Meet Ireti, one of the first wave of Nigerian kickass female comic book heroes fighting to bring justice to the streets of Nigeria.
By daytime she is Bidemi Ogunde who lives in the Yoruba Kingdom. By night Bidemi turns into Ireti who was born with unique powers which make her stronger than many, thanks to her father who made a deal with a deity when she was born. Bidemi is an archaeology student and excellent gymnast at the University of Ibadan who got her powers when she was attacked by a scourge at the national museum in Lagos.
Ireti is just one of a team of powerful female Nigerian comic book heroes, ridding Nigeria of baddies and fighting to save Nigeria. There is half-Nigerian, half-Venezuelan character Aje, Commander Jade .N. Waziri. The no-nonsense ,strong headed leader of the national advanced security service (N.A.C.S.S). Then there is Avonome who was born in 1937 in a remote Nigerian village. Avonome disappears without a trace only to reappear in a cemetery in recent times, still unchanged, except she has with no memory of who she was or where she had been all this while, except a knowledge of her name, a mysterious companion and an unbelievable gift – the ability to see spirits.
Jide Martin started Comic Republic in 2013 when he realised there was a lack of good quality African superhero stories with high-quality graphics and production. Comic Republic encourages a comic-reading culture in Nigeria and across Africa too. The team has produced six major titles and thirteen editions, all made available to readers free online from their website.
The company’s head of marketing and corporate communications, Eduvie Oyaide told OkayAfrica, “Sometimes, people struggle with acceptance of who they are. With our stories, we want to reprogram the values and beliefs that drive behaviour among individuals. We want to inspire people to believe they can be so much more than they think if only they believe, we want to drive them to believe they have the power to influence their future.
The company’s Chief Operations Officer/Creative Director Tobe Ezeogu commented, “There is a lack of female heroes in the African scene in general. Girls don’t have heroines to look up to these days, rather they have celebrities of questionable character. What you end up with is a generic stereotype of the female gender. Girls are seen to others as delicate roses, and we say yes, females are roses, but roses have thorns and roses are tough not delicate. We wanted female characters that would become icons to the African girl growing up to give them something to aspire to that they too can be heroes and it’s not an all male field.”
photo source: Comic Republic