Romance Comics from Africa

Romance on the zebra comics blog

A wise man once said, “we all need love.” Deep, right? Well, on a serious note, there isn’t any particular person from whom this line was borrowed. Nevertheless, it should be common knowledge by now that love and affection are very important to human existence. From Shakespear to Stan Lee, nerdy scientists to religious fanatics, ambitious leaders to great thinkers, and even God Himself, love has always been recommended as that special ingredient which makes life worth living. Love, undoubtedly, is a topic that can see us fill volumes if we need to write about it fully. It therefore becomes quite paradoxical that for something that is taken very seriously, even by the devil, there are so few comic book publications from Africa on the theme.

Make no mistake, love has always been present in comics and other forms of literature. Even our greatest superheroes, who seem to care more about saving people in distress and how their bodies fit in their spandex clothing, have been involved in love affairs which are sometimes very steamy. The issue, however, is that the theme of love has not always been seen as central in comics from the African continent as it is in other places. 

It is understandable that most of the influence behind African comic book creation comes from western superhero comics and Japanese manga, mediums which have installed tropes whose foundations are so deep that it will take the strength of Superman and One Punch Man to uproot them. Consequently, stories from the mother continent are mostly about overpowered men and women fighting crime, politics, corruption, war and witchcraft. These themes are important, no doubt, but given the context of war, corruption and poverty that dominates the continent, it is curious that most comic book authors do not see love as a viable solution to the aforementioned status quo.

Added to the above, there are a ton of romance comics out there. From the west to the east, comics and manga based on love or romance have been published in their numbers. Great examples include Snug: A Collection of Comics about Dating Your Best Friend, Fangs, Virtually Yours, Fruits Basket and Lovely Complex, Maid Sama!. This hype has even moved on to digital comics and webtoon platforms where romance stories are published on a daily basis. Notable examples of digital love/romance comics/webtoons include Days of Hana, To Love Your Enemy, Winter Woods and Under the Oak Tree.

The interest in romance is therefore huge. It is so huge that there are digital and webtoon platforms like Manta Comics that are almost entirely dedicated to love/romance stories. This therefore leaves one scratching his head when trying to decipher why romance comics aren’t being created in great numbers by African creators like their western and eastern counterparts do. Well, while we wait for the answer to this sensitive question to pop up, it is worthy to note that there are however some great comics based on love from African creators. Let’s take a look at some of them.


Kawana flyer on the zebra comics blog

Created by E.N. Ejob and Franklin Agogho with artwork from Beti Orphelie, this comic tells the story of a broken university student who tries to find love, affection and validation in the wrong places. The real reason for her dilemma is found in her relationship with her family, but the more she tries to solve these issues by getting close to them, the more her relationship with them breaks down. Consequently, she goes out in search of solutions in places where she should not even look in the first place. Kawana is an emotional rollercoaster which is available NOW on the Zebra Comics App and Website.

2. OUPS!

Oups by George Pondy on the Zebra Comics Blog

Slutty university students, nagging landlords, immoral bureau men and deceptive hookers are some of the characters you will find in this steamy piece by Georges Pondy. This comic book with stunning illustrations chronicles the lives of young people, mostly university students, and how they navigate the difficulties of living as a student in the slums of Yaounde, Cameroon. These difficulties usually push them to involve themselves in romantic adventures that mostly end up in catastrophe. Oups! is published by Editions Akoma Mba.


Imagine that you are a very beautiful lady with a killer body, but you find it hard to find true love because your suitors are either too excited to go beyond the gentleman’s way and find the road to your panties, or too afraid to admit what they feel about you. This is basically what Mulema is about. Beyond its highly romantic and steamy storytelling, Showbizz did a great job in creating art that will stay with you for as long as you continue reading comics. MULEMA is published by Legend Arts.


Les-dessous-de-pointe-noire on the zebra comics blog

Even though this graphic novel focuses on the lives of prostitutes in Pointe-Noire, in the Republic of Congo, this story is however heavy on romance and love. As already insinuated, this comic presents the lives of young girls who turn to prostitution as a way of liberating themselves from the poverty that is choking the people of Pointe-Noire. Their main targets are Europeans who come for tourism or business. However, even though these adventures help them put some money in their purses, they also turn out to be very dangerous, putting their lives in the mercy of the underworld. LES DESSOUS DE POINTE-NOIRE is published by Harmattan BD.


City Blues on the Zebra Comics Blog

Malika is a university student who wants to preserve herself and maintain a healthy relationship with her boyfriend. In the middle of this desire, however, life gets hard and she has to turn to other means to survive. The outcome is that she leaves her boyfriend to be with a more ‘capable lover’, pushing her younger lover to do things which are extremely dangerous. This is the ordeal of several university students in Africa and this is the premise upon which the story in CITY BLUES is based. Created by EN Ejob with illustrations from ShowBizz, expect steamy, fast paced and romantic storytelling in this digital comic or webtoon which is available on the Zebra Comics App and Website.

So, there you have it; African creators aren’t so afraid of love. Well… to an extent. Anyway, even though there aren’t so many creations in the romance comics category from Africa, they exist all the same. We all need love, especially in the middle of hard times. Love stories are not just perfect escapism, they can also be sources of hope and wellbeing, telling us that despite all the problems in the world, there is someone out there ready to help us navigate it all.

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