The end times are drawing near. The gates of limbo quiver as the morning star brings imminent darkness closer. We discover secret societies that have existed for centuries holding the foundations of the earth together and torn it apart. The Wildlings, The Hunters, The Masquerades, The Summoners, The Brotherhood. The end is here.
“Increased imagination, tolerance for and interest in diverse ideas, spiritualities, religions and people, as well as social awareness” capture speculative fiction writer, Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu’s response on the impact of Africans embracing all storytelling genres. This is a most compelling answer, and for comic book lovers, Agbara does just that.
The Agbaraa comic is the needle and thread of Igbo culture and modernity. Agbara tells of a spirit’s earthly adventures as punishment for her refusal to chose sides in a war between angels and demons (and no, Dan Brown has nothing to do with it).
Created by the Kalu brothers, the comic is unapologetically African in outlook, celebrating indigenous religious practice in contention with modern misunderstandings and stereotypes, by supposedly progressive folk who should know better.
Just like Nnedi’s response, Agbara especially calls for tolerance of diverse spiritualities, religions and people, and asserts co-existence between the new and old. It speaks of culture at a crossroads that instead of being disjointed, can be one and the same. Agbara demystifies African spirituality as a force for evil as popularly depicted in especially Nollywood movies and shows it isn’t at all different from what people associate with being better.
Agbara almost reads like a poetic Nigerian novel laden with proverbs that tug at your brain until you completely and joyously decipher them (the few times you can’t, you should consult a dictionary. It can be verbose sometimes). It is filled with suspense and also draws you in with its exploration of (im)mortality and human frailty.
Agabara is a real MVP who is being courted by both angels and demons. She’s fire and she’s ice. Being such a coveted gem, it’s no wonder she’s already inspired some beautiful cos play.
She’s the kind of character girls can easily look up to. Her situation with the angels and demons is a subtle metaphor for the struggles girls might face while they school or start their careers. Is it the easy flamboyant path where souls are easily lost or is it the narrow and thorny, where success at best feels like a far fetched dream?
It is also representative of the inner turmoils many an African might face. Issues of identity, the temptation of blind copying to the detriment of our heritage; pervasive gullibility wearing a miracle and salvation mask that capitalizes on people’s fear and misunderstanding of the unknown.
Agbara is published by Vortex Inc, a Nigerian creative content company. Vortex Inc. is championing the African narrative with its lineup of characters who breathe and eat as Africans would, as well as imagine new and exciting possibilities tailored to the African experience. Through its franchises, the young company hopes to export African culture to the world. A most noble mission that comic titles such as Agbara, Mumu Juju, Ojuju, Eternals and many more can achieve.
Hi VX Lovers!
As we prepare to drop another cross-over comic series SECRET SOCIETY this is targeted at our alternative comic reader fan base featuring characters such as OJUJU, ANIKULAPO, RE-LEGION and a host of new exciting characters as a build up we are here again with our interviews of amazing talents that we are working on the project with globally. With us in the house is a powerful Afro-forward illustrator and digital artist. As a female in the art industry she inspires a generation like talent and stand out with her honest strong and detailed digital painting style.
“I Think Its important that kids look up to character that look like them and tell thier story”
Nigerian spirit heroes loooove their spandex.
Anyhow, whoop, whoop! I knew it! Remember that purpled character from the cover page I had hopes for? Turns out I wasn’t off the mark. He has come to the aid of our depressed, recently separated hero, Strikey. What’s more, he’s a fun and persistent cat.
While just a high schooler, he knows his stuff and seems to have been in the hero business from birth. Strikey, who’s literally half the man he used to be, remains the lead character in part two of the “Get Your Ass Handed to You” saga and deserves an AMA and an Oscar for his stellar performance.
Purple cat guy goes by Dayo Akinleye Pedro and Ekun in hero circles, which, unless Google’s lying, translates into tiger. He’s a very likable character. He’s fun, has a sense of duty and like every human being, demons. He also waxes poetic with his corny sage quotes and his okro tongue reminds me of beloved Spiderman from the Captain America: Civil War flick.
He unfortunately has a very disturbing fashion game. Go Ekun, with your purple tights, golden knee high boots, golden elbow long gloves, and funky backward fur mane. Eww! Cool helmet by the way.
