2018 was a great year and 2019 is off to an energetic start. As our first post of 2019, it makes sense to recap some of the highlights and downsides of 2018 and to also share some exciting things we have planned and are looking forward to this year.
In 2018, you may have noticed that we silently transitioned from our free WordPress subdomain, squidmag.wordpress.com to thesquidmag.com. This was a big move for us. It meant we had taken things more seriously and we put in more effort with our content.
Speaking of content, there were six highlights from last year.
1. The Geeks Core
Adu Boahene of The Geeks Core contributed a post to Squid Mag. This was an essay on Black Panther (just when it came out), African Comics and The Geeks Core nerd collective. That was a powerful article that documented how some Ghanaian (and by extension African) geeks felt about the Black Panther movie and what it meant for the future.
2. African Women in Comics
The second was our post on African Women in Comics everyone should know about. That was widely circulated. We had several sites linking back to us which is great for us and the industry, people get to know about us and the amazing people making magic in Africa in terms of comics. Two of the people on that list helped greatly with the post’s reach. Jepchumba on African Digital Art and Nnedi Okorafor on Twitter.
3. Cartoon Network Creative Lab Interview
The third was our interview with Ariane Suveg of Turner Kids on Cartoon Network’s Creative Lab initiative. In that interview, conducted by Cassandra Mark, we learned about Cartoon Network’s intentions, plans for Africa, opinions on African animated content and more about the competition. A big thank you to Comfort Arthur (Festival Director, Fupi Toons) and Nick Wilson (Head of Content & Projects at Africa Animation Network) for making that interview happen.
4. Decoding Booze High Feature
Poka is undeniably the king of animated music videos in Africa, his prolific repertoire being proof. We did a feature on his video for Ghanaian musician Worlasi’s Booze High song. The video was a fun homage to Japanese anime, mixed with very Ghanaian elements we loved. Decoding Booze High was every bit fun and revealing and we hope to do more of those this year.
5. Life Lessons From Video Games
We haven’t done much in the way of games over the years. Last year, we featured a guest post by Doctor Charles. It was a personal, passionate write up about invaluable life lessons one can get from playing video games. That post is likely the most emotional post we’ve ever had on Squid Mag. Don’t take our word for it. Kindly read 5 Unique Life Lessons Video Games Have Taught Me and decide for yourself.
6. The Comics Meltdown Group
We got to interview The Comics Meltdown Group, perhaps the biggest online forum for African geeks. In that interview, we learned about the origins of the group, what it means to be a nerd in Nigeria and what other African countries could learn from it and a whole lot that’ll require another post to get into.
Bonus: Squid Alley
We also had a blast with Squid Alley last year with Kaz, Shika, ed. and Louis Lubega. Squid Alley is our easygoing interview series with African creatives across many disciplines, animation, graphic design, illustration, comics and so on. We’re coming back stronger this year with several interviews already done and dusted!
Events & Partnerships
In 2018, we participated in 3 major events preaching the gospel of African comics and animation.We were at the MESH Creative Confab, dEX Artmosphere and the second Pa Gya Literary Festival, all in Accra. Towards the end of September, Kadi Yao Tay, lead writer and editor-in-chief was in Bristol for the Encounters Film Festival as part of a delegation from the Accra Animation Film Festival (AAFFia). Kadi is AAFFia’s Festival Producer and was on the trip to not only showcase African animation but network and learn as well.
We also partnered with Africa Animation Network and by extension, Animation Magazine to provide timely African news on animation, video games, comics and all the cool stuff that makes us tick. This partnership was also facilitated by the dream team of Comfort Arthur and Nick Wilson.
Lowlights & Lessons
Everyone falls down. Getting back up is how you learn how to walk.Walt Disney
Our transition to thesquidmag.com was mentioned earlier on. But that’s not where you are right now. Sometime before the start of October, we lost our domain name and content. We got our domain name back but struggled dearly to recover our content. We were devastated. All that hard work, creating content, published and drafts; our SEO juice, our marketing and branding materials; all of it gone!
Boy have we learned and are ready to fly! We got a new domain, squidmag.ink. This is something we had considered before but dismissed based on “expert” advice. We not only got a new domain, but we also switched up the look too.
We were blessed too to recover about 80% of our content that we thankfully had in our Google Docs drafts, shared to our Medium or had archived on the Way Back Machine (this was such a blessing)! We also got more hands-on with our site management and essentially eliminated the middleman. We learned this the hard way and we’re grateful.
To Infinity and Beyond
We’ve also started a few inactive domains. These are the Squid Mag Shop, where comics, geek merch, design assets (in collaboration with ed) and more will be sold; the Squid Mag Database, to continue where Kugali left off and Squid Mag Stories, where we’ll be posting stories we think will make great comics and animation in the hopes that this will foster discovery and collaboration between artists and authors.
We have a few things planned this year that we can’t wait to show you. We obviously can’t share them just yet but you should be expectant. Subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss a thing. Alternatively, click on the red bell icon on the bottom-right of this page to subscribe to the site so you’re notified immediately we post anything. Also follow us on social media – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr – to see what we’re up to.
We’re grateful to everyone who rooted for us, by visiting the website, signing up to our newsletter, sharing our content, following us and even those who screwed us over.
Cheers to the new year and in honour of Stan Lee, Excelsior!