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- the comic book industry is having a resurgence and there’s more talent, content and creativity than ever before.
In the 1980’s, comics in Nigeria were actually a bit of a big thing. With series like ‘Ikebe Super’ and ‘Papa Ajasco and Company’ from wale adeunga’s line of production. After Adenuga left and others like nackson from lolly magazine folded up, the industry became virtually non-existent in the 90’s. then came super striker in 2002 and it appeared Nigeria had a rising comic industry yet again. But unfortunately, that was not true, outside of super striker, there wasn’t any other comics or comic book series that really stayed as a mainstay in society. However, all that has begun to change in the last few years. With the rise of comic book publishers like comic republic and epoch studios, along with comic conventions like the lagos comic con, things have begun to change. In the last 4 months of 2018 alone, lagos had 3 different comic cons that drew thousands of fans together to celebrate comics. With more people starting to become aware and interested in comics, more comic book publishers have sprung up and now, in 2019, there are more comics, publishers, talent and vendors than ever before.
- new dawn creatives, the publisher of the ‘drifters’ series, are a locally grown company based here and overseas.
I mentioned earlier that there are more comic publishers in the market than ever before. One of those new publishers, is new dawn creatives. According to founder and creative director, Joshua Kasali, ndc is a comic book company that has dreams of reaching the entire world. The unique thing about the company is that while it’s primary market is here in Nigeria, they want the market for their stories to be global and show the world that great relatable stories come out of this part of the world.
- ‘drifters’ is an action/adventure story, but it has other genre’s like drama, romance and comedy mixed in.
One of the things I love about the series so far, is that although there is plenty of amazing action, there are other elements in the storyline that make it a complete story. Joshua Kasali took his time in a building a world that he teases more and more of in every issue (giving it an adventurous feel) and he also puts the characters in dramatic situations that reveal and grow their characters. And of course, you can already see the seeds of couples and romance being thrown in there. This is going to be a fun story for years to come.
- it doesn’t focus on just ‘gimmicks’ or flashy scenes, it focuses on story and the characters.
As someone who ahs read many comics (nigerian, American and even Japanese), I know that a lot of comics focus on the super heroic powers or flashy displays. It’s not that I mind that stuff, I just like them more when there’s a good engaging story to go along with it. That’s exactly what you get with drifters. Like I said earlier, it focuses on the story, making all the fights and flashy scenes more relevant.
- It isn’t your average ‘superhero’ comic book.
Drifters isn’t your average superhero comic. in fact, it’s not a superhero comic at all. Sure, there are fictional worlds and supernatural abilities, but the story is devoid of the standard superhero tropes that have been in comics for almost 80 years (the awkward looking tights and spandex, the brawny good character vs the evil supervillain, etc). The story focuses on the life and journey of 14-year old theo adams as he goes to a completely new world (one that has quite a few similarities to 20th century Africa) and has to learn things about himself and this new world that he ever knew were possible.
- the series, drifters, isn’t too mature for teens and pre-teens, but it does contain enough mature and thought-provoking content for readers of all ages.
A very popular misconception about comics here in this part of the world is that they are strictly meant for kids. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, I would argue that most comic book content (worldwide) in general is becoming geared towards mature adults. The great thing about drifters is that it doesn’t contain graphic mature scenes, but it does have mature themes mixed in the storyline. This means that the series is one that a 12 or 13-year-old can get into but also one that a 30-year-old can pick up and enjoy his spare time. As one international comic reviewer (fanbasepress.net) put it, “while at first glance a sci-fi alternate world story, Kasali casually addresses classicism, long-standing colonialism, and ethnic heritage, all the while couching it in the garb of family and duty”.
- It’s the only active Nigerian comic book title that is a monthly serialization.
We’ve already talked about how the industry is starting to bubble up again in Nigeria. That said, it’s still growing and it’s incredibly difficult from a financial perspective to come out with new content often. Which is makes in incredible that ndc brings out new issues of drifters every month. That also makes it easier to get into the story and become immersed in that world. Even more impressive is that they average 26-27 pages of content every month. They’ve released up to Issue 5 and the Issue 6 should be out in less than 3 weeks.
- it could lead to big breakthroughs in not just the comic industry but also the animation and gaming industry.
According to Joshua Kasali, the series’ writer, drifters is a story told to one day become an animated or live-action tv series. He understands there are numerous opportunities for that both overseas and here in Nigeria as well. He’s also well aware that for that to happen, the series needs to establish a large strong fan base which is why he’s put a lot of work into crafting a good story with an eye on the tv series adaptation in the not-too-distant future. Being an action/adventure story, it also has real potential for being a hit with gamers in the future.
- Drifters boasts a diverse set of characters making it relatable to everyone.
One of the best things to me about the series, is that there is true diversity in the comic. It doesn’t feel forced and done just to pander to a minority, nothing like that. Yes, the main protagonist is a white guy from America, but the premise of the story literally makes him go to a world filled with people who don’t look like him and are from a different culture. Part of his challenge is making friends with the other main characters dreads and arvia (a black guy a black girl). Arvia in particular could be characterized as a strong female main character but ndc simply writes her that way and doesn’t feel to need to push her as such. I personally love that because it feels more organic. Also, beyond gender and race, the characters come in a wide variety of ages and as we all know, each age group comes with its own unique set of challenges that ndc is sure to focus on in the story for years to come.
- The issues are everywhere and are easy to find.
The best ability is availability. The issues are in several bookstores within lagos so the books are never too far away if you stay within the city. Don’t stay in the city? That’s okay because the books are available on their website (digital and softcover versions). According to NDC, they have big plans to make the books available in many more locations both here in nigeria, and overseas.