A Look Into DR Congo’s Comic Book Industry

Panel from 'Luve ya muntu' by Bruno Luya Muzuka.

Panel from 'Luve ya muntu' by Bruno Luya Muzuka.

Fascinating stories and art from a country which has seen incredible unrest. Thomas Hubert reports from Kinshasa for BBC News:

For comic book fans around the world, a handful of cities evoke strong images: superheroes jumping from skyscrapers in New York; Tintin running across a building in a Brussels mural; wide-eyed schoolgirls looking for romance in Tokyo.

But colourful cityscapes, designed by local artists, are finally putting an African capital city on the comic map. The place is Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and it is not difficult to see why.

Complete with dusty boulevards, monster traffic jams in blazing sunsets and so-called shegue, or street children, such comic portraits of the Congolese capital are among the main features of the style developed by home-grown talent.

Decades of shared colonial history with comic-mad Belgium certainly had an influence on the emergence of the Congolese comic scene. In fact, most books by Barly Baruti, the Congolese author best known outside his country, are published in Brussels.
European influence

Canadian artist Guy Delisle, who visited Kinshasa to lead a workshop with local artists last year, instantly recognised European influences in the work.

“I looked at the stuff they were doing,” he says.

“It was mostly 1970s Franco-Belgian style comic books which are now very outdated in Europe. So I thought it would be nice to show them the new wave of comic books- the so-called ‘independent scene’.”

So late last year, Delisle joined a group of foreign authors to take part in the first international animation festival known as Kin Anima Bulles…

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