Five African female comic book characters you should know about3 minute read

All the hype about Avengers: Infinity War has us a bit nostalgic for Black Panther. If you are like us  and are in the middle of a deep dive for other black superheroes, we have the best present for you. Below are 5 African female comic book characters to look out for and follow their adventures. 

  1. From DC Comics, Vixen (Ghana).

Although Vixen, nee Mari Jiwe McCabe, was born in the fictional African country Zambesi, she got her powers in Ghana, after hearing about a totem made by the infamous West African trickster Anansi the Spider meant to give an individual all the powers of the animal kingdom if they used them only for good. She first appeared in DC Comics in 1981 but in most of her iterations, she has mostly appeared in team books until 2008 when a five part limited series was released called “Vixen: Return of the Lion”. She has since appeared as a live action superhero in the TV show “Arrow” and the eponymous animated CW Seed series “Vixen”. A WWII era character called Vixen who is identified as Mari McCabe’s grandmother appears in the CW show “Legends of Tomorrow”.

She was created by Gerry Conway and Bob Oksner.

2. From Marvel Comics, Ngozi (Wakanda by way of Nigeria) 

Ngozi has been described as Marvel’s first ‘true’ African superhero as she was born and raised in Nigeria and now works in the fictional country of “Wakanda”. She is inspired by the 200 school girls in Chibok that Boko Haram kidnapped. Ngozi is a teenager who was left unable to walk after she was involved in a horrific bus accident. One day, Ngozi bonded with a venom symbiote and after convincing Venom to be a force for good, she eventually took over ‘Black Panther’s role as ruler of Wakanda.

Ngozi is created by our favourite, Nnedi Okorafor, and illustrated by Tana Ford.

3. Qahera, the Hijabi superhero (Egypt) 

We featured Qahera’s creator, Deena Mohammed, last year and we still love this fierce, no nonsense superhero. She is a hijab wearing feminist Egyptian with super strength and flying capabilities. Often Qahera tackles societal issues in Cairo, including women’s rights, fundamentalism and the right to protest.

Qahera, which is another iteration of the word Cairo, remains a symbol that flies in the face of the idea that there can’t be free thinking, strong women who wear a hijab.

Qahera is created by Deena Mohammed.

4. From YouNeek Studios, Malika (West Africa) 

Malika is a fifteenth century Queen and military commander, struggling to maintain peace in her expanding kingdom ‘Azazz’ in West Africa. As a warrior queen, Malika is unique on our list as she has no superpowers, just grit, determination, serious fighting skills and good intentions. YouNeek Studios are resolute in their mission to add diversity to the comic book world and offer several free comics on their site.

Malika is created by Roye Okupe

5. From Comic Republic, Avonome (Nigeria)

Hilda Avonomemi Moses, or Avonome, was born in 1937 in Edo State, Nigeria, and then disappeared without a trace. She reappears in present day with no recollection of what happened to her but with the special ability to see and commune with spirits. Comic Republic is a Lagos based Nigerian comic production company, intent on making an impact on the global conversation of diverse superheroes. They are the biggest and most established comic production company on the continent. You can read all of Avonome for free on their site.  

Avonome is created by Stanley Obende.

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Naliaka Odera is a freelance writer, editor and social media consultant. She is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of ‘Of Africa’, an online platform that celebrates women of African descent while fostering editorial talent. She is a proud Kenyan who has lived in Belgium, Canada and Thailand. While in Canada, she earned a BA at the University of British Columbia. She has an ongoing love affair with words and loves great conversations as well as all genres of literature. Her writing can be found at www.naliakao.com. Through Of Africa and her consultation, she stresses the importance of people learning vital communication skills to be able to speak for themselves.