You Don’t Have To Be White To Save The World
I borrowed the title of this post, “African Superheroes, You Don’t Have To Be White To Save The World,” from an AFP story written by another journalist named Stephanie Findlay.
How many times have you ever seen a black superhero save the world?
Comic books are timeless pieces of art and storytelling combining into delicious folds of glossy paper. In the US,
comic books were always cool, but in Africa, comic books are rare. But what is not rare in African societies, are stories of heroes and villains and supernatural power. So a bunch of Nigerian guys got together to modernize Yoruba legends and place them in the context of comic stories and they came up with The Comic Republic. The 30-something page comic books are free and available for digital download here.
You got the main character, Guardian Prime (inspired by the Man of Steel himself, Superman) and together with his friends, Avonome, Eru, Aje, Ireti and Hero Generation, they perform marvelous feats for the greater good.
Jide Martins, is the CEO of Comic Republic. “In 2013, Martins, a slim 37-year-old with a freckled nose and goatee beard, published his first issue of Guardian Prime, a hero wearing a forest green and snow white super-suit in the colours of the Nigerian flag,” Stephanie Findlay writes for AFP. Here’s Jide Martins in an interview with the Nigerian TV network, EbonyLife
And the rest of the Comic Republic Team:
Wale Awelenje – Director, Comic Republic
Tobe Ezeogu – Chief Operating Officer and Creative Director, Comic Republic
Michael Balogun – Vice President, Comic Production, Comic Republic
Ozo Ezeogu – Editing Director, Comic Republic
Stanley Obende – Creator and artist, Avonome
Xavier Ighorodje – Writer, Avonome
Franklin Ikechukwu – Colorist, Comic Republic
Toheeb Ipaye- Legal Adviser, Comic Republic
Tolu Onewo – Head, Online Operations, Comic Republic
Eduvie Oyaide – Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Comic Republic
Of course, I think this is great. Africa has always been a source of inspiration for comic books around the world. Remember Storm…one of the characters from Marvel Comics? Storm was part of the X-Men. She also joined the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. Halle Berry played Storm in the X-Men movie that I did not watch. Storm is fascinating! She is the daughter of a princess in Kenya (we don’t know what ethnic group), and she was raised in Harlem, New York and Cairo, Egypt. How cool is that! She can fly and control the weather. She gets married to another superhero named Black Panther (what a name) and then she becomes the queen of a fictional African country of Wakanda (not to be confused with that other fake African country called Zamunda, from the hilarious Coming To America movie). Storm and Black Panther later divorced and I believe, Storm lost her queenship. TheGrio writes about the divorce. (I used to report for theGrio back in 2012 when I lived in New York…happy times!)
Storm and Black Panther were the ultimate Black Power couple. They were like Dwayne and Whitley to the 100th power. Can I get an amen?
Back to The Comic Republic. The characters are Nigerian with Nigerian names. The series is doing well for itself. Hindlay reports that the readership has gown up to 28,000.
I like this line from Hindlay’s story:
“People had this idea that African comics had to be with people in traditional clothes, but I don’t agree with that,” Martins said.
“Let them have Nigerian names, saving people in Nigeria, but let’s put them in spandex.”
I do not follow comic books, but I do like a good story and I celebrate innovation. So kudos the Comic Republic. Enjoy some of their beautiful artwork.