IT may be 4500 miles away, but one writer has brought Scotland and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) together to create the first black Scottish superhero.

Growing up in the war-torn DRC, Etienne Kubwabo found his home in Scotland after moving here as a refugee.

The filmmaker and DJ went to Clydebank College to follow his passion for the arts and has been interested in superheroes ever since he was young.

Growing up though, superheroes didn’t always look like Kubwabo.

But now he is setting out to change that with his comic book Beats of War, which he says tells the story of Scotland’s first black superhero.

“Growing up I loved storytelling,” he says. “I remember I used to get into a lot of trouble from my parents after watching too much TV. I remember when I was young, trying to act out scenes from Spiderman or Superman.

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“When I moved to Scotland, coming from a country that’s affected by war, I wanted to share my view of my country, where I come from but I also wanted to pay homage to the country that I live in right now which is Scotland.

“The story is set in Glasgow, but the alien world where the superhero is from is a reflection of my home country.”

It follows the tale of how Scotland’s first black superhero battles with the country’s notorious razor gangs, with real Glasgow places used in the book.

And that’s not where the realism stops – even the characters are all based on real people.

He continues: “All the characters in my comic book are people who are alive right now or who I lost growing up. I wanted to keep those people alive.

“Scotland is my second home now, so I wanted to write something that was personal to me, that highlighted the stories of Scotland and where I grew up.

“I remember when I went to New York, people were saying when you think of Brooklyn you think of Spiderman. I want to bring that here so when you come to Scotland or Glasgow you think of that superhero that represents and stands for what’s right in your city.

“It’s really important to me because growing up I saw a lot of characters who didn’t look like me and I felt like I wanted to make one who represented people like me, who are black, who are Scottish, who people can look up to.”

The National:

As well as representing black Scots in comics, Kubwabo (above) is keen for Scots to learn more about his culture as the comic blends elements from Scotland and the DRC.

And it’s been well-received, with 5000 copies having already been sold – and largely through word of mouth and support from fans, Kubwabo says.

He adds: “I started writing it in 2018 but when Black Panther came out I saw how they paid homage to Africa that was when I thought let’s do something quite personal.

“But most people were still quite sceptical at the start so I gave out 500 copies for free but when they read it they shared it and recommended it to other people.

“And people have been enjoying it. Young black Scots love it. They say to me, ‘How come no one ever thought about this before?’”

Kubwabo is confident that change in terms of diversity within the comic world is happening and that the success of his book shows that.

“There is a huge change that is coming,” he says. “With how well my comic book has done, selling 5000 copies with minimal marketing, you can feel a change is coming.”

Those interested can find a digital or physical copy available at