2018 will forever be remembered as the year comic book legend and king of movie cameos, Stan Lee passed away. Last year will also be remembered as the first time Squid Mag celebrated Frank Odoi, a pioneer of comics in Ghana and Kenya with his Akokhan comic series. In their absence are several goggle-eyed creators full of wonder and imagination who – in some way, either directly or indirectly – continue to be influenced by their work.
These creators are building the comic libraries of the future, infinite worlds of unboxed imagination and priceless experiences that will edutain generations to come. In Nigeria, this is quite easy to see. It is, after all, the locus of comic bookmaking in Africa. But what about other countries, like Ghana?
On the heels of Lake of Tears winning the NOMMO award for the best graphic novel at the Ake Arts and Literary Festival, Leti Arts releasing Ghana’s first comic on disability (cerebral palsy) and multiple requests for female comic artists last year, we started wondering who was making comics in Ghana.
What follows (in no particular order) is a list of individuals and companies imagining alternate realities and/or pushing Ghana’s local comic scene forward, several pixels and
1. Leti Arts
In many ways, Leti represents comic books in Ghana. This creative company is the most visible – locally and internationally – when it comes to comic books. Last year, the company launched an app, Afrocomix, to help connect comic creators across Africa with readers across the world. The app is more than a comic reader, however. It also caters to animation and digital art. On its own, Leti Arts has 3 titles to its credit. Namely, Karmzah, True Ananse and it’s most popular, Africa’s Legends.
See what Leti Arts is up to on their website.
2. Setor Fiadzigbey & Kobe Ofei
Setor Fiadzigbey is a veteran when it comes to making comics in Ghana. His first comic work I came across was Adinkra: The Legend of the Bearers. This was followed up by Kezi and Mozi (available on Afrocomix) and more recently, the award-winning Lake of Tears. For the longest time, when you asked about recent comics in Ghana, crickets answered. With Lake of Tears,
Read Lake of Tears.
3. Creō Concepts
Like many of the collectives/individuals on this list, Creō is a mixed bag of creative energies handling animation, illustration
Check out Creō’s Comics.
4. Comfort Arthur
The coolest thing about Asian comics (manga, manhua, manhwa) is how diverse and non-conformist they can get in both art and story. In Ghana, Comfort Arthur is making that happen with her quirky styled zombies recounting everyday stories grounded in Ghana everyone can relate to. Her Instagram page is filled with short stories sure to make your day. Comfort runs two comic series, Social Media Zombies and Dear Future Husband, a daily comic strip about her future husband and her.
Read Comfort Arthur’s comics.
5. LOL Gh
Long ago before the runs of Creo Concepts and
6. Daniel Tawia Quartey (Kwarte Lai)
There are two artists whose portfolios scream comic artist louder than the trumpets that collapsed the walls of Jericho. Daniel Tawia Quartey (
Lai is affiliated with Leti Arts and Akolabone, a design and lifestyle brand in Accra. Lai has a short comic, Trotro which details his experiences with the local bus system in Accra. The comic is available to read on Leti Art’s AfroComix app. He’s also got Unreal, a superhero comic he’s been teasing for some time now and The Alley, an experimental one-shot on his Behance page.
7. David Moyo Macaluay
David Moyo Macauley is the second artist with the loud comic making portfolio. Moyo contributes storyboards to animation house, Indigene BROS and has also worked on commissions for Vortex Comics. He is currently working on an anthropomorphic title, Dog, which he hopes to release later this year. Dog will be published under his comic imprint, Mirage Comics.
8. Fiifi Koliko
In Ghana, Koliko is a term used by some to refer to cartoons and comics. If you love stick figures, Fiifi Koliko’s social media pages are a delight to behold. With the simplicity of black and white stick figure illustrations sometimes with a splash of
Check them out here.
9. Kevin Sampong
Kevin Sampong is a diamond in the rough who deserves to be celebrated. He’s mainly a writer with some stints illustrating and animating as well. He’s written two titles – Local Champions and Kokoro High – for Vortex Comics as well as for his own imprint, Rookie Pencil.
In addition to his comics, he runs a blog, Rookie Pencil where he rants about the state of African comics and shares his hope for the fledgeling industry. He holds nothing back and shares his opinions unfiltered, sometimes too much. He also sometimes contributes to Squid Mag.
10. Natasha Nayo
We first came across Natasha “Star Cre8tor” Nayo’s work as an illustrator during the Drawing While Black trend that took social media by storm in 2018. A chance meeting at the first dEX event later teleported us into her colorful world of animation, character design and comics. While she’s better known for her awesome character designs and animation, she has a comic to her name, Beyond the Wall.
Beyond the Wall was a webcomic experiment by Natasha to explore different types of techniques, colouration and perspectives. It was also to take a break from animating and a smart way to sharpen her illustration skills! The comic which ran from December 2014 to April 2017 is available to read free on Tapastic.
11. Crimson Interactive Media
What happens when you combine young people, a rock band, Christian values, and angels and demons? You get Generation Identity, a comic created by Jesu Kobi Crentsil and published by Crimson Interactive Media. For a while, this was one of the only print comics available in Accra. Crimson Interactive Media’s work is popular within contemporary Christian circles and is perhaps the only Ghanaian comic steeped in religion.
Check out Generation Identity.
12. Medease Concepts
Delali Quarshie, Qwecy Slim and Rudy
13. Richard Opoku Agyeman
How can you get ahead when the city itself wants to slow you down? A journey through Ghana’s capital, Accra in Richard Opoku Agyeman’s City Living No Be Easy one-shot explores this. The comic is part of The Guardian’s new urban comic series, The Illustrated City. Richard, also known as Simple, is the assistant creative director of AnimaxFYB Studios and has worked on projects such as Agorkoli and A Piece for Peace (which he directed and animated). Check out Richard’s Instagram portfolio.
Check out City Living No Be Easy on The Guardian website.
14. Animax FYB Studios
Animax FYB is originally an animation studio, having produced films such as Agorkoli, A Piece of Peace, and recently, Tutu. When they’re not animating, the studio takes on a number of illustration projects including comics. In 2019, the studio handled art duties on Moongirls, a comic produced by Drama Queens, led by Nana Akosua Hanson. Check out Animax’s art in the Moongirls comic here.
Welbie is an enigma of a creator. He’s both an excellent writer and a witty illustrator. Welbie’s comics tend to be adult-oriented and touch on a range of themes from sex to trending social issues in Ghana. A lot of the inspiration for Welbie’s comics come from trending topics on Twitter where he posts the majority of his work. These are either short animations or comics. Outside of his usual comic strips, Welbie, real name Welbeck Mensah worked on Sasraku: The Secret Within. The book was released in March 2020 with the story and some art direction by Welbie. Check out Welbie’s cheat code to monetizing your superpowers as a creative.
Ghana’s comic industry has a long road ahead of it before it can match up to the rest of the world. There are too few players in this fledgeling storytelling medium. Hopefully, as the year progresses, more people will join the space and Ghana’s comic book culture from the ’80s can be resurrected once again.
Honourable mentions go to Peter Poka Asamoah (who adapted Kwaw Ansah’s Love Brewed in an African Pot into a comic), El Carna (for his Kojo and Adwoa illustrated story series), The Black Narrator (political cartoons) and Wob3tekpa (comics offering social commentary on issues in Ghana), Francis Brown (who is adapting his animated film Agorkoli into a comic book), Kiaski Donkor and Gilbert Ramy Carrey (Adventures in Pencilvania).
Who Did We Miss?
Know any comic champions we missed out in this list? Share with us so we can enjoy their work as well.