South African Comics News Roundup: Highlights Of New Releases At Comic Con Africa
Learn about what launched at Comic Con Africa - and get some gift ideas in the process - in this final South African comics news roundup for 2018. Plus see some highlights of a few other geeky local-comics moments from the convention.
Happy holidays! This is a special end-of-year edition of the South African comics news roundup in that the bulk of the reporting is to highlight new local comics that were released (or were given wider South African attention) at Comic Con Africa, which took place in Johannesburg in September. The rest primarily looks at some other (mainly) South African comics moments from the convention that may have been overlooked by visitors entranced by the international stars who appeared.
As many of you know I wasn't able to attend this year so I've had to work on this from afar and, therefore, the list of new releases might be incomplete but it's my best attempt at assembling as much as I could based on the public information I could find. (If I couldn't find it you're not promoting your comics properly!) If you know of any other local comics that were launched at the convention please get in touch so that I can add them to my database.
Most of the comics and graphic novels are now available at your local South African comic shop. If you're looking for gift ideas for this festive season they're all good options.
Special thanks to Fazielah Williams
who attended Comic Con Africa on brainwavez.org's behalf, brought back specific local comics that I requested, wrote about the convention for us
, and filmed some videos for airwavez
, which you will see below.
New South African Comics
A number of South African comics were launched at Comic Con Africa, with a few more that had already officially been available using the event to have a wider release. Here's what was new, which is just a taste of what was on offer in the Artist Alley as it also featured many comics that had already been launched in Cape Town at FanCon Cape Town Comic Con that were getting their Johannesburg debut.
Captain South Africa #2 And Razor-Man #10
In August Bill Masuku, the creator of Captain South Africa
, which features a female South African superhero, and Razor-Man
, which features a male Zimbabwean vigilante, gave us a sneak preview
of Captain South Africa #2
so you can have a look at that article if you'd like to see inside the comic. In this issue she tries to diffuse the cliff hangar situation from the first issue non violently, which has resulted in a few essays that have appeared online in which her approach is discussed because it is unusual and a more modern take on what a hero can be. (However I don't think for a minute that she would be unable to solve problems with violence, as most superheroes do, if she had to.)
Meanwhile, with Razor-Man
, if you're coming in at issue #10 you're at a bit of a disadvantage but Masuku has made it into a good entry point into the series, which he has been creating lately with Teddy Masuku (production editor) and Eugene Mapondera (line editor). I have issue #9 and I was confused reading sections of it but issue #10 reintroduces concepts from earlier issues, in a way that I don't think would annoy long time readers, which allows new readers to start following the storyline.
I am hoping he will republish - or just reprint - some of the earlier issues of Razor-Man
(he rereleased issue #1 for UCON at the beginning of this year) but in the meantime if you'd like to catch up you can buy the digital copy
of Volume 1 (issue #1 to issue #6). I imagine that once issue #12 is out next year (it's scheduled for April) Volume 2 will also be available.
The first three issues of Kwezi
were published as single comics in 2014 and 2015 before the team found a publisher that decided to combine the issues as the first Collector's Edition
in 2016. Since then the team has continued to work in a single format but has waited until three were ready and then those three have been combined in more Collector's Editions, hence the second Collector's Edition, which was published in late 2016 and comprises issues 4, 5, and 6, and the third Collector's Edition, which was published in 2017 and comprises issues 7, 8, and 9.
For Comic Con Africa Kwezi
's publisher, David Philip Publishers, decided to print a special-edition run of issue 10 that was limited to 100 copies of the single issue. It's the first time there's been a single in print since issue 3 in 2015 so it is a particularly important - and scarce - collectible for fans of the series, which is illustrated by Loyiso Mkize, coloured by Clyde Beech, and conceptualised by both, along with Mohale Mashigo, who is the writer.
is a bit of a quieter moment in the story - it sits after a big event, in which characters are reflecting and the aftermath is examined - and right before a new wave of enemies is introduced in issue 11 and tensions begin to escalate again. If you were lucky enough to get a copy hold onto it but don't despair if you didn't - the issue was released as part of Kwezi Collector's Edition 4
, which was launched
at Readers Den Comic Shop in Claremont, Cape Town, earlier this month. The book is available at local comic stores and Exclusive Books stores.
Siri Watu: Descendants Of Africa Issue #3 And Siri Watu: Descendants Of Africa Issue #4
Technically Siri Watu: Descendants Of Africa Issue #3
has been available since this year's FanCon Cape Town Comic Con but it was only in a digital format as the series' co-creator Ziyaad Rahman of Awali Comics had yet to raise funds to print it. He managed to do so for both Siri Watu: Descendants Of Africa Issue #3
and Siri Watu: Descendants Of Africa Issue #4
just in time for Open Book Comics Fest this year, which took place a week before Comic Con Africa (and was where Siri Watu: Descendants Of Africa Issue #4
technically debuted), and therefore he was able to take all four issues of the series, in print, to Johannesburg to Comic Con Africa and rAge.
