There has been renewed interest in Nigerian comic books thanks to the work of Comic Republic, a startup based in Lagos. Their comics feature story lines that draw from traditional Nigerian beliefs, and superstitions show characters from a variety of backgrounds with wide-ranging super powers.

 

Jide Martin founded Comic Republic in 2013 with the tagline, “We can all be heroes.” The comics are published online and available to read for free; Comic Republic instead focuses on positivity and aims to inspire Nigerian readers with characters decked in the colours of the Nigerian flag. The startup has also focused on heroines, with girls and women having as much power as boys and men.

 

Oya Rise of the Orisha

(Igoda Films)

Comic Republic may be the most popular, but this growing comic book trend in Nigeria is not limited to the startup. Part of this boom is the 2012 launch of the annual Comic Con in Lagos. There is also PMG Multimedia, another company based in Lagos, and the creators behind “Uhuru: Legend of the Windriders,” an epic adventure set in the future. “Uhuru” has been translated into French and has an animated series in development. Superheroes based on Yoruba tradition was also the inspiration behind “Oya, the comic book” and the short film, “Oya: Rise of the Orisha.”

 

Startups like Comic Republic and events such as the Lagos Comic Con are hyped as examples of the growing comics scene in Nigeria and African continent, but the interest in comics has always been there. Ayodele Elegba said that he started the comic con was because he “realized the comic medium was not appreciated by the Nigerian public like it used to be in the 80s”. Speculative fiction author Tade Thompson echoes this but places the era of popularity to be in the 1970s.

 

Nonetheless, comics are not particularly mainstream in Nigeria today possibly because most of the early players did not survive financially. Perhaps recent entries from Comic Republic and PMG Multimedia are signs that Nigeria is about to fully appreciate comics again.

 

Would you read Nigerian comics? Do you think there is a need for Nigerian superheroes? Comment here or connect with me on Twitter @rafeeeeat