 stanza poem which exhorts the Hausa people to continue with their struggle so that their language will not suffer the fate of the countless other African tongues which have been abandoned or denigrated by the educated elite. In this poem, Alhaji urges scholars to publish books in Hausa arguing that the Hausa tongue is comparable to any and all of the international languages. Hausa currently has over 50,000,000 speakers and is the principal language of northern Nigeria, southern Niger, northern Cameroon, and eastern Ghana. There are also many Hausa speakers and communities that dwell in areas of Senegal in the west to the Republic of the Sudan in the east. [Price: $7.00];

L. Creation Stories in Rhymed Metric Verse: Book I -  The first in a series of books dealing with the creation written in rhymed metric verse, this 79-page volume presents the following eight narrative poems: 1) the K’iche’ Mayan origin story (Guatemala); 2) a Kanaka origin story (New Caledonia, Melanesia); 3) a Tanna origin story (Vanuatu, Melanesia), 4) an Ancient Egyptian origin story; 5) a Yoruba origin story (Nigeria); 6) the Judeo/Christian origin story; 7) an Aboriginal origin story (Australia); and 8) the Big Bang creation story [Price: $15 / $25 in color].

MIkotofetsy & Imahaka in Verse - Ikotofetsy and Imahaka are two famous tricksters from Madgascar, an island nation just off the coast of East Africa. The tales included in this book are still part of a living oral tradition and have amused Malagasy children and adults alike for many generations. They teach the reader (or listener) to be aware of deception. Seven of the original sixteen tales written down in the Malagasy language by Rabezandrina in 1836 have been translated into English and rendered in verse by the author, Edward L. Powe. This 25 page book contains beautiful color illustrations by Malagasy artist Ramiandrisoa Ratsivalaka Alban, the founder and president of Soimanga. [Price: $18.00 in color];

N. Tales of Mouse DeerThis 58-page book comprises a collection of story-poems (based on Indonesian Mouse Deer Fables) which retells some of the adventures of Mouse Deer with other denizens of the forest including Tiger, Crocodile, Elephant, Monkey, and Man. The Mouse Deer (i.e. the tiny chevrotain found in both tropical Asia and Africa) in Indonesia is known as Kancil. Mouse Deer (like “cunning little one”, “clever little one” and mouse deer in Madagascar) is a “trickster” who despite its small size manages through its cunning to survive in a world populated by creatures much larger than itself who wish to do it harm [Price: $10 B&W and $20 Color].

O. Black Lore of the African Indian Ocean – is the second in an innovative series of books written mostly in verse which aims to capture and display various aspects of the cultural heritage of peoples of African and Melanesian origin. This book consists of eight selections dealing with Madagascar, Comoro, the Seychelles, the Maldives, Rodrigues, Maurice, and Reunion. A short introductory paragraph precedes or follows providing the reader with cultural information as well as the source from which the narrative takes its inspiration. The themes of the narratives here deal with: Malagasy mermaids, Comorian sorcery, the Seychelles’ garden of Eden, the saga of Sangoaru (a Maldivian island chief of African origin), a Zilois song of Nostalgia, fish-thieving in Mauritius, a unsuccessful slave rebellion in Reunion, and biological warfare in southern Madagascar. [Price: $6.00 B & W; $18.00 in color].

2. Black Martial Arts Series - Black Martial Arts (BMA) is an open-ended series that attempts to identify and describe various manifestations of courage created by peoples of African, Melanesian, and/or Dravidian descent around the world. Presently the series consists of eight volumes, namely:

Combat Games of Northern Nigeria

BMA 1 (1994) is (with its 126 pages and 55 accompanying photographs) perhaps the most comprehensive work written on African Martial Arts to date. It introduces the reader to the traditional African games that give Northern Nigerian youth not only a sanctioned outlet for the aggressive tendencies inherent in man, but also the opportunity to demonstrate to friend and foe their courage and virility. The book (a companion volume to Hausa Combat Literature (for which see below), contains detailed descriptions of traditional boxing (dambe), hunting confrontations (farauta), wrestling (kokawa), wristlet fighting (shanchi), ritual flogging (shadi), and tough-skin competitions (tauri) each of which are discussed in separate chapters. It also contains an introduction which describes the setting in which these games may have originated, and a concluding chapter dealing with other lesser known Northern Nigerian games involving daring and risk-taking in competitions with men, beasts, and / or the elements of nature. Both color ($50) and black & white copies ($35) are available.

