This Detroit techno-inspired graphic novel will take you on an underwater journey

AbuQadim Haqq and Devon McClean joined CultureShift to talk about “The Book of Drexciya” and its Detroit techno roots.

Book of Drexciya

Artwork from "The Book of Drexciya"

“The Book of Drexciya, Volume One”

The graphic novel series “The Book of Drexciya” is inspired by the music from Detroit techno duo, Drexciya.

This story spans back to the late 1980s when Drexciya joined forces. Together, the two created “Aquatic Invasion” in 1994, the first of a thematic series of releases.

Drexciya’s James Stinson and Gerald Donald created a complex mythology with music depicting the sound of an underwater race called the Drexciyans. Under the name Drexciya, both Stinson and Donald worked together, fusing sounds and influencing artists across the globe.

Along with other Detroit techno legends like Juan Atkins, Drexciya’s underwater music heavily shaped the sound of Tresor Records in Germany, founded in 1991.

Related: WDET’s Chris Campbell Says Detroit’s Reach on Music Extends Far Beyond the City

Until Stinson’s sudden death in 2002, the duo created multiple albums for Tresor Records, including “Neptune’s Lair” and “Harnessed The Storm,” with sounds that roll over you with captivating aquatic atmospheres and pulsating drums.

Donald is still making music with Tresor Records.

AbuQadim Haqq, along with a team of people, created the graphic novel directly from the complex stories told through the music from Drexciya. Haqq got involved with the duo by creating album covers.

“‘Neptune’s Lair’ was a really big album for me. I got to meet with James Stinson. And he talked about all the concepts behind Drexciya and what he wanted to see in the art, and he gave me a basic structure of how Drexciyans were.”

After crowdfunding campaigns and help from Tresor Records, Haqq released the first book in the series, “The Book of Drexciya, Volume One,” in 2020 and quickly followed with volume two a year later.

The latest edition will dive deeper into the underwater fantasy world, while using inspiration from real people to create the characters.



One of these people is Devon McClean, who had his own idea for a comic book when he connected with Haqq.

“So what I wanted to do was make a comic book about me and my son being in construction working together and the enemy would have been discrimination,” McClean shares.

McClean later found himself as the lead character of the third volume in the Drexciya series. He says the story represents determination and perseverance.

“It represents being hated on, but it also represents not stopping. They could have stopped. They did not have to build their civilization, they could have just dwelled in negativity and said, ‘Why is this happening?’ They could’ve stayed there [but] they chose to keep going.”

They hope to release the third novel by the end of the year.


Photo courtesy of AbuQadim Haqq

Listen: Dive into the underwater fantasy world of “The Book of Drexciya.”


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  • Tia Graham
    Tia Graham is a reporter and Weekend Edition Host for 101.9 WDET. She graduated from Michigan State University where she had the unique privilege of covering former President Barack Obama and his trip to Lansing in 2014.