Published in 2013, The Legend of Blue Mamba is a wild and wacky look at the South African surfing scene, wrapped up in a horror comic about the commercial exploitation of surf culture and the plundering of our coastal resources.
The story began in 1995 in African Soul Surfer, a short-lived Durban surf mag, and continued in Mamba Comix issues 1-5 (2002-2007). It then re-emerged in 2008-9 as Azaniamania, on www.wavescape.co.za. The book features all of these strips, plus about 20 pages of new material.
Drawn in the classic underground comix style of Gilbert Shelton and R. Crumb, the book documents the rise and fall of Blue Mamba, a legendary soul surfer who in a moment of weakness sells his identity to the evil businessman Y.T. Sharke and is branded as the face of Toxacorp (Pty) Ltd, a manufacturer of toxic products. When he tries to back out of the deal, his face is literally “ripped off” and he is left faceless and bleeding in the gutters of a sleazy Durban precinct known as Nu Babylon. Determined to get his face back, he becomes SubCommandante Mamba of the World Revolutionary Ecological Combat Kabal (WRECK) and mounts a fierce but ultimately hopeless one-man “armed struggle” against Toxacorp.
Blue Mamba is a chameleonic repository of our deepest hopes, fears and contradictions. He begins as a surf Nazi, morphs into a mystical guru, sells his soul to Toxacorp, is stripped of his identity and left for dead, recovers to become an eco-warrior, and is ultimately redeemed by an archetypal being from the Great Beyond. Or is he? I suppose in the end the book asks the question: how can we live as authentic beings in a world in which all our most treasured beliefs have been trashed by people and organisations motivated purely by greed? How are we supposed to save our planet if in our everyday lives we constantly participate in the production of more plastic and more garbage? What can we as individuals do to sort out this terrible mess?”
The A4 sized full-colour square-backed book consists of 84 pages printed on good quality paper and also features four painted surfboards produced for the annual Wavescape Surf Art Exhibition and Charity Auction between 2005 and 2010.The book was self-published in a limited edition of 500 copies. There are still some copies available.