Comic book creator combines storytelling and football passions

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FORT WAYNE, Indiana (AP) – Growing up in Malawi, Mzatiwathu Banda used to do little comics as a child.

He would draw the books in the anime style of “Dragon Ball” and write his own stories. His mother hated it.

Apparently, like most childhood interests, her mother only needed to wait a bit before Banda gave up on the idea. Once in high school, Banda got interested in sports and realized that “writing doesn’t make me women. And I stopped, “he says.

But that childhood interest in comics turned out to be different from playing the trombone, roller disco, or starting a garage band. Rather, it became a renewed passion following a tragic event in his life.

Banda was hacked with a machete in a night robbery by two men while in his second year in high school. “I almost died,” says Banda.

In addition to his injuries, Banda also developed malaria during this time.

Surprisingly, the 22-year-old, who has a big smile and an easy laugh, casually talks about the event. He even points out the scars on his head, arm, and shoulder during a Zoom call while sitting in his Fort Wayne apartment.

But the fact that he almost died is not lost on Banda.

“When I got out of that, I was grateful for having lived and grateful for life. So I started writing again.

This resulted in “Eye x Foot”, a self-published manga in a Japanese comic book style.

He came up with the idea after realizing that if there were any animated books on basketball and other sports, there was nothing for football.

The book focuses on two players – Keisuke and Dieudonné – who use their skills to work together to win futsal, a football-like game played mostly indoors on a hard pitch smaller than a soccer field.

As Banda describes, Keisuke is better able to think about the path around the court – the eye, while Dieudonné is better with the fundamentals – the foot.

The first chapter of the book was released on Amazon in December, and Banda is working on additional chapters. So far he has written 30.

The theme of the book is that the characters are trying to figure out who they are, something Banda must have discovered in his own life.

In fact, the story is filled with characters inspired by people in Banda’s life, including himself. The main character has Banda’s middle name Dieudonné and is based on Banda, while Keisuke is modeled after his best friend from high school. Even the Peaches dog is remembered by his dog at home.

The book was # 11 in the Sports Manga category on Amazon in the first month of its release and has sold over 200 copies.

Banda arrived in the United States in 2017 to study at Huntington University, where he graduated in May with a degree in Marketing and Management. In Huntington, Banda played football for four years. His passion for the game is evident in “Eye x Foot”.

But Banda admits playing football was obvious to him because it is “the” sport at home. “(Young boys) eat, breathe, poop, sleep football from birth,” Banda says.

When the students were sent home last year due to the pandemic, Banda had time to work on the book. He took the pandemic relief money he received from college and hired an artist to draw the book. He also spent the summer editing the chapters.

The goal is to publish a new chapter online every few months.

Banda is now waiting for his government work card to be able to use his diploma. And although he hopes to work for a marketing company, his real hope is for the manga book to take off.

It was difficult for him because he has not seen his mother, siblings or grandparents for four years.

It was another ordeal he had to overcome to see his dreams come true.

While there is no doubt that his main goal is to make money and achieve “Eye x Foot” success, he also wants the book to be a sign for others to pursue their dream and passion, whatever. the difficulties they face.

Oh, what about attracting women with his handwriting? Well, it still hasn’t happened, Banda says, but he’s working on it.

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Source: The (Fort Wayne) Journal Gazette

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