News Brief

Marvel's First Nigerian Superhero, Penned by Nnedi Okorafor, Is Inspired by the Chibok Girls

The Lagos-based comic "Blessing In Disguise" introduces Marvel's first Nigerian superhero.

Last month it was announced that award-winning Nigerian sci-fi author, Nnedi Okorafor would pen a Lagos-based comic for Marvel, inspired by the over 200 Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram in 2014.


The comic, entitled "Blessing in Disguise" introduces Marvel's first Nigerian superhero, Ngozi to the Venomverse. She's a recurring character in the series, along with the series more seasoned favorites like Black Panther, Venom, Deadpool and more, reports Reuters.

The short story is the first Marvel comic to be set in a real African city. As we pointed out earlier today, Wakanda, where Black Panther is set, is not a real place.

Okorafor hopes that the character will resonate with readers, and inspire a spirit of tenacity in young girls.

"It was an important decision for me to base Ngozi on the one of the Chibok girls," Okorafor tells the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"They were normal girls who suddenly had to deal with a huge change in their lives...and their story of perseverance is so powerful," Okorafor adds. "Like many Nigerian girls, Ngozi comes in a small package but is strong-willed and determined."

Okorafor wrote the title in response to the lack of nuanced representation she found in the superhero world.

"I'm a huge Wonder Woman fan, but we can really push it further when it comes to diversity," she continues.

"I'm not just talking about race and sexual orientation, but about having a range of personalities with different desires, dreams and flaws. I don't only want to see badass female characters, I want to see much less predictable ones."

The latest Venomverse installment  is available now. Get a preview of "Blessing In Disguise" via Okorafor's Twitter, below.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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