Combat Games of the African Indian Ocean

BMA 2 (2001) introduces the reader to those traditional combat games that give African Indian Ocean (AIO) youths not only a sanctioned outlet for the aggressive tendencies inherent in man, but also an opportunity to demonstrate to friend and foe their courage and virility. The book contains descriptions of the following competitions each of which involves daring and risk-taking in confrontations with either man, beast, or the elements of nature: 1) Moringue(kick boxing) from Reunion; 2) Morengy(kick-boxing), Doranga(boxing), Ringa(wrestling), Savika(bull riding), Halats’omby(cattle stealing), HARTEMA(a mixed genre combat), and other now extinct combat games such as Daka / Diamangafrom Madagascar; and 3) Mrengé(kick boxing), Hele(cliff diving), and Baholagnombé(bull fighting) from the Comoros. This volume, with its 283 pages and 231 accompanying photos, is the most comprehensive work ever written dealing with traditional martial arts in the AIO region. Price: $200.00 (with color photos) & $30.00 (black and white photos only).

Capoeira & Congo

BMA III-A (2002) describes Brazilian Capoeira in detail and then compares it with the Congo dance of Panama. In addition to providing summary answers to such basic questions as the “what, where, when, how, who & why” of each art, this 206-page volume with its over 200 accompanying photos includes additional information and photos dealing with the a) land, setting, and target populations; b) musical instruments; c) songs; d) weapons; e) apparel; f) physical movements; g) aims & strategies; and h) philosophy, secrets & symbols. The black and white version is priced at $30 and the color version goes for $90.

Danmyé / Ladjia / Ronpoin

BMA III-B (2003) deals with a danced martial art of African origin (somewhat similar to Capoeira) practiced in the Caribbean island of Martinique. In addition to providing summary answers to such basic questions as the “what, where, when, how, who & why” of the art, this 94-paged volume with its 30 accompanying photographs includes additional information dealing with the a) land, setting, and target population; b) musical instruments used; c) songs; d) weapons; e) apparel; f) physical movements; g) aims & strategies; and h) philosophy, secrets & symbols. The black and white version is priced at $20 and the color version goes for $50.

African Arts of Stick-fighting, Part I: Northern Nguni

BMA IV (2002) is divided into three parts, namely: Part I - which deals exclusively with the art of stick-fighting as practiced by the Zulu (of South Africa), the Swazi (of Swaziland), and the Ndebele (of Zimbabwe). Part I has 51 pages together with 30 photos of stick-fighting practitioners and postures. Part II (not yet published) will deal with the stick-fighting arts of the remainder of the eastern coast of the African continent (i.e. Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Southern Egypt, and Somalia); and Part III (also not yet published) will deal with other stick-fighting arts on the African continent (e.g. Xhosa, Lesotho, etc.). The price of Part I is $30 (color), $10 (black and white).

Dravidian Displays of Daring

BMA V (2005), the sixth book in the Black Martial Arts series, presents a 210-page “journey of discovery” to India and Mauritius to witness various manifestations of Tamil bravery in confrontations not only with other armed or un-armed men (silambam), but also with fire (theemithi), sword ladders (kathi poosai), fierce bulls (jalli kattu), oiled poles (kalugu maram yettum) and even the inner self (kavadee). Supported by over 175 recent color photographs taken by the author in late 2003 and early 2004, this is perhaps the most comprehensive publication ever written on the subject. In it, I discuss the aforementioned “deeds of daring” in detail and also include separate sections dealing with: 1) the Tamil people; 2) their origins, culture, and history, and 3) a justification for including both them and other Dravidian (Melano-Indian) peoples in the “Black Martial Artist” family. The journey is presented in the first person plural so that you, the reader, will feel that you are actually with the author as he discovers, step by step, the substance and intricacies of these marvelous manifestations of Tamil courage. Part II of this volume will deal with the “Dravidian Displays of Daring” of Kerala, Part III with those of Kanartaka, and Part IV with those of Andhra Pradesh. Both Color ($98) and Black & White ($32) copies available.

