The spark that eventually burned up about 4 years of my life first came to light in the course of a conversation with Grant Morrison. He was visiting the studio with some black and white photocopies of the first issue of Final Crisis for us to all “Ooh” and “Ah!” at. Grant was talking about the opening and closing scenes of the book, at least as he'd planned the at the time: he was starting with Anthro, the first boy and was going to close the book with Kamandi, the last boy. It didn't work out that way, which is I think a bit of a shame.
Pre-history had become something of an obsession with me and I mentioned to Grant that almost every depiction of the dawn of mankind I found at once far-fetched and unimaginative. I'd mis-pronounced “Anthro” and “Afro”, and then jokingly covered up my mistake by saying that the first boy would've been black anyway, not a white kid running around in North America. I went on to wonder why there's never been a comic or a movie that depicted early humanity as black.
I reserved special annoyance for 2001. The proto-humans in that movie were just offensive. As was the nudge from the Monolith that started them towards becoming human. The hominid first use of technology was to pick up a bone and hit someone over the head with it. This was the primordial tool that eventually led to the craft that would transport us into Space and the stars. Technology was a product of violence. Hands were made to hold weapons and fashion more and better weapons so that we could better kill each other.
So, Grant listened to me slag off all early human fiction and then quietly said, “Why don't you do something then? You could do a comic about that.”
So I did. It's taken a while and it's changed a lot since I first started writing and drawing the story. I wrote it and re-wrote it, started drawing it, only to realise it just wasn't right. So I broke it down and built it up again, rethought everything, rewrote it again and again and only when I thought it was good enough as a story did I start drawing it again.
I'm still changing things, spotting things that are not quite right, redrawing panels, sometimes whole pages get dumped and redone.
But it's nearly ready now. Mind you, I was saying that three months ago and I'm still hammering away at this thing.
This is some of my really early Akay art...