I'm not sure what's happened to Duvan Botha, the "afro-manga" series' original illustrator, but for the fourth issue Rahman took on all the art duties, along with his original writing duties, which saw him working many late nights in the runup to the September comics-festival season - but the effort paid off.
The first two issues throw readers straight into a monster battle without context to get the action moving swiftly to grab readers' attention. During the course of the battle we see some of the powers that the four teenage protagonists wield. In the third issue the story begins to explore how the teenagers met at Camp Tshukudu and in the fourth issue they investigate a mysterious cave in which they meet their mentor. Presumably in future issues we will see how he trained them to discover and harness their gifts and we'll learn what their true purpose is.
The quality of the storytelling and art improves with every issue and the series is shaping up quite impressively. I hope the fan base that Rahman worked very hard to build last year is still there supporting it as I know younger South Africans, especially, will enjoy the art style and light-hearted tone that's inspired by anime, while also appreciating that the storytelling is firmly rooted in inspirations from African cultures and mythologies.
Siri Watu: Descendants Of Africa: Indiegogo Page
Super-Dud #4 - Acky Breaky Hart Breaker!
Jarred Cramer of Kaos Produktion Studios, who previously created the web comic Juvies
, debuted the first issue of Super-Dud
in 2014 and since then has managed to publish one pretty regularly on a roughly 18 month timeframe. The series is about a teenager superhero in Cape Town who navigates the challenges of high school while trying to nab criminals and keep people safe (emphasis on trying
Even if you've never read an issue of Super-Dud
before you can jump in at issue four and quickly get an idea of who the characters are and what's going on. Part of the issue focuses on bullying, although with a side storyline that's left hanging and unpleasantly unresolved by the end of the issue, which I hope will be explored further in the next issue but it's just not the kind of plot point that you leave open, especially since this series is suitable for younger teenage readers.
That aside it's lots of fun and doesn't take itself seriously even as it manages to tackle the important topic of bullying. (Super-Dud's real name is "Parker Peters", for example, and one of the series' villains wields vuvuzelas.)
Super-Dud #4 - Acky Breaky Hart Breaker!
features cover colours and layout by Jarred Cramer's brother Andrew Cramer, who has been colouring Defenders Of Eden
and previously published Week Daze
. He also does the interior lettering and layout. Everything else (writing, art, and colouring) is by Jarred Cramer.
(As an aside, Jarred Cramer is the colourist, along with Karl Mostert, who is the artist, on Defenders Of Eden
creator Matthew Rodriguez' new project, Disciple 6
, which recently completed a successful a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter
Jarred Cramer/Kaos Produktion Studios: DeviantArt
The Adventures Of Ntate Molefe Issue 001
The Adventures Of Ntate Molefe
debuted in The Daily Sun
as a full page comic for a few weeks in 2014 and then began a regular fortnightly run, which is ongoing and in the form of a three- or four-panel comic strip, in May 2017. The strip, due to its constrained format, briefly tackles social issues through the experiences of Ntate Molefe, a resident of Hillbrow, Johannesburg, whose family was murdered and who now seeks justice and fights crime along the way.
The series was created by Gushwell F Brooks who brought artist Oscar Mashiane on board for the comic book rather than taking on the art duties himself. Ray Witcher, who is possibly the only academic in South Africa who studies local comics, helped out by doing the lettering and layout. The comic book expands the narrative considerably by focusing on Ntate Molefe's back story and current dire circumstances while toning down the strip's sometimes heavy social-issue messages without losing their essence or relevance for the comic's target readership.
The comic book births a crime boss and a suitable villain, and as a number of superheroes - The Lynx, Telepath Matriarch, Sergeant South Africa, and The Honey Badger - have debuted in the strip I expect they will debut in future issues of the comic book as the story develops further.
If you'd like a feel for the series you can read the individual strips on the Ntate Molefe web site
but the storytelling and art are much stronger in the comic book. Five hundred copies were printed for Comic Con Africa so I suspect that there will still be a few available, although I don't know for sure. There are contact details on the web site so you can use them to find out about getting a copy of the comic if your local comic shop isn't yet stocking it.
The Adventures Of Ntate Molefe: Official Site
, Hasthag: #NtateMolefe
Gushwell F Brooks: Facebook
A Gay Idiot Volume 1: Haphazardous Living
In mid 2017 artist Philip Steyn debuted
an endearing little web comic on Instagram called A Gay Idiot
in which he illustrates his awkward adventures traversing life while looking for love. (It's now also available on Facebook and Tapas.)
I first met Steyn this year at FanCon Cape Town Comic Con, where he had a table in the Artist Alley at which he was selling a wonderful zine called Bear Story
and showcasing pages and pages and pages of the original hand drawn A Gay Idiot
comics. I - and others - went "...but where's the book?".
He heard us and, consequently, the book debuted at Comic Con Africa. It collects the first 100 comics as well as "a few additional never-before-seen unpublished comics and fun activities", Steyn later told me. (I don't yet have a copy but he intends to sell them online soon.)
