The Best Cameroonian Comics of the Last Decade

If you do not know yet, know now that Cameroon is one of the few countries in the world whose official languages are English and French. What that means is that, when it comes to comics, apart from drawing close to manga which everyone loves, Cameroonians love both American comics and Franco Belgian BD.

Ok, let’s give more perspective to that piece of information above. Generally, English speaking countries in Africa tend to gravitate towards media and entertainment which comes from English speaking nations like The United States of America and the United Kingdom. And, in the same way, French speaking countries lean more towards media which comes from French speaking countries like France and Belgium. Now, Japanese manga is the exception to all this because it is loved by everyone everywhere. Nevertheless, the point we are trying to make here is that Cameroon has a dual nature thanks to the use of both French and English as its official languages. This makes the country to be more open to content which comes from diverse horizons, thereby inspiring creators to spew out content which is as diverse as its linguistic identity.

As far as comics are concerned, Cameroon has one of the most dynamic markets on the African continent. There are great creators emerging everyday and there are even greater publishers (like Zebra Comics PLC, 3ag editions, Waanda Comics and Editions Akoma Mba) which put forth revolutionary work on a constant basis. This has especially been the case in recent years when African storytelling has been witnessing a constant growth and recognition from the rest of the world. The value of African philosophies, the beauty of African cultures and traditions, and the uniqueness of African perspectives about the future are all very present in comics which come out of Cameroon, making them truly special.

In a previous article, we revisited the history of comics in this central African nation, and clearly pointed out some great works which already existed before the 2010s. So, in this write up, we will focus on works which were published in the last decade (2013 to 2023). This timeline is particularly important because this period, in the history of Cameroonian comics, has witnessed the highest number of comics productions from the country. Print and digital comics have all seen the light of day during this decade and many of these books have met user expectations in terms of story, illustrations, colours and overall production.

So, which are the best Cameroonian comics of the last decade? Check out our list below. Note that this list contains comics which were created by authors who live in Cameroon. The comics on this list appear in no particular order.

1. LA VIE D'EBENE DUTA

A self published comic book authored by Elyon’s, this excellent piece recounts the life of an African lady and her experiences as an immigrant in Europe. Take a tablespoon of bad luck, a pinch of misunderstanding, and a sprinkling of intense drought! Let it simmer, and you’ve got La Vie d’Ebène Duta, the daily life of a young black girl far from her homeland. The story, scripted and drawn by Elyon’s, is delicious on several levels. There’s no discourse on a fantasised Africa, nor yet another (re)visit to clichés about immigration or all the misperceptions attached to black identity. This is a must read comic which explores very important themes which are relevant to issues plaguing our societies today.

2. ALIYA

Aliya is a comic book created and written by An Nina, illustrated by EN Ejob and Alone Legend and published by Zebra Comics PLC. This fantasy comic was one of the three first creations and publications of Zebra Comics PLC which helped to put the publisher on the map. Aliya is the story of a young lady in corporate Africa – A young translator with a mysterious past, haunted by forces unseen. This comic is available on amazon.com.

3. CATY (Cellule anti-terroriste de Yaoundé)

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Heavily influenced by the American TV series, 24, this comic book tells a similar action packed story, but changes characters, setting and stakes. Set in Yaounde, Cameroon, this comic tells the story of Special Agent Jacky Wabo of the Yaoundé Anti-Terrorist Unit who is tasked with apprehending Essono, a notorious psychopathic terrorist, and possibly saving Bobo, if he is still alive… This action packed comic was published by Editions Akoma Mba and Waanda comics. CATY was written and illustrated by Georges Pondy.

4. ANDROID NIGHT

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In the heart of Yaoundé, Cameroon, Mengo and Akim are out for a night in town. While there, Mengo meets a young woman by the name of Lynshie. She’s sexy, shy and her lips have the spicy flavor of his favorite cocktail, “Android Night”. Attracted by her charm, Lynshie invites Mengo into her car and they head off to his apartment in Bastos for sex. Meanwhile, Gonzo, another friend, enters the bar and joins Akim in getting to know three girls. Yaoundé is sweet and warm when you’re a fan of conclusive evenings. When Mengo finally arrives at Lynshie’s, things don’t go as planned. Mengo starts shooting a live video on the Internet when suddenly four girls in gangster outfits burst into the room. Mengo is confused and doesn’t understand what’s going on.  What was supposed to be a hot, drunken evening for Mengo is transformed into a nightmare. Android Night puts forth the argument that in Yaoundé, you can go out as a predator and end the night as the prey. Android Night was written by Darius Dada and illustrated by Cedric Minlo.

5. TOTEM

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Amongst the first three comics created and published by Zebra Comics PLC, this comic recounts the story of an albino boy of struggles to survive in a pre-slavery era when his kind was looked upon as a curse. This fantasy story is inspired heavily by African cultures, myths and traditions, but it also packs a lot of action and magic. This is an epic adventure that any lover of Lord of the Ring, Game of Thrones and The Witcher series will absolutely love. Totem was created by Franklin Agogho and illustrated by EN Ejob.

