2019 was phenomenal and 2020 is off to an awesome start. As our first post of 2019, it’s good to recap some of the highs and lows from 2019 and also share some of the things we’re looking forward to this year.
First up, thank you for being with us. Knowing you’re checking in on the site to see what’s new in comics, animation and digital art in Africa is all the motivation we need to keep moving forward.
Speaking of moving forward, in 2018, we silently transitioned from squidmag.wordpress.com to thesquidmag.com. Things didn’t go as planned with thesquidmag.com sadly. We nearly lost all our content. 😱But in October 2019, we moved to a fresh and funkier domain, squidmag.ink and that’s where all the action is going to be from hence.😋
The Highs of 2019
In 2019, Tobi Oluwafemi joined our team as a contributor and we couldn’t be more ecstatic. Allow me a moment to thank my team consisting of Tobi, Cassandra Mark and Kofi Sydney Asare as well as Elizabeth Johnson and Martin Egbelewogbe, Temidayo Osinubi (for Pa Gya 2019), Bill Masuku, Lara Pretson and everyone who made 2019 possible. We’re excited to see where we go as a team and a family.
We also started two initiatives we’re really proud of: Squid CoW and Bahari Blue. We also put out a number of posts that showed the growth of comics and animation in Africa. We’ve highlighted a few below.
Squid Cow (CoW is short for Comic of the Week) is our fun and very casual review of African comics every week. So far, we’ve only covered two comics, Danfo by TAG Comics and Tatashe by Comic Republic. We’re really pleased with the format and have figured out how to be consistent with it this year. We can’t wait to cover 52 more comics in 2020.
Bahari Blue is our way of showcasing the thousands of amazing digital artists from Africa. It’s less reading for you and more art to behold. Think of it as a portfolio showcase of our favorite artists. Bahari Blue is curated by myself and Kofi Asare Sydney, together with Nigerian illustrator Bolaji Olaloye. We’ve covered Juni Ba, Salim Busuru, Malcolm Carter Wope, Venus Bambisa, Natasha Nayo, Kofi Ofosu, Poka Arts and even more. Check out all our Bahari Blue posts.
Who’s Making Comics in Ghana & Nigeria?
We put out two listicles about the studios and individuals making a comic industry in Africa a possibility. These posts showed us why Nigeria is the comic capital of Africa, boasting 20 plus comic studios alone, and several indie creators as well. Ghana, on the other hand, had more indie creators than established studios. We’ll expand this into other territories as well. We’re aiming for Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Cameroon. Check out who’s making comics in Ghana and the comic studios in Nigeria.
Free African Comics
Finding free African comics to read can be tedious if you don’t know where to look. There are lots of free comics on the internet but they’re scattered on publisher’s websites, or in obscure Google Drive links that you’ll only find if you follow specific artists. That’s a lot of stress. We don’t like stress so we created this page where you can get all the free African comics you need. It’s a tall list and we’ve barely even scratched the surface. We’re constantly updating it with new comics as we discover them. Go check it out here.
African Animated Music Videos
We love music and we love animation. Animated music videos are a feast for the eyes and well, music to the ears. We wanted a space where we could easily find African animated music videos. There wasn’t any we liked so we created our own. Go check it out and get grooving.
Accra Animation Film Festival 2019
We’re proud to have helped make this happen. Together with the amazing partners, especially Basecamp Initiative and Lime & Honey, we joined forces with the Accra Animation Film Festival team (which is actually Kadi and Diana Rosu) to make the maiden edition possible. It was a kickass event with some fantastic programming at a dope venue and with very pretty visuals thanks to ed. and the Lime & Honey team. We can’t wait for AAFFia 2020.
We repurposed Natasha Nayo’s presentation of African women in animation into this lovely post you should absolutely check out if you’re curious about the women making big moves in animation in Africa.
Africa is the focus territory at Annecy 2020. In light of this, we had several stakeholders in the African animation industry share their thoughts on what this means for African animation. There are some amazing insights to be gleaned from that post in connection with Annecy and even beyond it. Check it out here.
Pa Gya! A Literary Festival in Accra
We were at Pa Gya for the third time last year and we had our best session yet. A comics cafe, roundtable discussion, an exhibition, delicious free drinks, a panel discussion and workshops, Pa Gya 2019 was a blast for us. We can’t wait to do the fourth version.
Adulting is hard. Everyone is busy surviving so it’s been incredibly difficult covering what’s happening in comics and animation on the continent consistently. We promise to do better this year.
We’ve not made a lot of progress on the Squid Mag Database, to continue where the Kugali database left off. I hate to say it but, adulting really is the villain. If you’re a superhero looking to save our asses by helping us curate and upload info into the Squid Mag database, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The same goes for 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.
Doing Better + More
We aim to do more this year by way of travelling across the continent to cover as much as we can. Fingers crossed we can pull this off. We’re also looking at different revenue models to help us stay afloat and kick adulting in the face in order to serve you the latest happenings in comics and animation and games this year.
Labari Media Group
Squid Mag is also joining Labari Media Group, an experiment by Joseph Albert Kuuire of Technova Ghana to change the landscape of content creation in Ghana. We’ve partnered up with some amazing content creators in Ghana such as CulArtBlog (music), Harmattan Rain (music), AccraWeDey (lifestyle), Unordinary (women & lifestyle) and Technova Gh (technology). This will be fun and we can’t wait to ride! Read about it here.
We have a few more 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 to the right of this page to subscribe to the site so you’re notified immediately we post anything.
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 perfect sight, we say, here’s to Vision 2020!