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#SeunSays: Why Bane’s role In Knightfall saga may be overstated



Is Bane truly the mastermind behind Knightfall he is hailed as, or was he just an opportunist? A super-fan and columnist extraordinaire weighs in on the now-classic storyline.

By Seun Odukoya

The Knightfall saga is revered as one of the most iconic Batman storylines. It featured Batman as he is rarely seen; run ragged to his last breath, exhausted and broken – figuratively and literally – by the end of the run. It was a smash with readers worldwide for several reasons, one of which has been mentioned. A couple other reasons are; it was the reintroduction of a substance Batman had struggled with earlier in his career; venom, and it introduced the much-regarded Bane.

And while Knightfall was good storytelling, how great is its main antagonist, Bane?

Knightfall is the story of how Bane broke the ‘invincible’ Batman. Bane became interested in Batman when one of his prison mates in Pena Duro told him about his hometown Gotham and its indefatigable protector. As the legend of this Dark Knight was confirmed all over the prison, Bane decided that to be indeed feared by all men, he must take this Batman down.

And so it began…

Several issues later, Bane comes to Gotham and starts to monitor a Batman rapidly losing his edge and unable to focus. And he realizes…he is not strong enough to go against this man…this ubermensch. He realizes; The Batman is truly worth every word of his legend.

So what does he do? He breaks out every criminal from Arkham Asylum and watches as a sick, physically drained, and mentally exhausted Batman goes after them and takes them down one after the other. And even though, with every re-apprehended criminal, Batman draws nearer to his breaking point, he pushes through and apprehends every one of the criminals.

He nearly lost his mind twice – beating Victor ZsasZ nearly to death and then giving The Joker the same treatment. He repeatedly refused help from Tim Drake, keeping him on the sidelines on an observe-and-report mission. All of this, combined with his failing health, loss of focus, assumed mourning of his friend Superman, made him easy pickings for an unnaturally enhanced Bane.

So, what exactly is the ‘superhuman feat’ Bane executed that made him one of Batman’s better-revered foes? The only impressive thing (which is really not-so-impressive considering) is Bane figuring out that Bruce Wayne is the mask and Batman is the man’s real face. Everything else has been exaggerated, mostly because of the imposing sight on the last page of Batman #497 – Batman slammed across Bane’s knee – and the sound effects of his spine snapping like so much kindling.

Truth is, Batman lost that fight long before Bane showed up at the Wayne Mansion’s door that night. Another oft-ignored truth is that, despite Batman’s severely weakened state, Bane still had to dose up on Venom to beat Batman the way he did. How many times has he been able to take on Batman, in hand-to-hand combat since then? The only time he seems to have a clear upper hand – at least at the beginning – is when is he operating from the shadows and manipulating Batman, as can also be seen in the Rebirth storyline, I Am Bane.

Also, considering that Batman has been pushed to his physical and mental limits several times before, and by more spectacular opponents also begs the question – exactly what is it about Bane that makes him spoken about the way he is spoken about?

There is a story that happened several years earlier – a miniseries that took a closer look at what would happen if a criminal managed to break through the walls Batman guards his psyche with.

There is a story that happened several years earlier – a miniseries that took a closer look at what would happen if a criminal managed to break through the walls Batman guards his psyche with. Titled Batman: The Cult, the series introduced a villain known as Deacon Blackfire who has allegedly lived for centuries. This skilled and charismatic conman was able to build an army of the homeless in Gotham and hide them away in the sewers, with his ultimate goal being to take over the city.

Blackfire captured Batman who was investigating a series of grisly murders, brainwashed and drugged the Dark Knight, and recruited him to his cause. He even made Batman break his no-killing rule, a move that further haunted the Dark Knight and made him incapable of pursuing him – even after breaking his conditioning. Even the torture and drugging Batman went through at the hands of The Court of Owls in the Snyder/Capullo New 52 Batman run is more organic and creative than Bane simply seizing an opportunity at a convenient time.

