Super heroes for Africa

2015-01-25 15:00

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In a ground-breaking move, DC Comics will release a Wonder Woman story set in Africa in which the female superhero saves her male Justice League team-mates, Superman and Batman, from the claws of her nemesis, Cheetah.

Better still, the comic – The Problem with Cats – was written by South African writer Lauren Beukes.

“My last comic was superdark,” she told City Press this week after the illustrator of the new comic, Mike Maihack, tweeted a page of the work, which will hit the shelves in April.

“In fact, all my comics [the previous ones written for Vertigo, an imprint of DC Comics] are pretty dark. My daughter is six and she loves comics, but I can’t read her mine. This time I specifically wanted to make one she could read.”

The action in the Wonder Woman comic moves from “The Isle of Cats just off the coast of Mozambique” to Orlando West in Soweto, where two sisters learn some valuable life lessons. It neatly references South African culture, like the sci-fi movie District 9 and a dog called Razzmatazz in a nod to Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula.

Beukes is thrilled that her comic-book career is taking off after the international awards and literary buzz around her fantastical urban novels Moxyland, Zoo City, The Shining Girls and Broken Monsters.

The darling of global speculative fiction – punted by the likes of Stephen King and William Gibson – said she and her book cover designer, fellow Capetonian Joey Hi-Fi (aka Dale Halvorsen), are hard at work on an original horror comic, which is being edited by the boss of Vertigo, Shelly Bond.

Beukes revealed that she had just pitched her fifth novel to her international agent and he had loved it.

But she wasn’t so forthcoming about its contents, saying with a chuckle: “It’s not about a serial killer.”

Her time-travelling serial killer novel, The Shining Girls, was optioned for a film by Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company. On Thursday, Beukes announced that Broken Monsters had been picked up for the small screen by TV company Endemol.

Her bestselling second novel, Zoo City, is also earmarked for the big screen. Her four novels have now been translated into 26 languages.

Asked what her daughter thought of the Wonder Woman comic, Beukes replied: “I read it to her and she gave me the best compliment a kid lit critic can. When I got to the final page, she said: ‘Again!’”

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