Scari, Il Piccolo Somalio is an Italian comic book that came out after the Italian War in Abyssinia in 1935-36. Translated as ‘Scar, the Little Somali’, Scari is an abbreviation of ‘Ascari’, the name given to colonial troops employed by the colonial powers at the time. Scari is fighting the evil Abyssinians and gets help from people that look like American cowboys and the setting for the stories can easily be confused with the American West. In fact, the comic shares space with another comic book hero called ‘Alan’ who is an American cowboy. The notion of pairing stories in Africa and the Wild American West is not uncommon and is seen even in the USA with Aunt Hannah’s Bread issuing 200 bread labels devoted to the theme of the American West and Africa. (on offer to TAMU as well). Like the Italian Empire, this comic book series had a limited run. This collection includes 8 out of perhaps 15 of the comics ever issued.
Tabu, El Vengador de los Esclavos. This is a Spanish comic book but without much in the way of cartoons inside. There are 2 or 3 pieces of artwork inside and the balance is all text. Tabu is the ‘avenger of the slaves’ as the comic book title states. Each comic shows him fighting to protect blacks and stand on the side of justice. The entire series takes place in America at the time of the Civil War. The comic is undated but appears from 1940’s.
Zembla, is a comic book that was published in both France and Italy and distributed in those countries as well as Switzerland, Canada, Morocco and Tunisia. The main hero is Zembla, a European version of the American Tarzan. He has a sidekick named YeYe (pronounced ‘YayYay’) who was a mascot of the US army in Africa. His unit was massacred in Kenya by Masai tribesmen. In the 4th issue Zembla finds YeYe injured and nurses him back to health and they become best friends. YeYe appears in all of the issues except for a final run, where Zembla takes on a new sidekick. YeYe continues to wear the MP helmet of a US military policeman and is always wearing a clock around his neck to remind him what time it is. In most issues Zembla is usually getting YeYe out of trouble, but in some cases it is YeYe who saves the day. The series ran during the 1960’s to 1970’s
Batouk, Le Roi de la Foret Vierge, is a French comic book that translates into Batouk, the King of the Virgin Forest. He is an African hero, fighting evil and dispensing justice. Each issue takes place in a different French colonial region of Africa, so in one issue he is with the Sultan of Sokoto, another with the Ashantis, another in Niger, Porto Novo and so on. This series, like Tabu and Zambo, underwent different makeovers of the main hero.
Zambo. This is an Italian comic book that ran from 1946-1947. ‘Zambo’ is an offshoot of ‘Sambo’. Zambo dispenses justice, along with his young son ‘Zimbi’, all over the world. Some of it is in real places (like Brooklyn) and some of it is fantasy. I have 20 issues, from 1946-1947. Interesting for researchers is that Zambo had three makeovers during this time. This collection encompasses all three manifestations of Zambo.