There may be other moments, other triumphs in store for Bane, and he may have been a steroid-enhanced giant with genius intellect, an incredible threshold of pain, and amazing fighting skills. The distinction he is yet to truly earn, however, is the title of ‘the man who broke the bat’. There are definitely others more deserving of that title. Blackfire, for one.


Nommo Awards 2024: And the nominees are…



The shortlist for the African Speculative Fiction Society’s Nommo Awards 2024 was announced on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. The Nommo Awards celebrate science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction. Since 2016, the event has been an annual affair celebrating writers in the categories of Best Speculative Novel by an African, Best Speculative Novella by an African, Best Speculative Short Story by an African, and Best Graphic Novel/Comic by an African.

Nommo laurels have been clinched by Nnedi Okorafor, Tade Thompson, Akwaeke Emezi, Tochi Onyebuchi, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Nana Akosua Hanson, Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald, Innocent Chizaram Ilo, Suyi Davies Okungbowa, Wole Talabi, Nerine Dorman, T. L. Huchu, Pemi Aguda, among others.

The shortlist for the 2024 edition is as follows:


Bones and Runes, Stephen Embleton (Abibiman Publishing, 2022)

Dazzling, Chikodili Emelumadu (Hachette; Wildifre, Headline Publishing Group, 2023)

Don’t Answer when They Call Your Name, Ukamaka Olisakwe (Masobe Books, 2023)

Shigidi and the Brass Head of Olabufon, Wole Talabi (Gollancz and DAW Books, 2023)

Vagabonds!, Eloghosa Osunde (Harper Collins; 4th Estate and Riverhead Books, 2022)

Warrior of the Wind, Suyi Davies Okungbowa (Orbit Books, 2023)


Broken Paradise, Eugen Bacon (Luna Press Publishing, 2023)

Land of the Awaiting Birth, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki and Joshua Uchenna Omenga (from Between Dystopias: The Road to Afropantheology, SF & Fantasy, 2023)

The Lies of the Ajungo, Moses Ose Utomi (Tordotcom/Masobe, 2023)

Undulation, Stephen Embleton (from Mothersound: The Sauútiverse Anthology, 2023)

Short Story

A Name is a Plea and a Prophecy, Gabrielle Emem Harry (Strange Horizons 14 August, 2023)

Blackwater Children, Moustapha Mbacké Diop (Haven Speculative Fiction, Issue 7, Nov 2022)

Destiny Delayed, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Vol 46, May/June, 2022) Kɛrozin Lamp Kurfi by Victor Forna (Apex Magazine, 2023)

Like Stars Daring to Shine, Somto Ihezue (Fireside Fiction, July 2022)

Loom, Solomon Uhiara (Dark Matter Magazine No. 8, 2022)

My Mother’s Love, Naomi Eselojor (Hexagon Issue 10 / Fall, 2022)

Osimiri, Chinaza Eziaghighala (Fission #2: Volume 1, An Anthology of Stories from the British Science Fiction Association, BSFA & HWS Press, 2022)

The Way of Baa’gh, Cheryl S. Ntumy (Mothersound: The Sauútiverse Anthology, Android Press, 2023)

Graphic Novel

Die Strandloper, Daniël Hugo (Dream Press & Daniël Hugo, 2022)

Grimm’s Assistant, Mamode Ogbewele (Mode Comics, 2023)

WindMaker volume 1, Roye Okupe, Sunkanmi Akinboye, Toyin Ajetunmobi and Godwin Akpan (Dark Horse Comics, 2022)

The winners will be announced at a yet-to-be-disclosed venue and date.

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Countdown to Lagos Comic Convention 2023 begins



The yearly geek event is Nigeria’s most prominent, and this year promises to grow with more to showcase, and inspire.

By Mariam Abdullahi

The most-anticipated geek event in Nigeria, the Lagos Comic Convention, is set for a return. With just 10 days left, the one-day extravaganza will take place at Landmark Event Centre from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, the 23rd of September, 2023. As always, a star-studded list of Nigerian creators will be in attendance, with most of the companies and studios already billed to appear, or have a major corporate presence.

