Growing up, African comics were quite rare. My most vivid recollection is the late Frank Odoi’s Akhokhan appearing next to other western-imported comic strips in the Daily Graphic newspaper. Thanks to the digital age and new media, however, no one will have to suffer a dearth of African- created comics as many are now free to download or inexpensive to purchase.
An evolving band of African artists are giving breath to ink and comics are springing up all over the place, either by teams or solo illustrators. These artists are helping build an impressive library of continental comics on life, imagination, desires and the future. I’ve composed a list of contemporary comics that weave together stories that embody many of the traditions, myths and realities that many Africans experience or can readily identify.
Below are 8 African comics you should know about.
Kwezi is the story of a narcissistic South African teen with extraordinary gifts. A bit of a trickster figure, his superhero strengths allow him to take on the bad guys which he documents quite avidly on social media, occasionally, stepping on the toes of the local authorities. It’s all fun and games for Kwezi until an imposing nomad pays a visit and sets the teenager on a new adventure to discover his purpose and understand his gifts in preparation for a great new responsibility. Check out the first issue here.
Initially a school project, the humorous Mumu Juju tells the story of two tight partners, Mortar and Pestle, who have an insatiable hunger to rid the world of evil. The duo must pay debts to a Auntie Ejule, a rumored witch and Kenga, a deity who is quick to assert his authority by demanding, “Are you my mate?!” The dialogue in this comic is fresh and nostalgic especially for Nigerian pidgin lovers and the art served is delicious. Get a preview dose here or buy the issues here.
Avonome: Realm Within via Comic Republic
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