6. DJO’O BAR

Djo’o Bar is a comic book series set entirely in Africa, specifically in Yaoundé, Cameroon. However, the public likely to be interested in the series is not limited to the African readership, as the characters are human archetypes, with all that is funny, unfortunate, brave, weak or irreverent about them. “Volume 1 of the series introduces the main characters: Prési the talking monkey, Hilary, Fifi, Djo’o and his bar, Maman Nicole, and Doctor Indomitable. The action revolves around Prési, the clever monkey who is popular in the Djo’o Bar neighborhood, and also Fifi, who has to be cured of an interminable case of diarrhea. All the characters combine their efforts to cure Fifi. They are helped by Chloé, a French researcher whom the characters distrust, before adopting her as a friend. The journey required to cure Fifi is an opportunity to criticize the cumbersome Cameroonian administration, a clone of the French administration (only more cumbersome). This funny comic book series was created by Hughes Bertrand Biboum and published by Toom Editions.

7. OUPS!

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This is a simple yet interesting story, combined with a little flavor of Cameroon, which will certainly make you love this extraordinary country. Between daily setbacks, youth life and youth survival, the hostel of young scholars where this story is set is a veritable field that brings together all sorts of interceptions, conflicts and, above all, the difficulties encountered by our young people. This comic can be steamy and serious at the same time as it treats themes such as love, family, sex, corruption and poverty. Oups! Was created by George Pondy.

8. HACKER

Hacker is a comic that borrows heavily from the manga storytelling style. This story is set in Cameroon, at a time when society’s ills are at their worst. TEMDJIEU Frédéric Evrad, a young boy orphaned by a tragedy in Kumba, finds himself in Douala, where he must start a new life. Overcome by grief and despair, in a nation descending into chaos, he swears by only one thing: to work for change in this country. And so he begins a normal day-to-day life of odd jobs, he combines it with a dangerous activity that he pursues only at night – hacking, until the day everything turns upside down. This comic was created by Ludovic Tankeu and published by 3ag Edition.

9. TUMBU

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This comic forms part of the trio that made up the first ever “Zebra Comics 3 in 1 magazine”. Side by side Aliya, and Totem from Zebra Comics, this comic came in to bring lightheartedness and fun to the others which already treat very serious themes. Tumbu is a satire which recounts the day to day ills which plague a typical Cameroonian society through the eyes of a young boy calledTumbu. As his name suggests, Tumbu (which means maggot in Cameroonian Pidgin) exposes all those who do crazy things like a maggot in a wound. This hilarious comic was created by EN Ejob and published by Zebra Comics PLC.

10. ANAKI

In the era of afrofuturism, Anaki stands out as the first afrofuturistic comic created and published in Cameroon. In this epic and action packed story, The union between randy gods and human women gives rise to the Balemba-kids with special gifts. The last of them, Anaki, struggles to survive in the face of the deadly Inquisition tasked with wiping out all evidence of the gods’ descendants. This comic presents beautiful art, great dialogue and memorable characters. Anaki was created by EN Ejob. It is available on the Zebra Comics app and website.

Another comic which is highly influenced by Japanese manga, this magazine packs several stories created by writers and illustrators from the art group called Blacktrek. In its third edition, this magazine contains stories from talented creators like Martini Ngola, Yannick Obada and Objel Otou. Notable stories within this magazine include Helasteen, Kwap Be Zamba, Deratiseurs de Creatures Surnaturelles (DCS) and Deconfine. These stories treat themes which range from slavery, war and the future, to the covid pandemic and its effects.

12. AURION: Heritage of the KORI-ODAN

On the planet Aurioma, an energy called the Aurion only responds to those seeking answers to specific questions. The Aurion connects them to their ancestors. In the city of Zema, the king and queen, ENZO and ERINE KORI-ODAN, are crowned on their wedding day. Unfortunately, this happy day will be the beginning of their trials and their journey to find the true meaning of heritage. But above all, to find the true meaning of the KORI-ODAN heritage.

This is an African comic book adapted from the video game of the same name. Aurion is a comic-book-style collection of perfect anatomy and special-effects action. It was created and written by Olivier Madiba and illustrated by Georges Pondy.

13. NJOKU

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On Mount Fako, somewhere in Buea, Cameroon, Efasa-Moto, the mountain God, rules. He is lord over the sugar cane plantations and elephants that flourish on these slopes. Humans can enjoy the sugar cane and the beauty of the mountain as much as they want. However, they are forbidden from venturing into areas which are reserved for the gods. Unfortunately, Axel Takam and his friends, hungry for adventure and oblivious of these rules, take a trip up the mountain without authorization from competent authorities and end up desecrating the holy lands reserved for the gods. The consequence; Alex Takam is obliged to choose between doing the bidding of the gods for mankind or saving himself and letting mankind perish. You’ll find this and more in the African fantasy title, NJOKU. This comic/Webtoon innovates on the superhero genre and comes loaded with a deep and entertaining story. It was created and written by NJOKA SUYRU, illustrated by ALONE LEGEND, coloured by JUDITH EBOGO and lettered by EN EJOB. NJOKU was winner of the Digital comics Prize awarded by Institut Francais Cameroon in 2021.

IKEI lives the life of a billionaire kid: chic apartment, celebrity boyfriend, loaded bank account and free cruises to exotic places. Curiously, she is doing all these while grappling with unvalidated courses at the University. The question now is: who sponsors this kind of lifestyle? Well, many think her numerous dates finance her escapades. No! She comes from a wealthy family that can afford anything she may desire. So, why does she choose this questionable path? The answer lies in a deeply dysfunctional family. This story was written by Franklin Agogho and illustrated by Beti Ophelie. It is available on the Zebra Comics app and website.

So, there you have it, fourteen high quality stories that will keep you entertained and provide you with a good idea of what creativity in comics from Cameroon looks like. There are certainly many more comics which deserve to be part of this list. Tell us about any other titles which deserve to be on this list and we will do our best to bring them to the limelight.

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