The attendance count for this remarkable event continues to grow each year, and GeekAfrique will update you on that as the figures become available. The prediction is that this year will be huge, as Nigeria continues to feature prominently on the global pop culture scene.

The theme for this year’s convention involves the rise of AI and concerns around its use, so it is bound to be interesting.

A short statement on the event’s official website reads: “Attending LCC is an exhilarating and unforgettable experience! Make the most of your weekend in Lagos, play and cosplay your way through the city with a variety of things to do. It’s time to get your geek on! We’re looking forward to welcoming you again to this edition of Lagos comic [convention].”

The attendance count for this remarkable event continues to grow each year, and GeekAfrique will update you on that as the figures become available. The prediction is that this year will be huge, as Nigeria continues to feature prominently on the global pop culture scene.

You can buy tickets in advance HERE.

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Why Nigerian comics are taking the world by storm



Over the past few years, Nigerian comic books have been making waves in the global comic book industry. From their unique storytelling style to their stunning artwork, are being celebrated for their authenticity. What’s the reason for this tour de force?

By Mariam Abdullahi

Nigerian comic books are breaking new ground in terms of representation. For years, the comic books available to readers have been dominated by Western superheroes, with little room for diversity. Nigerian comic books, on the other hand, showcase a wide range of characters, from traditional folklore heroes to contemporary superheroes. These characters are not only diverse in terms of race and ethnicity but also in terms of gender.

This diversity is refreshing and exciting, as it provides a space for underrepresented voices to be heard. One very good example is the YouNeek Universe’s array of titles, like ‘Malika’, ‘E.X.O’, and ‘Iyanu: Child of Wonder’ (currently being developed as an animated series for Cartoon Network). Most recently, Comic Republic was announced to have inked a deal with a major Hollywood production company to produce TV shows based on their line of comics.

There will be more international deals announced as they year goes on. After all, Nigerian comic books are celebrated for their unique storytelling style, known for their use of local languages, dialects, and colloquialisms. This approach not only adds authenticity to the stories but also creates a sense of familiarity for local audiences. Moreover, the use of folklore, mythology, and history provide a fresh perspective on African history and mythology.

They are also praised for their stunning artwork, with work by artists like Etubi Onucheyo, Jide Okonkwo, Mustapha Bulama, Kro Onimole, Chigozie Amadi, Bolaji Olaloye, Godwin Akpan, and many more. They are known for vibrant, colourful, and dynamic art styles, with visually stunning and unique styles that stand out.

For years, they have struggled to get their work recognized on a global scale, but thanks to tech and especially the internet, Nigerian creators now have an ever-widening platform to showcase their talents, and providing a space for them to tell their stories. These stunning comic books also play a vital role in promoting literacy and education. In a country where illiteracy rates are high, comic books provide an accessible and engaging way for people to learn.

Nigerian comic books and their creators often address social and political issues, making them an excellent tool for educating people on important issues. A couple of years ago, the works of writer/illustrator/cartoonist/editor Abdulkareem Baba Aminu were included in the award-winning anthology ‘The Most Important Comic Book On Earth’ alongside that of Alan Moore, John Wagner, Cara Delevingne, Charlie Adlard, and 300 other leading environmentalists, artists, authors, actors, filmmakers, and musicians.

Some Nigerian comic books are even available in local languages, making them accessible to a wider audience. There is also a number of publishers making giant strides, like Spoof!, Vortex, Epoch Comics, Comic Republic, and others. It’s safe to conclude that Nigerian comic books are changing the narrative of African storytelling, as attested to by the high quality of writers and creators, bringing out fresh and compelling stories, characters and concepts.

For too long, African stories have been told by outsiders. That is changing fast, with the rise in showcasing the richness and diversity of African cultures, challenging stereotypes, and promoting a more nuanced understanding of Africa. Overall, they are taking the world by storm for good reason, providing a space for underrepresented voices to be heard, promoting diversity, and showcasing Nigerian talent. As the global comic book industry continues to evolve, Nigerian comics are sure to play an increasingly important role in shaping its future.

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