Googling African Comics these days thankfully returns a series of articles highlighting one African comic or the other. But that’s several articles pointing you in many different places (or saying the same darn thing about the same darn comics). If you’re like me, that means bookmarking a tonne of pages for later when you can sift through and find your favourites.
That’s not very productive and too much work.
Let’s change that.
Below are fantastic resources for discovering African comics on the interwebs that aren’t overshadowed by foreigner’s work about the continent.
In no particular order, here we go:
African Comic Publishers
Many African comics are offered for free, directly from the publishers. Many are downloadable while others require you to read directly on the website. A few others also require you to pay some money to access the comics. For a comprehensive list of comic publishers, check out comic makers in Ghana and who’s making comics in Nigeria.
Comic Republic is at the forefront of comic book publishing in Africa. The publisher is usually the first that comes up when discussing African comics. It’s very popular titles, like Guardian Prime, Avonome, Hero Kekere and Eru have cemented the publisher’s legacy as the definitive source for African comics.
You can read all of Comic Republic’s titles free of charge on their website. You can also download all the comics save for the most recent issues of Itan in either PDF format or CBR. Download African comic PDFs or read them online free at https://thecomicrepublic.com/readcomics.html.
Vortex Comics was on a roll until a terrible hacking incident torched their website and blog, making their content inaccessible. Like a phoenix, however, Vortex Comics has risen again, stronger and with new purpose. The company has relaunched its website, Vortex 247, on a subscription model (about $2.8/month), and aims to be the “Netflix of African comics, 24/7“, according to founder Somto Ajuluchukwu at a presentation during the Accra Animation Film Festival 2019.
Subscribe to Vortex247.
Just like Comic Republic, you can read or download this publisher’s comics on their website free of charge. You can read all 7 published titles by Peda Comics, such as Showdown, Tekkids, Di Iche, Newborn Rise of the Mlezi at https://pedacomics.com/read-comics/
Collectible Comics is a relatively newcomer to the Nigerian comic scene. The publisher’s stories completely shy away from the superhero comic fervor that many other publishers like Vortex Comics and Comic Republic have embraced. Collectible Comics is even actively producing motion comic titled Man of the Law.
The publisher is running a model similar to Image Comics, where they allow the submission of creator-owned comics with owners retaining all rights to their books. You can do that at https://www.collectiblecomics.com.ng/series/
Full Circle Publishing
The award-winning African graphic novel from Ghana is available free of charge on the title’s website. You can download the entire volume or read individual chapters at http://lakeoftearsghana.com/volumes/.
Comic Blogs and Archives
Whoop, that’s us! Squid Mag provides news, reviews and updates on the world of African comics, games and animation. From who’s creating what, to interviews, general comics, animation and gaming news, to awesome creations, to our aspirations for a fledgeling industry, Squid Mag is your go-to. If you’re looking for opinions on African creativity within these fields, look no further than us.
Google African comics and you might easily mistake Nigeria for Africa. That’s not at all a bad thing, it just shows Nigerian creatives are sharing their hard work more and everyone should take a cue. Right behind them is Zimbabwe championed by Comexposed. Comexposed is an art collective, a publisher and a hub for Zimbabwean
geek creativity geektivity (I’m allowed to create words right?).
Comexposed showcases – both offline and online – what Zimbabwe has to offer and quite frankly, it’s a lot of needed diversity. Zimbabwean comics are spontaneous and don’t follow…focus KaDi. Check out Comexposed for all the Zimbabwean comic action you need in your life. Don’t forget to check out Comic Up Vol 2, a Zimbabwean comic anthology.
African Digital Art
This will be an incomplete list without theBlerdgurl.com. The site is run by Karama, the black nerd girl (theblerdgurl). She highlights graphic novels, comic books, pop culture and more with a focus on work by globally underrepresented people, including people of colour.
Her work promoting African comics is divine. It is thanks to her that I’ve discovered some of the talents on the continent. In retrospect, her blog is possibly one source of inspiration to continue what we do here at Squid Mag. Get inspired by her manifesto and visit her website, you’ll love it!
Directories & Databases
Project Bahari – Database of African Comics, Animation, Video Games & More
Squid Mag is building an exhaustive database of comics, video games, animation, publishers, game development and animation studios, geek events, talent and other repositories. Our database, codenamed Project Bahari, will in simple terms, be the Google of comics, games, animation etc from Africa. It will showcase everything happening on the continent with all relevant links.