Then there’s Chichi, SG’s girlfriend. She’s landed in a bit of a mess with an old flame that might’ve reignited passions if he wasn’t so impatient. His forceful and hurried display of love earns him a resounding slap that echoes off the pages beyond Pluto. Chichi backs her dragon palm of fury with some solid advice, don’t push a woman to the wall. Then there’s also the chance that he needs her for some occult sacrifice.
I couldn’t help but juxtapose this with rape culture especially among friends and couples. The lesson? No is no, even if it seems like it. Don’t force little Dickens through the door even when the door’s unlocked, so long as the voice behind says no.
This issue felt less Strike Guardy and more like the grand entrance of a fun spirit hero which is admirable because, it is the catalyst to unifying the Vortex universe and a setup to Ekun’s own comic. Imagine the scolding SG’s gonna get from June XII when they meet.
While I wanted more Strike, Ekun brought sunshine to the prevailing gloom. Ekun #0 continued from where SG ended and saw Ekun toy with rock man Eki and claim his heart pumped lion’s blood. Ekun must mean lion then. Someone is proud chale.
I like what Vortex is doing, creating something African kids can hold on to. While considerable effort goes into getting each comic together, I beg that the team check their spelling and grammar. It might seem like nothing, but it takes points from the quality they’re pushing. Anyhow Vortex, can we have some chicken soup after the fowls are done playing?
I also dunno what it is, but the art felt off for me. I also wonder why it’s titled Spiritual Ebb. It felt more like a surgebecause of the new spirit players in the game: Ekun, Eki and that not so honorable boyfriend guy. But, considering SG is the main character, it’s excusable. His spirits are after all, drained and he just might hang up his costume which brings up teamwork chale. I bet Coker’s having Naruto worthy flashbacks of what it means to work in a team. I am still bitter about Ajagz departure and he better return quick.
And while we’re at it, let’s look forward to Jagun Jagun, a mashup of Ekun and Strike that comes out next year. Strike’s costume looks good, although too similar to Black Panther’s.
Strike Guard is the story of Abolaji Coker a college undergraduate at the university of Lagos, Political Science. After being murdered by a cult group (gang) and dumped in a pit which happened to be the grave of Yoruba deity “Ajagbeja”, he is given a second go to live but with Ajagbeja’s spirit using his body as a host. He agrees and becomes strike guard (the last illustrated character by his murdered best friend Antai who was a comic artist) vowing to use his powers to avenge the cult group that murdered both him and his innocent best friend and eventually fight for the helpless people of Lagos against an unleashed new wave of spirit entities.
Strike Guard “Awon Ibere” Issue #1
Some really cool stuff go down in Issue one, here we experience the origin of Strike Guard but from an angle of Soliloquy as he speaks to himself on how the world seems to be crashing around him this brings us to the first reason:
1. ABOLAJI COKER IS CRAZY, Yes we said it!!
Firstly he has a millennium old deity in his head and he lives with it, Abolaji coker needs mountain of fire ministers to live with him at his hostel for at least 1 week and Ajagbeja would find his square root, Haba, which kind of Juju is that, basically he is possessed and he is forming strike guard, if we report his situation would he not be at Yaba left by now? Strike take time o, we don’t like it.
Still on the crazy, of all things to do after being “willfully possessed” by a Yoruba demon that cannot watch his mouth he went to find tailor to make a spandex yellow and blue uniform, NA WA, Oga strike na you dey reign o, you will not calm down and move to Ibadan where you can manage yourself, you decided to become spider man, good luck!
2. STRIKE GUARD IS A MUMU LOVER BOY
Unlike Clarke Kent (Super Man), Peter Parker (Spider Man) and Bruce Wayne (Batman), Mr. Abolaji Coker (Strike Guard) is in love with the reason he is in this mess in the first place does it not seem like this Chi Chi girl has used Jazz to hold this boy? there is a lot of Jazz in hidden places in this comic, but we can’t even blame her it is Abolaji Coker that carried his legs to go a toast “Iya Cultist” .
