Since its launch in 1992, Bitterkomix has adapted to the evolving socio-political landscape in South Africa. It has explored a wide range of narratives and topics, including eroticism and violence, and various philosophical elements such as feminism, post-colonialism, and the like. This comic book is still intermittently published, with 19 issues currently in existence, along with multiple associated publications and side projects, such as Lag-Lag. In short, Bitterkomix challenges political and institutional censorship in South Africa by deconstructing stereotypes related to gender, sexuality, race, tradition, religion, and more.
The co-founders of Bitterkomix, Anton Kannemeyer (known as Joe Dog) and Conrad Botes (Konradski), have embraced an irreverent approach in their language and style. Over the past three decades, they have crafted a dark and caustic critique of mainstream conservative Afrikaner cultural norms. Despite their strong roots and ancestral ties to traditional Afrikaner culture, both artists employ hyperbole, satire, analogy, and parody to challenge past and present power structures in South Africa. Bitterkomix references various historical and contemporary social and political issues, delivering a biting critique of the conservative establishment, particularly the deeply entrenched Afrikaner ideologies that persistently contribute to ignorance, ineptitude, and bigotry in South Africa, echoing back to the Apartheid era.
Bitterkomix has consistently faced criticism for its approach, which thrives on eliciting reactions. In an era marked by growing nationalism and conservatism, concepts such as hyperbole, satire, parody, metaphor, and even appropriation have become progressively challenging for people to comprehend. This conservative environment, where almost anything can be deemed offensive, highlights a lack of lateral, abstract, or sound critical thinking skills. So, ironically, Bitterkomix is often seen as offensive by perceived liberals as well as conservatives, who seem to misunderstand the deeper meanings and underlying concepts innate to these comics.