Art & LifeSocietyTrend hunter: Nigeria's superheroes are coming

Wed,28Jun2017

Posted on Friday, 11 December 2015 11:19

Trend hunter: Nigeria's superheroes are coming

By Oris Aigbokhaevbolo in Lagos

Photos© All rights reserved Since Comic-Con began in San Diego, California, in 1970, comic-book fan conventions have spread all over the world. Still, a few years ago Ayodele Elegba noticed that Nigeria's comic creatives had no outlet and, crucially, black comic characters were under-represented.

"No one believed in the artists and writers," he says. "It is a billion-dollar industry abroad and I thought I could make people notice the creative talent we have here."

All we need is visibility

 

Now the Lagos Comic Con that he founded is in its fourth year and has a growing following, with creators developing Nigerian and black characters to better represent their audience.

"All we need is visibility," says Jide Martin, whose Comic Republic publisher won three awards at the Lagos event in September, including Studio of the Year.

Characters from pan-African footballing comic Supa Strikas and The Indomitables dominate the continental industry. "I'd love to beat Marvel and DC," says Tope Akinsote, a new Comic Con participant. "Even if I can't, I must beat Supa Strikas or I won't publish."

Across the Atlantic, creators like Roye Okupe of YouNeek Studios are also working hard to put Nigeria and Lagos on the comic book map.

Okupe's graphic novel series E.X.O.: The Legend of Wale Williams is about a superhero who returns to his native Nigeria to solve the mystery of his father's disappearance and fight corruption. Okupe believes Nigeria can do what Japan did with manga if they can make enough noise about it.

And that's what Comic Con has begun to do by giving comic creators a platform for their work to be appreciated. "Four years ago," Martin says, "this place would have been empty."

Though there is still some way to go. The Cosplay competition in Lagos was won by a fan elaborately dressed as Kaguya Otsutsuki – cloak, horns and all – a character from the Japanese manga series Naruto.

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