3. THE STRIKE GUARD SITUATION CAN HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE
Yes!! it can! We all know jazz is real and it is ready to occur anytime, any day and anywhere, don’t go and accidentally fall inside a pit that used to be the burial ground for Sango o, your situation might not come with super powers you’ll just be experiencing witch craft “PRIVATELY” . But seriously now, think about it you have heard of people possessed that fly at night, turn to cats, dogs, Strike situation is not far off.
4 STRIKE GUARD IS PATIENT
Have you met Ajagbeja?
LOORRRDDD! he is ANNNOYYIING, the way he laughs, the way he brings trouble by just… pretty much… existing and the way he appears in the mirror when Abolaji coker is trying to check him self out and most importantly .. why does he not just … SHUT UP anyway Abolaji Coker has to deal with this and does a pretty good job at it while he is at it, we respect his patience, he truly would have used his power more effectively in a monastery.
5. STRIKE GUARD HAS NAIJA HUMOR (SHARP MOUTH)
Spiritual GPS?! in BEADS OF FURY (Issue 1) strike guard was beaten black and blue because of he was busy cracking jokes instead of cracking bones, but he we can’t complain it really had us laughing for half the comic but our brother must focus cause not every time play, sometimes calm down and win battles, anyway this humour brings it down to a natural level, Abolaji coker has a sharp mouth and we all know Nigerian people fight with both their mouth and their fist so it all kinda makes sense.
6. STRIKE GUARD & AYODELE ELEGBA (creator) ARE DRAMA KINGS
Imagine what he’s going through at the moment, Died, came back, girlfriend DRAMA, Lost his best friend, has a secret no body can afford to know about and an alter ego which doesn’t make that easier he has suddenly become responsible for everyone around him, because all the spiritual catastrophe is as a result to uncle Ajagbz that has used his body for 5 bedroom flat. Ayodele has stormed the entire vortex just because he believes that the art for Ajabz was not designed as only “HE” imagined.
Thats all for the Squeeze hope your enjoyed us chopping and screwing the STRIKE GUARD ISSUE 1 like we did till the next comic!
Mumu Juju is an exciting new comic born out of the love for comics and the desire to use this medium to tell stories and impact lives. It is an easy read that speaks to every generation while getting its message of friendship and dedication across. Mumu Juju is a periodical which will be featured on www.vortex247.com, from Thursday, 30th July, 2015.
Etubi Onucheyo the creative mind behind ‘Mumu Juju’ came up with the idea one sunny afternoon in 2013, when he was very hungry and craved freshly pounded yam (a meal indigenous to the eastern and western parts of Nigeria). The main characters of the novel are ‘Mortar’ and ‘Pestle’, whom he used to pound the metaphorical yam of his story into life. It takes the reader on a wild journey with the two main characters as they overcome challenges and obstacles while trying to complete the tasks given to them by a god named ‘Kenga’ and his witch side-kick ‘Ee’.
Mumu Juju touches on the importance of love and friendship in getting us through any situation in life with a hilarious twist to it that takes away the seriousness of the story and makes it fun to read, while still sending its message across. Etubi, carries this theme of friendship and love on through Mumu Juju, with the good guys appearing in pairs, and the villains alike, showing the unconscious undertone in relationships where even evil and corrupt minds are in pairs but with time are separated each holding their evil schemes, showing the consequence where there is a lack of true friendship and love, while an open and loving mind seeks and finds like minds to grow and develop with.
“The only for difference between me and others is that i decided to make this my job”
Mumu Juju is the first in a line a graphic novels and comics which will be featured periodically from a series of writers on www.vortex247.com. Vortex Inc., is a creative content company from the heart of Africa that is keen on exporting and expressing African culture through various media such as cartoon, comics, educational content, movies etc.
The creative director of Vortex Inc. Somto Ajuluchukwu started the company from an intense love for art and the powerful role entertainment can play in re-branding Africa. This passion led him to leave the comfort of his regular 9-5 grind in investment banking and embark on the never ending journey of Afro illustrated stories.
Somto has five years’ experience as the creative director of Nature’s Own Wonder (NOW), a graphics design company he set up in 2010 in his second year in university. He also worked with Lego Toy Company right after school and understudied with Image Comics (publishing house for Robert Kirkman, creator of Walking Dead franchise). These experiences, inspired him to start up Vortex Inc. in early 2014 and with key partnerships established, is beginning to realize its dream of taking calculated steps in terms of creativity and structure in a delicate industry.
