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. Continue reading
The hashtag, #50DaysOfCharacterSketch created by prolific Nigerian artist, Collyde Prime and his company of creative virtuosos is a leaf right out of comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s hack to excellence, “don’t break the chain”.
The aim is to post an illustration of an original character bearing no semblance to popular and ubiquitous superheroes, every day, for 50 days, in whatever medium (digital, ink, pencil etc.) on social media. Open to everyone, it is an effort to promote African art, polish up skills, gain new ones, have fun and most importantly, reap the benefits of ten thousand hours (1200 actually).
Check out some illustrations from the project so far.
You can also watch Collyde Prime’s comic animation below.