SINCE the release of “Black Panther”, a film based on a Marvel comic, internet searches for African travel have spiked. But those seeking the African kingdom over which the titular superhero reigns will be disappointed. Wakanda does not exist, unless one counts a water park of that name in Wisconsin.

Africa has been affected in more tangible ways by “Black Panther”, which has a predominantly black cast and is one of the highest-grossing superhero movies of all time. Its popularity extends to the continent, where filmgoers from Lagos to Nairobi dress in Afro-futurist garb for screenings. Fashion designers have received a boost from the film’s distinctive mix of traditional and contemporary African styles.

African comic-book artists are perhaps the biggest beneficiaries. Take “Kwezi”, a comic by Loyiso Mkize about a South African superhero who battles baddies in Gold City, a proxy for Johannesburg. Kwezi is a cocky teenager, but as his powers grow he draws closer to his ancestors and embraces his heritage. South Africans love it; bookshops sell out fast. At one in Johannesburg, customers demand versions in Zulu and Xhosa (which, incidentally, is what Wakandans speak in the film). “Our superhero”, says a display box.

Bill Masuku, the Zimbabwean creator of a comic about a vigilante superhero called Razor-Man, says “Black Panther” has made it easier to market his work in a part of the world where geek culture is unfamiliar. More interest has come from comic fans in America and Europe, who are curious about the African scene. The team behind “Kugali”, a slick anthology of African comics due out in June, is hoping the enthusiasm lasts.

It probably will. Nnedi Okorafor, a Nigerian-American writer, has been commissioned to write a comic series titled “Wakanda Forever”, about the king’s all-female bodyguards. Black Panther will also appear in the next Marvel movie, due out in April. That isn’t soon enough for Nollywood, Nigeria’s film industry. Cheesy spin-offs are already circulating. One, also called “Wakanda Forever”, is set in a Nigerian village. It lacks the technological splendour of the Marvel universe. But the crowing roosters give it an air of authenticity.