Hanuman’s Warriors

BMA VI (2006) - This 365 pg. volume, a sequel to my Dravidian Displays of Daring, comprises Book VI of the Black Martial Arts series. The first 60 pages of the book deals with Hanuman, the Hindu patron god of martial artists and gymnasts and the remaining pages present five Dravidian martial arts closely associated with the Monkey God and his descendants that are still practiced enthusiastically in Tamil Nadu and Southern Kerala, namely: 1) silambam; 2) southern kalarippayattu; 3) northern kalarippayattu; 4) mallar kambam; and 5) sadúgudu (kabbadi). The chapters dealing with silambam and mallar kambam are greatly expanded and updated treatments of what was presented in Book V and the material on Southern Kalari, Northern Kalari, and Kabbadi are completely new as are all the photos. This volume, with its 359 photos and optional DVD, is perhaps the most comprehensive presentation yet dealing with the Dravidian Martial Arts of Southern India. Price $35 (B&W) / $150 (Color photos).

Cosmic Combat Yoga: The Sixth Face of Hanuman

BMA VII - The preceding volume of the Black Martial Arts series dealt with Hanuman (the legendary Hindu Monkey God) and his warriors – that is, the practitioners of 5 Dravidian Martial Arts in Tamil Nadu and Southern Kerala, namely: silambam, murai adi, kalari, mallar kambam and sadúgudu. This volume, the eighth publication in the BMA series, deals with Cosmic Combat Yoga – a sixth art practiced by Hanuman and many of his adherents. The book, which contains 390 pages, 169 photos and an informative glossary with 64 entries, provides paths and techniques for the ultimate warrior in his battle to vanquish the formidable obstacles that separate him from divinity.

Another book of great import to those interested in Black Martial Arts is Dr. Powe’s Ph.D. dissertation entitled Hausa Combat Literature: An Exposition, Analysis, and Interpretation of its Form, Content and Effect which presents a discussion and analysis of Hausa Combat Literature (HCL) which he defines as “the aggregate of highly stylized linguistic behavior associated with the performance of such Hausa competitions as dambe(local boxing), shanci(wristlet fighting), and farauta(hunting)”.

For purposes of presentation, he divides the literature into three categories: take-takye (drummed literature), kirari (stylized boasting), and waka (song / chant), each of which is discussed in detail in separate chapters. A fourth chapter develops a theory of HCL which attempts to account for the form, content, and effect of the literature as a whole. The discussion and analysis is supplemented by a series of appendices containing hitherto unpublished materials from each of the three HCL categories.

The study hypothesizes that Hausa Combat Literature can be viewed as a product of verbal sympathetic magic (VSM), and that its form, content, and effect derives from a VSM stratagem, here called “iconic linkage”, which establishes linguistic (phonetic, syntactic, and semantic) parallelisms between two or more propositions in order to foster credible illusions.

The argument based on a systematic discussion and analysis of nearly sixty hours of combat literature which he collected in northern Nigeria, and on existing literature, maintains that take-takye are largely metonymic and that they correspond to the invocation of an individual chosen to undergo a transformation; kirari is characterized by metaphor and corresponds to the actual transformation process; and waka consists largely of a juxtaposition of metonymy and metaphor resulting in “myth”, the celebration of the transformation of an individual or entity into a cultural abstraction.

The study concludes with the suggestion that perhaps the hitherto mysterious and unexplained effects of poetry and song upon modern man may possibly be viewed as the subliminal survival of a former belief that reality could be shaped and influenced through the practice of sympathetic magic. Price: $150.00 (Hard Cover Grimm’s Bind).