The theme for Vortex Inc. 2015, is Rolihlahla, a Swahili word which means trouble maker and also the middle name of Nelson Mandela. This stands for the desire of Vortex to pull on the branch of Mother Tree Africa and share the culture of Africans with others, to the level where it begins to resonate in all we do as individuals and begins to export who we are unconsciously.
“Africa has suffered too many explosions, it is time we implode”
This review is a featured post from – KUGALI
Nigeria based comic book publisher released the prequel to their upcoming Ojuju series. Written by Somto Ajuluchukwu the story re-imagines traditional Nigerian masquerades as magical beings that inhabit the modern world. Iheme Odiete, the leader of the Egungun and Ekpe masquerade tribes awakens from a 100 year long slumber and is immediately sucked into a chaotic cycle of violence that results in blood, gore and destruction. (Warning Spoilers Ahead!)
With minimal exposition the story throws readers straight into the deep end. Within the first few panels the titular character finds himself surrounded by a sea of corpses although it’s not clear as to whether or not he’s responsible for their deaths. This ambiguity is a running theme in the comic as the writer leaves it up to the readers to decide whether or not Ojuju is a villain, hero or perhaps something else entirely.
This new series is also a cross over as June XII, another character from the vortex line up enters the fray. June XI is a superhero based in Nigeria that spends most of his time battling corrupt law enforcers, politicians and other worldly beings. June XII’s radar eventually catches onto Ojuju and his trail of destruction and while nothing major happens in this prequel a clash between Ojuju and June XII now seems inevitable.+
Akindele Damilola and Yussuf Shittu must also be commended for excellent art work. In this very short prequel the two artists do a fantastic job of packing in a number of epic scenes and battle sequences. Most of all the character design for the Titular character is nothing short of fascinating. Unlike other masquerades Ojuju wears his mask as a cap slightly tilted forwards to cover his face. The characters decision not to don his mask fully seems to symbolise his moral ambiguity and it will be interesting to see how the artists play around with this in future installments of the series.+
It’s too early to tell just how good the Ojuju series may be but this prequel has set up an excellent backdrop to what could be a fantastic story. However, don’t take our word for it! Read Ojuju #0 for free and let us know what you think in the comments. Also check out Vortex inc for more great comics, they’ve also launched a line of awesome t-shirts so you can support your favourite Vortex superhero.
Lagos Comic Con is just a few weeks away and Vortex comics, a creative company hell bent on exporting African culture through its content has come up with a pretty cool way to engage with fans and the public alike. Dubbed VEXPO, Vortex Expo, the week long event will be an open house into the Vortex universe, showcasing the company’s repertoire which includes a number of comics, animation and events.
Think of VEXPO as a gallery exhibition or even Disney’s D23 Expo with a spotlight on solely Vortex products or if you like, a mini Image Comics Expo. There will be conferences, art workshops, theater experiences, mentoring, game and art contests, the whole nine yards, only it will be the vortex way, a hurricane of exciting energy.
Resource persons include celebrated comic actor, Afeeze Saka Oyetoro of Papa Ajasco fame, Microsoft’s Olusolu Amusa, a writer, speaker and radio personality, Ayodele Elegba, Nigerian comic veteran and founder of the Lagos Comic Con and many more with expansive knowledge about creativity and success.
VEXPO takes place from September 5 to September 10. Vortex describes VEXPO as being built on the pillars of entertainment, education and participation, foundations relevant to exciting kids and adults alike enough to imagine, re-imagine and manifest amazing ideas.
The event is supported by Lagos Comics Con, Lego, Nickelodeon, Microsoft,British High Commission, Kaboom and Urban96 FM.
Sign up for VEXPO here.
Welcome to Sidi’s world, a beautiful working class lady at the prime of life, till she meets Jake. THE LAGOS BIG BOY.
A comic series titled after the most polarizing movie industry in Africa, Nollywood Comics co-created by Akinseye Brown the Creator of Sannkofamaan and written by Arit Okpo.