Algerian manga artist Fella Matougui, 18, with some of her comics in Algiers.
Manga is flourishing in Algeria. It is a massively popular book form that originated in Japan where it became a cultural phenomenon. Now manga is flourishing in Algeria as well.
“The Algerian manga is our trademark,” said Salim Brahimi proudly. “It’s what we call DZ manga.”
He is the founder of Z-Link, Algeria’s first publisher of manga. And Z-Link’s manga are 100% Algerian, from the drawings to the text. Published in French, colloquial Arabic and soon in north Africa’s Berber language, DZ manga has put a distinctly localised stamp on the form, and the comics are flying off the shelves.
“We are printing 3,000 copies per title,” said Kamal Bahloul, Z-Link’s representative at a book festival in the eastern city of Tizi Ouzou.
“In 2008, 40% of our print run was sold against 70% today,” he added. Since its launch in 2007, Z-Link has been increasing its catalogue and its staff.
”When we started this adventure there were just two of us,” said Kamal.
“Now we have nearly 30 employees. We are growing 5% on average every year.”
In 2008, a year after Salim co-founded Z-Link, he launched a key weapon in its marketing armoury: Laabstore magazine, a monthly review of Algeria’s burgeoning manga, cinema and video game scene.