The Rise of Zimbabwean Comic Books

How Local Artists Are Creating a New Form of Visual Literature

Comic books are a popular form of entertainment and storytelling that have been around for decades. It is important to track the rise of Zimbabwean comic books. Comic books can cover various genres, such as superhero, science fiction, fantasy, horror, comedy, romance, and more.

While comic books are mostly associated with countries like Japan and the United States, where they have a large and established industry and fan base, they are also emerging in other parts of the world, including Africa. In particular, Zimbabwe has become a hub for comic book creation and innovation. Thanks to a group of talented and passionate local artists who are using comics as a medium to express their creativity.

The History of Comic Books in Zimbabwe

Although comic books are gaining momentum in Zimbabwe, they are not a new phenomenon. In fact, comic books have been used in Zimbabwe for educational and social purposes since the colonial era. Educational comics such as the Sara Communication Initiative were used to address societal issues such as HIV/AIDS, education for girls, and the position of women in society¹.

However, these comics were often produced by foreign organizations and did not reflect the local culture and identity of Zimbabweans. They also did not cater to the entertainment and artistic needs of the readers, who wanted more diverse and original stories and characters.

In recent years, a few local artists started to create their own comic books, inspired by their own experiences and interests. Bill Masuku created Razor-Man, a superhero comic that featured a Zimbabwean journalist who gained superpowers after being exposed to a mysterious meteorite¹. Razor-Man was one of the first locally produced comic books that gained popularity and recognition among Zimbabwean readers.

Razor-Man by Bill Masuku cover

The Challenges of Comic Book Creation in Zimbabwe

Despite the growing interest and demand for comic books in Zimbabwe, local artists face many challenges in creating and distributing their work. Some of these challenges include:

  • Lack of funding and resources. Comic book creation requires a lot of time, effort, and money. However, many local artists do not have access to adequate equipment, materials, or software to produce high-quality comic books. They also do not have enough financial support or sponsorship to cover their costs or pay their bills.
  • Lack of exposure and recognition. Comic book artists struggle to reach a wider audience and market their work. They do not have many platforms or outlets to showcase their comic books or connect with potential readers or buyers. They also do not have much media coverage or publicity to raise awareness or appreciation for their work.
  • Lack of training and mentorship. Comic book creation is a complex and competitive field that requires a lot of skill and knowledge. However, many local artists do not have formal education or training in comic book art or writing. They also do not have many opportunities to learn from or collaborate with other experienced or successful comic book artists.
    • Lack of regulation and protection. Comic book creation is also a risky and vulnerable field that involves intellectual property rights and legal issues. Information or guidance on how to protect their work from plagiarism or piracy is not readily available. They also do not have enough representation or advocacy to defend their rights or interests.

The Opportunities and Innovations of Comic Book Creation in Zimbabwe

Despite the challenges they face, local comic book artists are not giving up on their passion and vision. Instead, they are finding ways to overcome their obstacles and create opportunities and innovations for themselves and their industry. Some of these ways include:

  • Forming collectives and networks. Comic book artists are joining forces and forming collectives and networks that aim to support and promote each other’s work. For example, Comexposed is a collective of artists, designers, and animators that was founded in 2013 by Eugene Ramirez Mapondera and Tinodiwa Zambe Makoni. Comexposed organizes events such as conventions, workshops, exhibitions, and competitions that showcase local comic books and related merchandise¹. Comexposed also provides training and mentorship for aspiring comic book artists.
  • Leveraging technology and social media. Comic book artists are using technology and social media to create and distribute their work more efficiently and effectively. For example, they are using digital tools such as tablets, laptops, software, scanners, and printers to produce high-quality comic books. They use online platforms such as websites, blogs, and social media to publish, market, and communicate with their readers and customers¹.
  • Exploring new genres and themes. Comic book artists are experimenting with new genres and themes that reflect their creativity, culture, and vision. We see creation of comic books that feature African superheroes, fantasy worlds, historical events, and social issues. This appeals to both local and international audiences¹. Some examples of these comic books are Umzingeli, a bounty hunter working with the African Peacekeeping Force², Sunblast Red, a solar-powered superhero fighting crime in Harare¹, and Invader ZIM, a sci-fi comedy about an alien invader trying to conquer Earth³.
Umzingeli, a Zimbabwean comic book character

The Future of the Rise of Zimbabwean Comic Books

Comic books in Zimbabwe are on the rise and are becoming more popular and recognized among readers and fans. They are also becoming more diverse and original among creators and artists. They are creating a new form of visual literature that showcases the talent, culture, and vision of Zimbabweans.

However, comic books in Zimbabwe still have a long way to go. While they still face many challenges that hinder their growth and development. They still need more support and resources that enable their production and distribution. They still need more exposure and recognition that increase their appreciation and value.

Therefore, comic books in Zimbabwe need more collaboration and cooperation among all stakeholders involved in their industry. They need more involvement from the government, the private sector, the media, the education system, the civil society. This will provide them with funding, regulation, protection, publicity, training, etc., that they deserve. There is also need more engagement from the public, the readers, the fans, and customers. Creating channels for engagement will allow for feedback, demand loyalty, respect that they appreciate.


Comic books in Zimbabwe have great potential to become a powerful form of art and expression. The rise of Zimbabwean comic books can help to entertain, educate, inspire, and empower people. They can also contribute to the economic, social, cultural, and political development of Zimbabwe. They can be a source of pride and identity for Zimbabweans.

Comic books in Zimbabwe are here to stay. And they are here to make a difference. At Otaku Konnect, one of our goals is to ensure that locally created manga and comics reach local fans. We want to create a market and turn comics and manga in Zimbabwe into a viable, sustainable industry. This will be done by continuously creating and hosting community events for the anime and manga fans in Zimbabwe. Soon we will start seeing merch and cosplay based on locally created characters in Zimbabwe.

(1) How Zimbabwe Became a Great Comic Book Incubator – UN Dispatch.
(2) Invader ZIM Vol. 1: Deluxe Edition (1) –
(3) Zimbabwe: Comic Book Artist Endows Visual Literature.

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