Another series of books related to the Black Martial Arts (BMA) series is The Adventures of Dan Aiki which is based on the “Hausa Combat Literature” tradition. There are 10 fully illustrated books in the initial series and, if interest merits, that initial series can be expanded. All of these books are in verse and conclude with rhymed morals. The books are presently sold in two volumes. Volume I (Books 1 – 5) is appropriate for pre-pubescent children, whereas Volume II (Books 6 – 10) is appropriate for adolescents and adults. The reason for this is that, Dan Aiki (the protagonist of the story) ages from volume to volume such that by Book 6 he is developing an acute awareness of sex. While Books 1 – 5 were illustrated by a number of Afro-American artists, Books 6 – 7 were illustrated by an African artist from Senegal, and books 8 – 10 by a team of artists from Madagascar. Each book of the series costs $3.00 and so both the first volume and the second volume are $15.00 each. The price for the two volumes together is $30. There is also a comic book version of Books each book that costs $10.00 per copy.

The Adventures of Dan Aiki is a series of ten didactic adventure poems about Dan Aiki (pronounced Don – I – Key), a courageous African youth who overcomes many obstacles (both natural and supernatural) on his way to becoming a legend. Though the stories are especially written for growing children, people of all ages will find them both enjoyable and instructive. What follows is a complete description of the contents of each of the 10 books which make up the series.

Volume I

Book I – [includes the prophecy (when Dan Aiki was only 5 years old) as well as an introduction to the series]. In this book Dan Aiki (age 8), while daydreaming, is chased away by a piece of cloth, a baby, and a dog. His father scolds him for being cowardly, but when a real lion comes Dan Aiki chases it away using the same tactics that his daydream adversaries used to scare him.

Book II, Dan Aiki Goes Hunting, Dan Aiki (age 9) is sent to kill a deer. In route he meets three strangers on the road: a warrior, a beggar, and a beautiful woman who try to distract him from his mission. The moral learned here is “when you have a goal, don’t deviate from it until it is accomplished.”

Book III Dan Aiki’s Magic Charm, Dan Aiki (now 10) is taught the arts of man and beast for one year in the forest. When his instruction has ended he is given a magic charm which he uses in subsequent books.

Book IV Dan Aiki Meets Duna the Sorcerer, Dan Aiki (now 12) engages in a battle of wits with a shape-changing sorcerer. The moral here is: “the race is to the swiftest.”

Book V, Dan Aiki Kills a Tunku – Dan Aiki (now 13) kills a tunku, a mongoose-like shape-changing creature, without observing traditional rites. As a result he is obliged to flee his native land. The lesson here is that “if you break the law, you must pay the price.”

Volume II

Note that Books VI – X is the post-puberty continuation of the series and contains some elements of sex and a great deal of violence and is thus not intended for children but rather adolescents and adults. This volume has very graphic illustrations.

Book VI, Dan Aiki Seeks a Wife – deals with Dan Aiki’s coming of age, his quest for a bride, and his encounter with the “ten-headed she demon.” The moral learned here is “perseverance will overcome hardship.”

Book VIIDan Aiki’s Marriage – deals with Dan Aiki’s quest for the bridal wealth needed before he can marry. He (now 18) collects the wealth but is robbed when he returns to the home of his betrothed. The lesson here is that “sometimes one must fight to make a wrong a right.”

Book VIII Dan Aiki Goes Off to War – deals with Dan Aiki’s efforts (now 20) to regain his stolen fortune. Here the moral is that “there is strength in union.”

Book IX – The Enemy Army / Dan Aiki Betrayeddeals with the enemy hosts that array against our hero. Little does he know that his own general will betray him;

Book XThe Mother of All Wars / Dan Aiki Returns Home – deals with Dan Aiki’s victory over the enemy and his subsequent betrayal. The lesson here is that one must know how to “take the bitter with the sweet.”