South African Comics News Roundup: FanCon Teasers, Johannesburg Gets Comic Con Africa, And A Crowdfunding Update

By: Mandy J Watson
Posted: 6 April 2018
Category: News Comments View Comments


Here's a quick news update from the world of South African comics, with a special focus on news from some of the creators who will be appearing at FanCon Cape Town Comic Con later this month.

South African Comics News Roundup: FanCon Teasers, Johannesburg Gets Comic Con Africa, And A Crowdfunding Update

Cape Town's biggest comics event, FanCon Cape Town Comic Con, which is run by Readers Den Comic Shop, is taking place later this month in the Cape Town International Convention Centre's new exhibition building. This is the third year that the convention is taking place, which celebrates the work of guest international stars as well as local comics creators.

The full programme is due to be announced in a few days but the exhibitors' list has already been posted, which will give you an idea of some of the local comics that will be available, as well as which creators will be in the artists' alley this year.

Consequently, to get us all in the mood, here's a selection of news stories primarily featuring creators who will be at the convention this year (plus the odd other news item to bring balance to The Force).

Kwezi Continues To Win The Hearts Of The South African Public

Loyiso Mkize was all over Johannesburg recently, in some cases with Mohale Mashigo, who joined the Kwezi team last year, to promote the comic.

YouTube link

Mkize appeared on Real Talk With Anele in February, ostensibly, ahead of the Black Panther opening weekend, to talk about why films need black superheroes but the 10-minute conversation ended up being primarily about the origin of, and inspiration for, the character of Kwezi, as well as a bit about Mkize's background in comics.

If you're a fan you'll know that Mkize based the character on one of his younger cousins, Siphe Nxasana, who appears in a brief interview segment ahead of the interview.

Mkize is up first but the episode also features interviews with the cast of the South African stage production of The Colour Purple, which ran in Johannesburg until early March.

South African Comics News Roundup: FanCon Teasers, Johannesburg Gets Comic Con Africa, And A Crowdfunding Update

So far nine English issues of Kwezi have been produced, which have been split into three Collector's Editions. Last year Xhosa and Zulu editions of the first Collector's Edition, which combines the first three issues into one book, were launched at Open Book Comics Fest and the Johannesburg Book Fair to make the comic more accessible to a wider audience.

International readers can find Kindle versions of the first Collector's Edition (in English) on and Local readers can find the print copies, in various languages, at Exclusive Books and most independent book stores and comic shops, including Readers Den Comic Shop in Cape Town.

The entire team - Mkize and Mashigo, as well as colourist Clyde Beech - will be appearing at FanCon Cape Town Comic Con this year as special guests.

Crowdfunding Update

Two recent crowdfunding campaigns featuring Southern African comics creators were successful in not only reaching their project goals but were pushed into stretch goals by fan enthusiasm.

South African Comics News Roundup: FanCon Teasers, Johannesburg Gets Comic Con Africa, And A Crowdfunding Update

Defenders Of Eden: Andrew Cramer has been involved in this international collaboration for some time as the colourist and there's a great lesson here regarding dedication and perseverance. The project has had a few setbacks but the team has continued to work on it, which meant it could be sent back to Kickstarter in a more complete form. (The initial crowdfunding campaign in 2013 was far too ambitious in scope and intention.) This specific campaign's goal was to raise funds to print the first issue, Machine & Magic, which has already been completed. After three days it had almost reached its funding goal of US$1750 and soon after that it unlocked two stretch goals and reached a final total of US$3478.

Unfortunately it was prohibitively expensive for backers wanting a shipped copy sent to South Africa so locals had to opt for a PDF but I have heard through the grapevine that there may be a few printed copies available at FanCon Cape Town Comic Con. If you're curious to see Defenders Of Eden: Issue #1 - Machine & Magic in print, or you missed the crowdfunding campaign completely, this might be your best chance to get a copy. You'll be able to find Andrew Cramer at the They Did This! table in the artists' alley.

Defenders Of Eden: Official Site, Blog, Facebook, Kickstarter

The Kugali Anthology: Captain South Africa creator Bill Masuku is part of an international team assembled by Kugali that's producing a 200-page comics anthology telling African stories for Africans. There will be two editions, one suitable for children and one with darker material for adults. Masuku is contributing one of his Razor-Man volumes to the edition that's suitable for children.

