Africans love comic books.
A pointer to this is the insanely popular Nairobi Comic Convention, the biggest in East and Central Africa, that brings together local creatives and over 8,000 fans. That’s a lot of fans. The Nairobi Comic Convention, popularly known as Naiccon, has had several editions since it began in 2015.
Elsewhere on the continent, Nigeria’s own Lagos Comic Con is just as impressive. Dubbed, “The Biggest Annual Geek Event in Africa,” it has been instrumental for Nigerian Artists to show the great work they are doing.
South Africa’s Fancon Cape Town Comic Con held its first edition in 2016 and has equally been as successful.
While the comic book fandom on the continent is large and growing, it is still very difficult for fans to find and follow up on the books they love.
For this post, we are going to show you where and how to find comic books in Africa.
Of course we all know that Africa isn’t one country (but maybe it should be?) so for this post, we will zero in on the East African country where Chonchon is based – Kenya.
Here are the top 5 places to find local comic books in Kenya:
1. Street Vendors in the CBD.
Unknown to many people, the Nairobi Central Business District is served by a network of independent book vendors who sell local comic books at affordable prices.
They range from as low as 50 KES to 200 KES. ($0.5-$2)
These informal stores are also known as “inama bookshops” a Swahili name derived from the fact that customers often have to “bend over” to select the titles they want.
In some cases, vendors may allow you to bargain, which allows you to get more comic books for less. On top of that, they will recommend to you the most popular titles, and even take your contacts and let you know when new issues are released.
Not all heroes wear capes.
2. Comic book stores.
Admittedly, comic book stores in Kenya are few and far between.
Nairobi is served by a comic book store at The Village Market Mall called “Between the Lines.”
This store has all the latest Kenyan comic books alongside the more popular Western series from DC, Marvel and Indie creators. It also sells graphic novels of popular manga titles such as Attack On Titan and One Piece. If you’re looking to find manga in Kenya, then this is your best bet.
Between the Lines is now joined by the World’s Loudest Library (WLL). Located in Westlands, Nairobi, this store almost exclusively targets the growing community of local creatives and offers the latest comic book publications from Kenyan artists..
An honorable mention goes to The Nairobi Otaku Shop which, though it doesn’t sell comics, is an online store that sells cosplay costumes and merchandise based on popular anime and manga.
Many Kenyan creators like to post their creations online. It’s cheap, simple and allows them to retain the rights to their work and find a ready audience.
Online platforms like 254comics and Leti Arts make work easy for comic book fans by curating digital editions of the latest local comic books on their websites and apps.
Chonchon’s maiden series, Veneration Z, is also available to read online for free. Being the only comic series in Africa to be serialized weekly, fans can expect to read a new chapter every Saturday.
4. Nairobi Comic Convention
As we had mentioned above, the Nairobi Comic Convention brings together comic book creators, fans, cosplayers and other artists for a two day festival of geek culture.
Basically, it’s the best of what Kenya’s comic book community has to offer, all in one place. Here, you can expect to find comic books for sale that you wouldn’t find anywhere else at heavily discounted prices.
Fans have been known to spend upwards of 10,000 KES ($100) on their favorite books and merchandise.
5. Newspaper inserts.
Most of Kenya’s most popular comics, like Shujaaz, have been distributed as newspaper inserts. South Africa’s Supa Strikaz was introduced into Kenya this way – and it was a runaway hit.
Some newspapers feature daily editions of short comics such as Popeye.
For the longest time, a newspaper was the only place to find comic books.
Hopefully, African-made comic books will become more readily available as the industry grows but anyone looking for comic books in Kenya can start in any of the five places mentioned above.
If you’re African, let us know how Kenya compares with your country. How do you get your favorite comic books and manga?