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Africa’s Comic Book Superheroes Tell the Continent’s Forgotten Stories 

Local publishers are mining countries’ rich histories and mythologies, boosting global interest and challenging western narratives. Growing up reading the only available comic books in Addis Ababa at the turn of the century — American superheroes — Beserat Debebe asked himself a deep question: “Why have I never seen in my entire life of love for comics a story that had an Ethiopian protagonist hero, or Ethiopian history included in it?” In 2018, Beserat became the publisher of the first Ethiopian superheroes — Jember and Hawi, each with an eponymous comic book — retelling episodes in his country’s 3,000-year history with a twist. With seven books in English and Amharic achieving $128,000 in sales, Etan Comics hails itself as the “home of African superheroes”.