Unlike Kuluya which involved multiple Nigerian digital artists, Jigida Comics is the work of a single person who goes by the pen name of Sugabelly. Sugabelly is a Nigerian blogger and illustrator according to her website, and Jigida Comics is her sole proprietorship comics label.
On jigida.com, you will find a number of upcoming titles, and one ongoing one that is sure to wet your appetite: Wazobia. Wazobia is only on its second chapter, but in my breif perusal (actually I read the whole thing) of the pages so far, it seems to show an interesting perspective on the history of relationships between the different ethnic groups in Nigeria. It contains some hard-hitting wry humour which I find amusing, but be warned, it might not be for everybody.
Now I’m not an illustrator myself so I can’t do this ongoing comic justice in an art review, but as a Nigerian there are several things I like about the Nigerian comics idea and what I’ve seen so far in Wazobia.
First of all, I just like the idea of promoting our culture this way. We’ve been doing it through movies, music, and literature. So comics and graphic novels are the next logical step.
Secondly, I like the approach I’m seeing in Wazobia: (1) All the characters are traditionally designed and dressed, complete with tribal marks and the like, (2) The bottom of each page contains footnotes explaining the colloquial “Nigerianisms” for anyone unfamiliar, and (3) Although the comic is mostly black and white, it still held my attention. So I can only imagine what some colour would do for it.
Coincidentally, as at the time of this writing, Jigida Comics has exactly the same number of Facebook likes as we do, and Wazobia’s last update was in September of last year. But this isn’t to say that Sugabelly has gone underground, as her personal blog is as current as this month. So I decided to talk about her and her comics on here, not only to share with you something interesting I stumbled upon, but also to in my own small way support a Nigerian artist. With the same number of likes as us, it is quite clear that her comics need more exposure… and hopefully we’re able to provide that 🙂
Still for those of you who remain sceptic, be it because you’ve never read manga, don’t care about Nigerian art, or some other reason, I invite you to check out her recent piece in The Africa Report: The 10 People You Meet in Nigeria. Because as a writer, more than her work as an illustrator, it was this article of hers that got me sold on writing about her.