June XII is the title and lead character in Ibrahim “Sirgai” Ganiyu’s comic. June XII marks the first elections after the 1983 military coup that resulted in the widely acknowledged victory of Moshood Abiola in 1993 and subsequently, its annulment by Ibrahim Babaginda and eventually, General Sonny Abacha’s coup.
The day is celebrated by some in pro-Abiola states. In a 2013 interview with Vanguard, Senator Roland Owie argued that, while the elections were free and fair, the events leading to Abiola’s candidature and presumed victory weren’t as rosy. That notwithstanding, the day stands as a herald of Nigerian democracy and some have even hailed it as Nigeria’s true democracy day. This is most likely Sirgai’s inspiration for the comic and we’re grateful for the birth of a living corruption eraser.
On the twenty-third anniversary of the day that spurred the comic, we share our thoughts.
COMIC REPUBLIC are legit, one mega comic force to reckon with on the continent. Spawning characters such as Guardian Prime who, at first glance, seems like a superman copy but is many leagues different, to Eru, the manifestation of fear to Jade Waziri, a hardened, no-nonsense commander, these guys know their stuff. Continue reading →
Ghanaian investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas in 2011 together with a local journalist and an activist released a documentary that showed harrowing visuals of the ordeal of Albinos in Tanzania, who are believed to be vested with magical power. According to an Al- Jazeera article on the documentary, for some people, “a white-skinned African person is seen as a kind of phantom or ghost, who rather than die, will dissolve or disappear with the wind and rain”. Continue reading →
You’re walking down the street when you hear something loud from behind you with such force that your hairs briefly rise in alarm. Instinct kicks in and you step to the side then look behind you. You kiss your teeth, smirk and amusingly scold yourself for the silly scare. In fact, you look on nostalgically as a bunch of kids zoom past you in what looks like a wheelbarrow race but really is just them pushing old car tires with sticks in them, sometimes with water for lubrication.
Tire x Sticks Illustrated by Okyne Taylor
The unburdened excitement plastered on their faces stirs something within you. Ah, childhood memories. Then you wonder, what if? Continue reading →
I interpreted “Africa is the greatest ghost writer of all time” wrongly the first time, thinking it alluded to the phenomena of having our narratives told by other cultures. Dissecting the phrase further led to an epiphany that the continent is the foundation of many of the world’s stories, many of such (remove second stories)stories that too often refuse to acknowledge her as their muse. Looking at it again, this new understanding doesn’t stray too far from the original. Other people are after all telling our stories while we take a most unprofitable backseat trunk rest.
I love comics at heart. I know this because I’m online everyday looking for them. But not the kind you’re thinking. There’s an overwhelming pool of content from established names like DC, Marvel and DarkHorse, each telling stories well suited to specific demographics. Stories that while beautiful and easily relatable, are strange and so distant from us. I scour the internet for entirely African created content and while there are quite a few, I’ve noticed a problematic trend. Nigeria has sort of become the locus of African comics, superhero titles anyway.
Growing up, African comics were quite rare. My most vivid recollection is the late Frank Odoi’s Akhokhan appearing next to other western-imported comic strips in the Daily Graphic newspaper. Thanks to the digital age and new media, however, no one will have to suffer a dearth of African- created comics as many are now free to download or inexpensive to purchase.
An evolving band of African artists are giving breath to ink and comics are springing up all over the place, either by teams or solo illustrators. These artists are helping build an impressive library of continental comics on life, imagination, desires and the future. I’ve composed a list of contemporary comics that weave together stories that embody many of the traditions, myths and realities that many Africans experience or can readily identify.
Below are 8 African comics you should know about.
South African super teen, Kwezi. Illustrated by Loyiso Mkize
Kwezi is the story of a narcissistic South African teen with extraordinary gifts. A bit of a trickster figure, his superhero strengths allow him to take on the bad guys which he documents quite avidly on social media, occasionally, stepping on the toes of the local authorities. It’s all fun and games for Kwezi until an imposing nomad pays a visit and sets the teenager on a new adventure to discover his purpose and understand his gifts in preparation for a great new responsibility. Check out the first issue here. Continue reading →
The hashtag, #50DaysOfCharacterSketch created by prolific Nigerian artist, Collyde Prime and his company of creative virtuosos is a leaf right out of comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s hack to excellence, “don’t break the chain”.
The aim is to post an illustration of an original character bearing no semblance to popular and ubiquitous superheroes, every day, for 50 days, in whatever medium (digital, ink, pencil etc.) on social media. Open to everyone, it is an effort to promote African art, polish up skills, gain new ones, have fun and most importantly, reap the benefits of ten thousand hours (1200 actually).
Check out some illustrations from the project so far.
Trippy – Collyde Prime x Balox
Goddess – Stanley Stanch Obende
Snake Girl – Adeleye Yusuf
The Drummer – Dominic Oziren Omoarukhe
Warrior Within – Alan Osayi
Mutant Chaos – Havilah Agada
Labour of Heroes Past – Anama Drew
You can also watch Collyde Prime’s comic animation below.