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Canadian artists bring more 'Afrofuturism' into the world of science-fiction comics


Two Canadian comic book creators are making representation a priority in the graphic novel they write as part of a growing sub-genre of science-fiction and fantasy called "Afrofuturism."

Kelvin Nyeusi-Mawazo founded Black Sun Comics in 2016 as a way to write the characters he wishes he could have seen in some of his favourite series growing up, such as "Doctor Who" and "X-Men."

"There wasn't that many," Nyeusi-Mawazo told CTV National News' John Vennavally-Rao, also noting that science fiction has a trope of Black characters dying before the end of the story. "And when we did see the few that were there, I wasn't always happy with the representation of them."

The graphic novel series he writes with collaborator Yao Togobo, also called "Black Sun," features "a group of unlikely heroes" -- all of whom are Black -- who must defend their world from invading aliens.

"Honestly, I'm writing this for the younger version of myself," Nyeusi-Mawazo said. "This is something that I would have wanted to see when I was maybe eight, nine, 10 years old."

The series and its characters of African descent, Nyeusi-Mawazo said, resonate with young readers who he meets at the comic book shows where he sells his books.

"I see young kids come to the booth, and their eyes light up to like, 'Wow, this is so cool,'" he said.

The five books in the series so far are part of the growing "Afrofuturism" genre. Afrofuturism melds science-fiction and fantasy with African history and culture, blending the past and the future.

"It's kind of trying to draw off the wisdom and the treasure of Black culture and bring that into the future as a means of guiding the way forward," Nyeusi-Mawazo said.

A popular entry into the world of Afrofuturism is the Marvel superhero movie "Black Panther," which grossed more than US$1.3 billion worldwide, according to IMDb.

"It didn't start the movement, but what it did is it highlighted the thirst and desire for stories that come from a Black perspective," Nyeusi-Mawazo said.

When it comes to films furthering Afrofuturism, Nyeusi-Mawazo and Togobo said they'd love for their series to be turned into a movie.

"If someone wants to fund us, we're here," Nyeusi-Mawazo said. Top Stories

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