Shaka Rising: A Legend Of The Warrior Prince
Shaka Rising: A Legend Of The Warrior Prince
is a graphic novel, by Luke Molver and published by Story Press Africa, that was originally released internationally in January but finally made its South African debut at Comic Con Africa. The graphic novel is available in both hardcover
, although I'm not sure if both were being promoted at the convention.
I don't have a copy yet but my understanding is that it features a foreward by Mbongeni Malaba, a professor of English Studies at the Pietermaritzburg campus of the University Of KwaZulu-Natal who completed his doctoral degree on Shaka as a literary theme in 1986 at the University Of York. As you may have noticed it is subtitled _A
_ Legend Of The Warrior Prince, as it is an interpretation of Shaka's story, focussing on his early years and rise to power, that's been crafted specifically for younger teenagers to be able to enjoy.
A sequel, Shaka Reigns: Legend Of A Zulu King
, is planned for publication in September 2019, so I presume the intention is to have it printed in time for Comic Con Africa.
Shaka Rising: A Legend Of The Warrior Prince: Official Site
Comic Con Africa Arranged Special Variants Of Fantastic Four #1 And One Of Them Has Become An Investment Comic
Comic Con Africa's relationship with Marvel resulted in two exclusive comics being made available for South Africa for the convention. Both were variants of Fantastic Four #1
with line art by Irish comic book artist Will Sliney
in which Deadpool plays the roles of the four members of the Fantastic Four. The art and text is full of little jokes as Deadpool makes fun of all the characters.
Officially they are Fantastic Four Vol 6 #1 Cover Z-E Comic Con Africa Exclusive Will Sliney Color Variant Cover
(Diamond code MAY189438), with colours by Chris Sotomayor, and Fantastic Four Vol 6 #1 Cover Z-F Comic Con Africa Exclusive Will Sliney Black & White Variant Cover
(Diamond code MAY189439). The comic itself is written by Dan Slott, with pencils and some inking by Sara Pichelli, additional inking by Elisabetta D'Amico, colours by Marte Gracia, and lettering by VC's Joe Caramagna, who is the letterer on Man-Eaters
. Fantastic Four #1
also features two bonus short stories, one by Dan Slott, Simone Bianchini, Marco Russo, and Joe Caramagna, and another by Dan Slott, Scottie Young, Jeremy Treece, and Joe Caramagna.
From what I could see all the local comics stores had copies and were selling them as singles as well as both in a special pack. I bought mine from Readers Den Comic Shop in Cape Town, which offered them on a pre-order special. The store still has a few copies available, which you can order online [ Colour Variant
| B&W Variant
]. The same is possible with the comic shops in Johannesburg.
If you're looking for the variants ask around locally but be quick as the black and white one was limited to 1000 copies. If you have one and have kept it in near mint condition it is worth
between US$42.93 (about R600) and US$50.50 (R700 or more - the very bouncy exchange rate being what it is). It can't be ordered from Diamond anymore so the remaining local stock is what's left.
Exclusive Prints From Masters And Izaakse
Our local internationally-in-demand illustrators Jason Masters and Sean Izaakse both offered exclusive prints at Comic Con Africa. Masters, with the blessing of DC Comics, created an official Batman artwork for the convention that was used to advertise the event and appeared as one of the cover designs on Comic Con Africa's official programme. (The colours are by Masters' Caster
co-collaborator Sebastian Cheng.)
He made colour prints of the artwork, which were signed and numbered in a limited edition of 50, as well as black-and-white prints, which were also signed and numbered in a limited edition of 30. The prints were exclusive to Comic Con Africa and won't be available again.
Izaakse, in turn, also offered an exclusive print - a black-and white one of The Incredible Hulk that was limited to 200 copies - as well as prints of the colour version of the artwork and two colour prints featuring Marvel's Champions. The Champions print that includes The Hulk (with colours by Marcio Menyz) includes a little detail that most people may not have noticed on Riri Williams' shoulder.
Sean Izaakse: DeviantArt
, Comic Vine
, Fresh Comics
, Wikia (Marvel)
, Things From Another World
Deadpool's Serendipitous Comic Con Africa Moment
While Deadpool 2
was on circuit in May Comic Con Africa ran a tongue-in-cheek campaign
on Twitter to try and convince Ryan Reynolds to come to the convention.
While that didn't technically
happen we did get a Deadpool exclusive in the form of his multiple appearances on the Fantastic Four #1 Comic Con Africa Variant Editions
. Whether the Comic Con Africa organisers knew this would be happening, or whether it was a complete fluke and/or moment of serendipity offered by the comics gods to bless the first convention, we may never know.
brainwavez.org has an affiliate relationship with Raru (South Africa) and Things From Another World (international). Please use the links to order your comics: your purchase helps to fund the running of this web site.
Fazielah Williams was a media guest at Comic Con Africa 2018. Tickets are already on sale, and exhibitor applications are open, for the 2019 convention, which will be taking place from 21 to 24 September at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand. Keep an eye on the South African Comics Calendar Of Events for more details closer to the time.
, South African Comics/#sacomics
, Speculative Fiction