I love comics at heart. I know this because I’m online everyday looking for them. But not the kind you’re thinking. There’s an overwhelming pool of content from established names like DC, Marvel and DarkHorse, each telling stories well suited to specific demographics. Stories that while beautiful and easily relatable, are strange and so distant from us. I scour the internet for entirely African created content and while there are quite a few, I’ve noticed a problematic trend. Nigeria has sort of become the locus of African comics, superhero titles anyway.
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.
South African super teen, Kwezi. Illustrated by Loyiso Mkize
1. KWEZI by Loyiso Mkize
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