Market organiser DISCOP Africa has partnered with a network of African comic conventions and The African Animation Network to form DISComics, an initiative designed to support and grow the African animation and comics industry.
It will debut as an event at DISCOP’s forthcoming markets in Abidjan, Zanzibar and Johannesburg in 2018 with a focus on the ubiquity of African animated content, the staying power of comic books, the evolution of video games and the surging popularity of eSports across all platforms and screens.
As Gert Botes, Sidebar Programs Director of DISCOP Markets explains; “through a series of workshops, panel discussions and masterclasses, DISCOMICS will foster a Pan-African community of knowledge sharing which will encompass; networking, expertise, technology and content”.
DISCOP and The African Animation Network have already set up strategic partnerships between DISComics and Lagos Comic Con (LCC), Nairobi Comic Con (NAICCON) and Icon Comics & Games Convention (CGC) to raise awareness around the initiative.
Nick Wilson, head of projects at The African Animation Network, added: “at a top level, DISComics serves as an open network platform, accelerator and bridge but, at its core, DISComics is focused on localisation, engaging with local entrepreneurs, building those entrepreneurs and their industries and creating pan-African platforms for local talent to be empowered and become self-sustaining.”
The agreement will see Ayodele Elegba, founder of LCC and CEO of Spoof Animation, join DISComics as Head of Comics; Thomas Imboywa, founder of NAICCON, joins as Head of Gaming and eSports; and Les Allen, director of Icon CGC, joins as Head of Business Development.
Patrick Zuchowicki, CEO of Basic Lead (the Los Angeles-based company that runs the pioneering DISCOP Markets which specialise in growth industries in growing marketplaces), had the following to say:
DISCOP Markets has been active in Africa since 2006, we have witnessed and been part of the dialogue that has seen Africa transition from a nett buyer of international content, to a content development and production hub aiming to satiate the content appetite of its home market. DISCOMICS will act as an accelerator which broadens that conversation and creates a bridge between the African broadcast industry and the DISCOMICS Alliance.
This is a welcome initiative that will help market African content. By partnering with major African comic conventions, DISCOP Africa is set to shake up the way the world consumes African comics and other media. This is also a boon for African creators who will be empowered and inspired to keep on creating.
Nick Wilson best captures this sentiment; “with this incredible mix of talents from the leading comic and gaming conventions across the continent, we’re confident that DISCOMICS will be a catalyst for further rapid expansion in this sector. We also encourage other comic and gaming events and organisations to join us in the knowledge sharing whilst we strive to collectively build sustainability”.
About the Collaborators
Lagos Comic Con (LCC)
Billed as the “Biggest Geek Fest in Africa”, LCC is the largest comic convention in West Africa attracting over 4000 attendees in 2017 and having been in existence for the last 7 years. Ayodele Elegba, Founder of LCC & CEO of Spoof Animation had the following to say; “Nigeria is home to the largest independent comic book industry in Africa.
We have a wealth of talent that calls LCC home, and we’ve been working as a collective to create platforms for our local talents to find an audience. It thus gives me great pleasure to announce that I will be joining DISCOMICS as the Head of Comics and will focus on expanding on what we are doing in Nigeria and exporting that knowledge and expertise to our comic convention partners across the continent”.
Nairobi Comic Con (NAICCON)
Not dissimilar to LCC, NAICCON is the leading Comic Convention in East Africa. Since its humble inception in 2014, NAICCON now attracts audiences of well over 3,000 attendees. NAICCON however, has is skewed towards gaming and eSports having hosted the first ever East African eSports competition at #NAICCON2017.
Thomas Imboywa, Founder of NAICCON, expands; “Nairobi is the tech-hub of East Africa, we have vastly improved telecommunications infrastructure and service providers which are favourable for gaming to thrive. Whilst NAICCON comprises all the elements of a traditional comic convention, we’ve found more recently that the gaming and eSports components of NAICCON have exploded and have become a focus for our event. As a result, I am really excited to announce that I will be joining the DISCOMICS team as the Head of Gaming & eSports”.
ICON Comics & Games Convention (ICON CGC)
ICON CGC, a comic and gaming convention held annually in Johannesburg, South Africa, is the veteran pop culture event in Africa with 2018 representing its 26th edition. According to Les Allen, ICON CGC Director; “ICON CGC runs the full gamut of what is considered an international comic convention but, we’re rooted in our local community and industries.
We’re definitely influenced by international trends and influences and host international (cosplay, comic book and gaming) stars but, perhaps the main ingredient in our recipe of longevity and sustainability is our focus on our home talents. It is with this in mind that I am pleased to announce that I will be joining DISCOMICS in the capacity of Head of Business Development and I look forward to collaborating with Ayo and Tom with our common goal of building locally unique events and a sustainable Pan-African comic convention circuit”.