A few days after launch this crowdfunding project was also already into stretch goals and it ultimately raised GB£25 451 after seeking around US$13 800 (the number was converted from a UK pounds amount by Kickstarter and I don't know what it originally was). The project was well timed to take advantage of Black Panther hype (incidentally, that review was written by Masuku for and increasing international interest in African comics.

The Kugali Anthology: Kickstarter

A New Colouring Book By Shameema Dharsey

Shameema Dharsey launched her latest colouring book for kids, Shameema's Colouring For Kids! English Alphabet at the Halaal Goods Market in Johannesburg in February. It's a follow on from her very popular kids' colouring book that features the Arabic alphabet (copies of which sold out at the market), and, if I've counted correctly, it's her fifth colouring book altogether (three for kids, two for all ages).

South African Comics News Roundup: FanCon Teasers, Johannesburg Gets Comic Con Africa, And A Crowdfunding Update

Dharsey also recently worked on a very cool collaborative project with in which she illustrated portraits of all the speakers who will be appearing at the JHB Unity Conference 2018. She's been posting teasers on her Facebook and Instagram pages in the runup to the event, which is taking place on 21 April 2018.

Dharsey will be at FanCon Cape Town Comic Con in the artists' alley. Sadly there won't be a The Cat Lady 3 comic this year but you'll be able to buy her books and prints.

Find LGBTI Comic Until Sunset In Print At FanCon

Here's a teaser for something brand new you'll be able to find at FanCon Cape Town Comic Con this year - Until Sunset Chapter One.

YouTube link

"Isaac has resigned himself to being stuck alone in his family holiday house for two months - that is until he meets Derek, a merman [who became] wounded when swimming too close to a fishing boat. Now Isaac gets to spend his holiday nursing his new friend back to health, and finds that he wouldn't want to spend it any other way."

Until Sunset is a BL (Boys' Love)/yaoi-esque LGBTI web comic by Kaylee Claire that's "about friendship, fantasy, and trust". She says, "I try to keep my art and stories from having any of the problematic troupes set within those genres, and try to depict healthy and realistic relationships between my characters."

It's possibly South Africa's only serial LGBTI comic and certainly one of only a few local LGBTI themed comics that have ever been produced. Until Sunset has been running weekly since December 2016 on Tapas, where you can read it for free. Claire has been systematic in posting regularly and is now well into the second chapter of the story. As a result, the comic has amassed nearly 13  000 subscribers and received over a million views.

South African Comics News Roundup: FanCon Teasers, Johannesburg Gets Comic Con Africa, And A Crowdfunding Update
Above: Until Sunset Chapter One by Kaylee Claire. [Image source]
Claire has printed the first chapter of the story, in what looks to be a gorgeous full colour book, specifically in time for FanCon Cape Town Comic Con, where it will be debuting. She teased a few pages, such as the one above, in a post on Twitter late this afternoon.

Get up to speed on Tapas but make sure to support the creator by buying a printed comic later this month at the convention.

Until Sunset: Official Site

Comic Con Is Heading For Johannesburg

Just so that Johannesburg doesn't feel left out it decided to try to upstage Cape Town by announcing Comic Con Africa, which will be taking place on 14 to 16 September 2018 at Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit & International Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

YouTube link

It's being organised by the local arm of Reed Exhibitions Africa; its subsidiary, ReedPOP Events, which runs massive pop-culture international conventions such as New York Comic Con, Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, and Emerald City Comic Con (but not Comic-Con International: San Diego and Wondercon, which is a different company); and South African e-sports gaming league VS Gaming (formerly Telkom Digital Gaming League (DGL)).

Tickets went on sale on 9 March in a very convoluted process that broke down as follows:

Phase one, on sale from 09:00:
Friday General Admission (1 Day): R120
Saturday General Admission (1 Day): R120
Sunday General Admission (1 Day): R120
General Admission for the three days: R300

Phase two, on sale from 13:00 today:
Friday General Admission (1 Day): R150
Saturday General Admission (1 Day): R150
Sunday General Admission (1 Day): R150
General Admission for the three days: R350

(Admission for children under the age of six is free.)