Take a look at Project Bahari, what we’re building over at database.squidmag.ink.
The figure 254 is Kenya’s country code and also what defines this company. 254 Comics is a Kenyan digital distribution portal from where you can purchase African comics. The majority of comics on this site are from Kenyan creatives.
The comics are also reasonably priced. The biggest downside to this platform is the exclusion of Visa or Mastercard payment options. I personally can’t make any purchases because Ghana is blacklisted from Paypal’s services. Talk about a total buzzkill for digesting African comics. They do however offer mPesa and a way to pay using your airtime. If you’re a Paypal enabled country however, 254 comics is a great resource you should check out.
Comic Wox started with an idea that if artists had one place to host their comics for free and with minimum stress, they would be proud to show off to their friends what they have created and eventually thousands of people will get to discover and appreciate their work.
With that in mind, Oluwaseyi Onibudo and his team launched Comic Wox as a platform where you can read African comics for free. In many ways, Comic Wox is just like Webtoons but for Africa.
Check out Comic Wox at http://www.comicwox.com/.
Amadiora is a platform which collects, edits, translates and promotes African and afro-drawn stories from across the world. It doesn’t discriminate on the origin of comics, rather, it focuses more on the content.
The team at Amadiora wants the term to be for Africa what Manga is for Japan and what a comic-book is for USA. Amadiora intends to create a new package of African and Afro stories which can reconcile all the drawing style of artists from Africa and the diaspora.
Check out Amadiora at https://amadiora.net/.
Just like Comic Wox, Comikly is an independent platform hosting a wide collection of African comics.
Check out Comikly at https://comikly.com/
Leti Arts launched Afrocomix as a one-stop-shop for African comics, illustrated stories, animation and digital art.
What is Okadabooks? “It’s a fast, simple and fun way to read books without ever leaving your couch! Send a text, choose a book, then download and start reading — it’s almost as easy as riding an Okada. It’s book reading, reinvented”. That’s according to the company’s website. Why it’s on this list? African comics of course!
True to their words, finding comics to read especially through the Okadabooks app is a breeze. It includes titles from Ayodele Elegba’s Spoof Studios, Comic Republic, Vortex and a few originals that have been remade. Journey your way to African comics in an Okada with Okadabooks.
Zimbabwe’s first anthology of comic books and for us at Squid, one of our first entry points into the Zimbabwean comic book scene. Comic-Up is an initiative by Comexposed that features stories from creators across the country. ComicUp is described by ComExposed (it’s publisher) as Zimbabwe’s premier anthology comic book, that brings together the best of Zimbabwean comics from multiple creators.
This startup is the database for everything comics from Africa and the African diaspora. It’s a database that’s populated by users and the Kugali team. It’s a great place to start looking for some of the best African comics this side of town. It offers a rating feature that will definitely help you discover the most beloved but might also sideline other great content that you might fall in love with. Jump into Kugali’s database and discover African comics you’ll dig!
Sam Graphico Anthology
To answer the question of whether or not that was any comic talent in Zambia, Sam Graphico put out a call for comic creators in Zambia. The result is the 32-page Sam Graphico anthology of Zambian comics. The first issue features comics from different creators including Mabvuto Comics, Black Hut Comics and Bill Masuku (with Welcome to Dead World) from Zimbabwe. It also features digital art from other Zambian creators like Grace Singogo who designed the cover. The first issue launched at Lusaka Comic-Convention and sold out during the course of the con in August.
Sector Comics is a South African anthology of sci-fi comics. According to HTXT, SECTOR is a take on the classic ‘pulp’ comic format, in that it’s an anthology of short black and white stories – or ‘sectors’ – that span a variety of genres from sci-fi through to horror and each episode ties in to a larger narrative that will develop over the course of the project.
Other great places to discover African comics include Jepchumba’s African Digital Art, Comic Panel, the Uganda Cartoon Network and Folktales Moonlight. Comixology, Webtoons, Tapastic and Issuu are also fantastic resources but only when you know what you’re looking for, key in the right queries or have luck on your side. Oh, then there’s Facebook and the mother of all, Google!
This isn’t nearly an exhaustive list. Which ones did we miss and how else do you discover African comics? Share with us in the comments. Also, share this post with your friends and family who are hungry for African stories.
By KaDi Yao Tay (aka African Comic Directory).
July 21 Update: This post formerly included Kaboom.ng, a site that featured news, reviews and downloads of comics and comic scripts. That site has been down for almost 2 years. The update reflects the change.