Local publishers are mining countries’ rich histories and mythologies, boosting global interest and challenging western narratives

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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?” “I was only able to find Black Panther, which is based on a fictional country conglomerating 54 African countries into one. It’s like combining all of Europe into one character and saying, ‘This is your history now, and you can get this one character’,” says the Ethiopian founder of Etan Comics. “That was just absurd to me, shocking even. So that meant I had to create what was lacking.”

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