These are just entrance tickets - they don't include parking (R20 per day) or add ons, such as for autographs or panel sessions, which have yet to be announced - and so far Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC) packages and hospitality packages have not yet been announced; you will only find details on all of that from May onwards.

It seems as if all the three day tickets have already sold out even though not much has been mentioned concerning who will be there because Joburgers are far more excitable than Capetonians (and they have more money). The launch announcement highlighted Game Of Thrones actors and voice actors Nolan North and Troy Baker have been mentioned, while rumours of The Big Bang Theory cast members have also been circulating, but nothing has been confirmed yet.

YouTube link

What we do know is that there will be an artist alley for local comics creators, as well as exhibition space for, among others, game developers, tabletop games, and hardware and software suppliers. There will also be cosplay activities and e-sports events.

Comic Con Africa: Official Site, Facebook, Twitter

News In Brief

• Cosmic Comics in Johannesburg has moved to a new location a few blocks from the old one. The store can be found at 254 Beyers Naude Drive, Northcliff.

• Issue #25 of Ink, an electronic magazine/newsletter that focuses on comics, features a contribution by Sally Jane Thompson in which she talks about incorporating a sense of place into her art and storytelling. Ink publishes great in-depth articles from, and about, indie comics creators roughly every two weeks and can be subscribed to for free.

• Issue 3 and Issue 4 of Sector are now available on Comixology for US$1.99 each.

• Bill Masuku has opened commissions for Avengers: Infinity War custom covers ahead of the launch of the movie later this month. He's also doing headshot commissions.

• Diorgo Jonkers has posted guidelines for writing comic book scripts on his blog. It's broken down into 16 steps and is essential reading for anyone wanting to know a good format for writing a script for an artist and letterer to follow.

• In 2018 I reported on a fine-art collaboration between Danelle Malan, Daniël Hugo, and embroidery artist Danielle Clough. Danelle Malan has contributed a post to the Daniel Smith blog (Daniel Smith is a brand of watercolour and oil products for painters) in which she goes into more detail about the project and the Daniel Smith products that she used in working on it.

• Zapiro has published his final cartoon for the Sunday Times in which he said goodbye to his loyal fans and highlighted some of the most controversial and talked about cartoons that he created for the newspaper over two decades. His contract with the newspaper was terminated rather suddenly but his work can still be seen on his web site and he is currently creating cartoons for the Daily Maverick.

• Open Art Cape Town has a new logo, which you may already have spotted in the South African Comics Calendar Of Events. It was designed by Rowan Govender, with feedback from the community.

• A teaser for Marvel's Champions #9 has been posted. Sean Izaakse is the artist.

• Deon de Lange is taking select pre-show commissions ahead of FanCon Cape Town Comic Con, which you'll be able to pick up at the convention. See his Facebook post for more details.


South African Comics Calendar Of EventsApril is unusually quiet ahead of FanCon Cape Town Comic Con, which is taking place on the weekend of the 28th and 29th at the CTICC. Visit the web site for more details, as I haven't posted the calendar page yet, and buy your tickets through Computicket.

So far the only April events that have been announced besides FanCon Cape Town Comic Con are two Open Art Cape Town sketch meetups at The Drawing Room in Observatory on the 7th and 21st.

Additionally, the only other event that was scheduled to be on this month, Alternative Press - The Work Of Derek Bauer, at Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town, closed on the 1st. It had originally been listed as running until the end of May so this is really unfortunate as it was a fascinating exhibition and I had wanted to go back before it closed to document it more fully than I had.

Finally, an early reminder that Free Comic Book Day is once again taking place worldwide on the first Saturday in May (the 5th). Historically both branches of Readers Den Comic Shop in Cape Town, Central City Comics in Johannesburg, AWX @ The Nexus in Johannesburg, and Cosmic Comics in Johannesburg have all taken part in the event but so far only Readers Den has announced plans for this year.

Keep an eye on the South African Comics Calendar Of Events for more information closer to the time on this, as well as any last minute announcements of April events.

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Tags: Books, Comics, FanCon, LGBTI, South African Comics/#sacomics, Speculative Fiction

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