Marvel’s Huge Success Black Panther in 2018, opened our eyes to the creative and commercial potential of Afrofuturism – a science fiction rooted in black cultural experience and black storytelling styles. This influence didn’t stop at the water’s edge: it echoed its ancestral lands, inspiring new efforts to bring local African visions to a global audience ready for exciting new content.
Several exciting new digital comic book efforts come from Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, an entertainment hub (“Nollywood” is the third largest film industry in the world) and a hotbed of rambling entrepreneurship. Because Nigeria can be a difficult market for foreigners to enter, much of the energy comes from local startups that go beyond legacy production and distribution methods, creating digital content for the mobile phones favored by the young population. .
Ayudeji Makinde is Founder / CEO of ComicsDI, a digital comic book startup producing several episodic webcomics in various genres including a thriller, Lagelu: the kingdom of the four hills, Duro, featuring a mythical hero and a pair of sci-fi stories, Futurology and Neri. He says the industry has grown tremendously over the past 20 years, with publishers springing up as the global footprint of comic book culture has spread to Africa through events like the Lagos Comic Convention.
“I go to Lagos Comic Con every year,” says Makinde. “There are so many comic book brands, it’s great.
He believes the growing global popularity of Afrofuturism is giving a boost to indigenous creators steeped in the cultures of the continent. “African Afrofuturism has the same attitudes and principles [as diaspora styles], “he said.” It’s a combination of fantasy and culture, forward-looking Africans. Coming from here, our understanding of culture is different. We can craft it from our perspective, with our unique voice.
“We believe that African comics and fiction represent the future of global storytelling in mainstream media,” said Somto Ajuluchukwu, Founder and CEO of Vortex247, another Nigerian publisher and digital comic market specializing in mythical fantasy (Land of the Gods), horror / mystery (Folk tales) and superhero comics (Captain South Africa) from across the continent.
“We hope to be a driving force and a platform for this new era of entertainment content and create not only opportunities for individual creators with outstanding comics, but a marketplace that would create an industry for young creators to. monetize their stories and develop a fan base using our comics as a tool to export African culture and globalize our Afro lifestyle, ”says Ajuluchukwu.
Like their counterparts in the United States and around the world, Nigerian comic book publishers have an eye on advancing their own medium with beautifully drawn and well-told stories and memorable characters, and an eye on more media potential. wide of the cartoon. Proximity to one of Africa’s largest film production centers helps, although many Nollywood feature films rely heavily on drama, action, and practical effects without the big budgets that propel blockbusters. Hollywood.
“We are currently in conversation with a few producers in Nollywood and South Africa about some adaptations, but most are still in development for television,” Ajuluchukwu said. “We also recently pitched successfully an Italy-based mobile game studio that would adapt one of our VX Originals for an IOS mobile game.”
With animation becoming a growth industry across the continent, some properties are selected to be developed as series or functionality. One of the highlights of the Lagos Comic Book Convention 2019 was an animated trailer for Malika: warrior queen – a popular graphic novel by Roye Okupe – from Lagos Anthill Studios.
So far, the biggest problems are finance and infrastructure. Nigeria remains a difficult place to do business, although increased access to global online financing and distribution platforms is starting to help local creators and businesses reach a wider audience.
“We have the skills, we have the creativity,” says Makinde. “Things are dragging on because of financial problems, but creativity? The creativity is there.