’Africa should be shared with the world’: What it takes to be an African in the comic book industry
Cape Town - Comic Con Africa’s (virtual) stage is set and the (online) show must go on.
The online hub was ablaze as thousands from all parts of the world joined to get in touch with their geeky side.
In a panel discussion, top African comic book creators discussed the importance of having a voice in the industry. They were hosted by Kudzai Ngundu of AfroTokyo and Ziyaad Rahman of Awali Comics.
Somto Ajuluchukwu of VX Animation\ Vortex247 emphasised he importance of reaching out to communities through the work. “What people need to understand is that Africa is not one location. It’s important for us to reach out to communities because what we sell is diversity. We aim to put African comics on the same table as the other comics you have been reading. Don’t get me wrong, I am pro-African but I have an understanding that Africa should be shared on a global stage.”
“African content is extremely commercial. It’s not only for black people, it’s for everyone. We don’t need to change it (our work). We just just need to put it out there. We are not trying to alienate outselves. We are making a force and put it out in the world.”
Ajuluchukwu added that aspiring creators need tenacity for the industry.
Manuel Godoy of Black Sands Entertainment said the comic books are all about the message.
“You know, 55% of my fanbase don’t read comic books. It’s for their kids. It’s about the message. It is to make them aware of what is out there. If anything tech giants have taught us, is that you don’t need them. You can just take over. You just need momentum.”
His wife Geiszel Godoy added that Black Sands is something they were very proud of.
“From having being a military vet, we have a dedicated mindset. We were very passionate about it and Black Sands really took off.”
Manuel added that one thing that “messes artists up is ’clout-chasing’.
“Clout-chasing has really messed people up. If you make a mistake that costs you thousands, you don’t do it again. We don'’ sell in comic book stores. Why? Because that is chasing clout. The others can do a five-dollar comic but you can’t because you are independent.”
Teunis De Raat, also from Black Sands Entertainment added on to Godoy’s point.
“Bring the product directly to the customer and cut out the middle man. If you have questions like ’Why won’t Disney do this, why won’t have Netlix do that’, scrap that because they don’t want it. They wont have it.”