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Super Heroes with African Roots

Curious about Super Heroes with African roots?  Do these comic companies ring a bell? DC comics, Marvel Comics? Okay, if they do not, maybe these will strike a chord in your memory: The Adventures of Superman, Batman Returns, the Iron Man, and the Flash among other notable superheroes. Black Panther? Aha, I think I have your attention now! For many, these fictional figures provided not just entertainment, they also inspired young and old to attain to greatness and bravery. While the protagonists in the comic books are often adulated, the bad guys suffer vilification and reproach.

However, a theme kept recurring with these comics and their superhero creations: the plot and cast dwell on the Western world and its way of life. From fighting crimes in big cities and massive monuments to engaging in intergalactic expeditions in space, Africa remained primarily ignored, underrepresented or tagged with uncomplimentary stereotypes (including depicting Comic characters of African origin as foolish and cowardly among others).

But the narrative is changing in the comic scene. Several start-ups from Africa have instituted thriving businesses on projecting African Superheros. The Comic Republic, Youneek Studios, Vortex Comics as well as Leti Arts are among contemporary creative platforms from the continent, beaming the light on African superheroes, alongside traditional powerhouses like Marvel Comics (based in America). The latter receives credit for the introduction of arguably the first black superhero from Africa, the Black Panther, playing a brief stint in the comic movie, Captain America: Civil War.

On the wing of the warm reception accorded the Black Panther, the other listed comic character concerns have since gone on to produce other notable African superhuman figures, complete with compelling storylines packed full with twists and plots for maximum entertainment.

Without further ado, here is a rundown of the top superhero characters with African roots:

Oya: Rise of the Orishas

Oya: Rise of the Orishas receives bragging rights for successfully weaving a storied tradition of the Yoruba people of Nigeria, into an enjoyable/entertaining African superhero series. In this comic series, the creator, British-Nigerian Nosa Igbinedion, makes us reimagine the ancient Yoruba deities, Orishas, as a band of warriors, tasked with saving the universe from the forces of evil.

The film will be staged in Brazil, where the plot of the comic rendition focuses on Adesuwa, an introverted barmaid who earns a living working in the city of Rio. Her world goes topsy-turvy when she discovers her mystical powers come from her reincarnation as the fiery goddess of storms, Oya.

The writers of this African superhero series laid great emphasis on preserving the ancient mythology of the Orisha, while at the same time making the characters and storyline relatable to audiences.

Photo: Instagram

KWEZI, the teenage Superhero

From the Rain nation (South Africa) comes an entertaining, yet relatable superhuman character called Kwezi (the word stands for Star in the Zulu and Xhosa). The creator of this comic series, the talented designer, illustrator and fine artist, Loyiso Mkize, desires to shift the attention of the average South African audience from the favorite X-men to a South African Superhero to bring the fantasy closer to home.

The plot for Kwezi interlaces modernity with the workings of a typical South African city; in this case the fictional Gold City, which mirrors the Johannesburg metropolis. In the tale, Kwezi comes across as a cocky anti-hero obsessed with selfies and Twitter and the admiration of his online fans. However, things are put in proper perspective when he discovers that he possesses supernatural powers that place a social obligation on his young shoulders.

The producers of Kwezi aim to keep interest in the African superhero, with the creation of a 12-part series (monthly) with the release of 3 issues to date.

EXO Part 1 3D Web

E.X.O. (From Youneek Studios)

E.X.O – the Legend of Wale Williams is among the top contenders bringing the African narrative in superhero characters to a global audience. This comic series weaves around a young Nigerian man who returns home to investigate his inventor father’s disappearance in a nation brimming with corrupt leaders and robotic exoskeletal drones known as DREDS. The tale takes place in the fictional, futuristic Lagoon city, patterned after the bustling city of Lagos, Nigeria.

Before that time, Wale inherits a Nanosuit which gives him superhuman abilities that he uses to protect the city from The C.R.E.E.D, a radical extremist organization that seeks to topple the government of Lagoon City. In between saving Lagoon City and fending off the bad guys, Wale finds answers to pressing personal issues which include unraveling the circumstances surrounding the death of his father.

Audiences will tether on the brink as they journey with Wale Williams as he comes close to the answers he seeks, interlaced with tragedies and indelible transformations in his life.

Africa’s Avengers the Vanguards

Africa’s Avengers: The Vanguards

The Comic Republic, the creators of the Vanguard, receive rave reviews for promoting the growth of Nigeria’s and indeed Africa’s comic industry with unique superhero characters.

At once, Africa’s Avengers comprises a group of individuals with a suite of supernormal abilities, who must give their all in the quest to keep Africa safer and more secure. But there is a little twist in the tale. And that twist centers on Comic Republic’s aim of creating more inspirational, yet relatable African female superheroes; heroines with the comportment and temperament to save the day, with or without the help of their male counterparts.

In the end, Africa’s Avengers seeks not only to change the narrative about superheroes of African origin but also to give space and attention to the female characters in the comic industry on the continent.