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Comic Book / Clan Apis

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"But trust me, Nyuki. When this is all over and you crawl out of this little cell, you'll never feel alone again."

Clan Apis is a 2000 graphic novel by Jay Hosler.

Focusing on the teaching of bees, it tells the story of a young bee name Nyuki and her struggles to make something of herself in the hive. Along the way, she meets several other bugs; some helpful, others hungry. She eventually decides to stay inside the hive, not wanting to die. Soon, however, she comes to learn just what being a bee is all about.

Also released in full color under the title "Way of the Hive: A Honeybee's Story".

Compare Crimsons – The Scarlet Navigators of the Ocean, for a similar manga about salmon.


This comic book provides examples of:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Despite being an antagonist, the death of the marauding bee who kills Abeja is still warrants some sympathy. Justified, as she wasn't evil, just trying to help her hive too.
  • Animal Religion: The bees have their creation myth, and possible deities, in the form of the World Flower and primordial Emptiness. They also have a concept of an afterlife.
  • Animal Talk: The insect characters are all capable of speaking to each other, regardless of their species. The bees are also capable of communicating with flowers, though it's unclear whether or not the other insects can also do this.
  • Anyone Can Die: As it aims to be as realistic as possible, this is pretty much a given, seeing how vulnerable and short-lived insects tend to be.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Nyuki naturally dies at the end, but her body nourishes the flowers and so the Circle Of Life continues.
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  • Black Widow: The Praying Mantis, naturally. She mentions eating her husband.
  • Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie: Nyuki's plan for her last foraging. She said she would return with a full load of nectar. She dies laying next to Bloomington and becomes his fertilizer, and by extension, his nectar for next year. Melissa brings her back to the hive in this form.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Bloomington the flower.
  • The Grim Reaper: The Undertaker caste. Their job is to removing the dead and dying from the hive to prevent disease outbreaks. The one that appear as Dvorah is dying is shrouded in shadows.
  • Meaningful Name: All the characters have names for "bee" in different languages. "Dvorah" is Hebrew, "Nyuki" is Swahili, and so on.
    • Sisyphus the Dung Beetle. In Classical Mythology, Sisyphus was a king who damned to constantly roll a stone uphill for all eternity.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Dvorah dies after stinging a woodpecker to protect the hive from it. Nyuki dies after taking Melissa on as a ward.
  • Predators Are Mean: Despite Sisyphus' spiel about Predation Is Natural, neither of arthropods who try to eat Nyuki are particularly pleasant individuals. The mantis is a Manipulative Bitch, while Thom is a Sadist who relishes Nyuki's fear.
  • Predation Is Natural: Sisyphus the Dung Beetle's philosophy. He outright states saving Nyuki from Thom was an accident and he would have let him eat Nyuki if he hadn't knocked her off his flower.
  • Virtuous Bees: Nyuki, Dvorah, and most of the hive are goodhearted bees that want to serve their hive, though it takes a little while for Nyuki to come around.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Abeja, who gets killed by a rival bee shortly after being introduced.
  • Xenofiction: From the point of view of honey bees.