Design of the week: Rising star

2014-10-12 15:00

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Young Cape Town artist and comic book illustrator Loyiso Mkize has made a bold move to inspire a new way of thinking about superheroes.

His second instalment in the Kwezi comic book series, which features a black superhero, provides us with a fun-filled fantastical frame of reference for black children.

Earlier this year, Mkize released his first instalment of the Kwezi comic book, and last month launched the second series.

Set in contemporary South Africa, Kwezi is a 19-year-old cool kid who discovers he has superpowers. Kwezi is also a superhero who takes time to update his Twitter followers with a selfie before taking on the bad guys.

The Butterworth-born illustrator, who also contributed to the Supa Strikas comic, says Kwezi was a culmination of almost three years of conceptual work to create a hero who would resonate with South Africans.

“I had to re-examine the superhero concept, which is steeped in the American culture, to create a local character we can all aspire to and use as a local reference. The difference between Kwezi and other superheroes is that his human qualities are relatable,” Mkize says.

“Kwezi is just a normal kid who happens to become a superhero.”

Mkize says Kwezi began as a coming-of-age story about a young man who uses his new powers as a way to boost his social status, but who (in the recently released second series) matures into a responsible superhero who realises that his powers must be used for the greater good and not as a way to become popular.

With more twists and turns, some maturing, and villains and friends thrown into the mix, the second series continues with the story of a young man who is finding his way in the bad city filled with nefarious characters.

.?The first series is available to download for free at kwezicomics.co.za. The second series is available in print at selected outlets

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