South African Artist Diversifies the Superhero Universe with ‘Kwezi’
Since 2000, the cultural zeitgeist worldwide has been dominated by superheroes appearing on the silver screen. However, 2008 was the beginning of the current superhero craze. When Marvel’s Iron Man came to theaters, everything changed for the better. A new generation of kids were introduced to the strange and wonderful world of comic books. More important, the film was an international hit.
The great thing about comic books is that their stories resonate with everyone. Until recently, DC Comics and Marvel have had issues with providing diverse characters for their diverse readers. Many fans, like Jide Martin from Nigeria and Loyiso Mkize from South Africa, took matters into their own hands and created their own heroes in their own superhero universes.
Mkize tells Buzzfeed that he has always loved superheroes, so he decided to make his own. His comic book series Kwezi, which means “star” in Zulu and Xhosa, is about a teenage hero — akin to Static Shock or Spider-Man — who was obsessed with being popular on social media until his destiny was revealed to him.
The 19-year-old lives in Johannesburg, or Gold City, where he learns that he is a “descendant of an ancient race from among the stars who saved mankind from extinction — and it’s up to him to tap into his powers to once again do the same,” according to Buzzfeed.
“The first year of conceptualizing – it was completely carbon copies of the U.S. superheroes,” Mkize said. “I wanted them to wear spandex, I wanted them to have a cape and all of that. It just didn’t work. It didn’t fit the South African dynamic.”
His comics are a great blend of striking art and dynamic storytelling that can easily compete with the books coming out of DC or Marvel. To see for yourself visit his website.