The idea to make a graphic novel about the Ethiopian king Tewodros II (ca. 1818-1868) originated from Jeroen Bos who lived in Ethiopia when he was young. His father was a Dutch engineer who worked around the world to set up so-called turnkey diary factories. In Ethiopia, Jeroen came across the story of Tewodros who is considered a hero and held in great esteem by the people of Ethiopia. He is said to have united Ethiopia for the first time, until then a collection of kingdoms that fought for their territories.
Tewodros was a man with charisma and built from scratch an army with which he defeated his opponents and eventually would be crowned Neguasa Negast (king of kings).
To win and to lose
An incredible story, hardly known in the western world, about the tragic life of a king that was well ahead of his time. It has all the ingredients to make a feature film with a powerful hero that goes from almost nothing to be king of Ethiopa and losing it all again.
Jeroen Bos and I made a trip to Ethiopia in may 2017 to visit the places where Tewodros lived. Most important was visiting the plateau of Magdala, where Tewodros had withdrawn himself at the end of his reign to hide from ennemies and especially the British army that had landed in Ethiopia to free British hostages.
Jeroen Bos also made a podcast from audio recordings during the field trip. It's partly Dutch, partly English. It gives a vivid idea of how we followed the footsteps of Tewodros.