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DC Comics’ Pointless Reboot 4

Still on the reboot matter! In the last article, I was ticking off a list of points why I thought that as far as consumer products go, DC Comics’ books are crap. While I’m fully aware that I’m generating a lot of flak from the geek community for these articles, I do have to state that first, I am something of a geek myself and second, my arguments here are not the creativity within the books or the lack thereof, but the best way to make comic books as appealing and available to the widest market possible. That last bit was stated by Dan Didio and Jim Lee as their main objective for DC Comics, not me. On that note, I’m simply pointing out that a lot of the things they’re doing with their products currently fly in the face of this objective and if they simply adjusted these areas, they wouldn’t need to keep making pointless character and story reboots. On to my points;

3.       Non-existent Digital Strategy: The world at large, and the U.S in particular has been consuming all sorts of media content digitally and over the web for the better part of a decade and yet the comic industry stubbornly refused to digitize their books. Until companies like Comixology and Graphic.ly came along with apps that allowed people to read comic books on their computers and mobile phones, neither Marvel nor DC had a tangible digital strategy. Even after they found out that people loved reading comics digitally, they reluctantly allowed some, not all, of their past issues to be sold digitally. And any and all new issues were released digitally about thirty days after the physical copy had been in the stores. Despite the known fact that most new readers preferred to discover the comics digitally over the web than walking all the way to some comic book store. What sort of antiquated behaviour is that?

 

 

With this reboot, they’re making a song and dance about same day and date release for both physical and digital copies of the comic issues like they’ve just discovered fire. Like record companies haven’t been releasing their content digitally at the same time with the physical copies for a decade?

The lame excuse they gave for this model was that they didn’t want to affect the sales of their comic store partners. Even against growing media consumption trends. SMH…

Even worse is that despite the fact that they’re more or less being shoehorned into adopting digital as a mainstream model, neither DC or Marvel, both sizeable media companies, have their own digital media platforms where customers can go and buy all their issues. Apart from some scanty app that Marvel updates occasionally, both of them rely on Comixology to manage and retail their digital content. Shameful. In this day and age where all forms of media content is being made available digitally over the web, if your customer can’t access your product where, when and how they want to, then your product is crap.

 

4.       Pricing: DC and Marvel offer their monthly issues for between $2.99 and $4.00, depending on the title. I think that’s just silly, in all truth. Video game apps that you can play for a year usually sell for about 99 cents to $10.00, then why on earth should I buy a monthly publication that I’ll read once and in all likelihood not read again for $3.00? If you’re trying to sell to the mass market, then you MUST price for the mass market! In these recessionary times, forking over that amount of money for a book monthly might a more expensive habit than most people can afford. I’d rather go see a blockbuster movie for $10 to $15 dollars, sorry.

Even if you said that they set that price to cover the costs of printing the physical books, how does that explain the fact that they’re selling the digital copies at the exact same price? Take your time to answer… I’ll wait.

And before more geeks start complaining about my stance on this, let me ask; how many of you would still be reading the same amount of comics you do or any comics at all, if you had to pay N500.00 for each single book? Just imagine Nigerian artistes trying to sell their albums for N600.00? Some people would still buy, but nowhere near the number of people that are buying it at N150.00. If you’re selling a mass market consumer product and people find it too pricey to easily adopt, then your product is crap, I’m sorry.

 

I’ll continue next week. If you’ve got work that you’d like us to showcase here, then please do send it in. Thanks.

All mail, content and material, should be sent to nnamdi@elfworks.biz .

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DC Comics’ Pointless Reboot 3

Over the past two articles, I’ve tried to paint a background picture of the events that led to the reboot in September. If you didn’t read those articles, you can get them at our online blog: theanimageblog.tumblr.com.

As of the time of writing this article, issue 1 of the New Justice League has sold well over three hundred thousand copies. The other six other core titles like Superman 1, Batman 1 and the like have all done over a hundred thousand copies in sales. The yearlong hype seems to be paying off, but the big question is whether this boom is here to stay.

From the get-go, I said I was going to approach this entire thing from a standpoint of comics as products and as I also said earlier, DC’s comic books were crappy products. In my opinion, they wouldn’t need a reboot if their products were good and if the products are still crap after the reboot, then whatever sales spike they see will be short lived, regardless of the hype. Here are some of the reasons why I think their comics are crap, from a products standpoint (this applies to Marvel as well).

1.       Arcane Complexity: To begin reading DC comics, you need to have been a comic reader. Do you see the paradox there? In order for me to pick up a particular issue of any of their comics and enjoy it, I need to have a working knowledge of the extremely complex storyline that came before. And the sad thing is that they don’t let you forget that you don’t know because every other page makes reference to some obscure “issue 458” that you have to go and read before you can fully understand what’s taking place in the issue you’re currently reading.

And that’s one of the reasons why, according to Didio, they’re having difficulty getting new readers because most people simply can’t be bothered with the grief of trying to understand why there are a million Supermen on a million Earths instead of just one.

Now if they already knew that, why not just trim the fat? Why bother with a reboot, when you can simply simplify the storylines and make it easier for non-geeks to get? Instead they’ve done a reboot that re-introduces fifty two titles. Talk about overkill! How many of those titles will still be in circulation three months later? How does a new reader, without a comic background, browse through FIFTY TWO different titles in a bid to decide which one he or she would like t read?

If your product is difficult for new users to adopt, then it’s crap. It doesn’t matter what it is.

 

2.       Inaccessibility of the Product: For the past two decades, you could only get comics at dedicated comic shops in the U.S., of which Didio admits that there’re currently less than three thousand of them across the States. Comic readers pretty much had to walk some distance to comic stores to buy them. And since these stores are frequented in the main by sweaty male geeks, other market demographics hardly ever found it conducive to come by and browse for whatever was available. If I have to go out my way to buy your product, particularly one that’s a non-essential impulse purchase, then your product’s crappy.


Some might ask, “What about the subscriptions they offer? Doesn’t that make purchases easy?” And my answer is; Yes it does, but only for people who are readers in the first place, who already see the subscription ads and forms inside the comic books. It’s totally useless to new readers who’re trying to adopt the product and who’re trying to decide what title to read and what issue to begin from, not whether they want twelve issues of it.

 

3.       Non-existent Digital Strategy: This one’s the most laughable, in my opinion and I’ll address it next week.

If you’ve got work that you’d like us to showcase here, then please do send it in. Thanks.

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DC Comics’ Pointless Reboot 2

Still on DC Comics full reboot. During an interview with pop culture and commerce blog ICV2 a few weeks before the reboot took off, DC Comics co-publishers, Dan Didio and Jim Lee were asked their reasons for the reboot. In a nutshell, their core reason was that they simply wanted to hit a much broader market base for comics than they currently have and that, from their point of view, resetting the stories would provide new readers the opportunity to get involved and as well as a boost to comic sales. In this interview they basically stated that comic book sales in the U.S. had been flat for most parts and declining in some. Prior to this reboot, monthly comic book title sales had all been below a hundred thousand copies on each title. The highest selling title in years was the last of the Flashpoint series which did ninety-five thousand copies this August. To test their theory on how bad industry sales were, Dan Didio spent a Saturday afternoon in a comic store and he was reportedly appalled by the really low number of customers who came into the store. On a weekend.

At this point I should probably point out that the much-touted reboot issue of Justice League has done over two hundred thousand copies as at last count (ICV2.com) and may well hit two hundred and fifty thousand copies before the month ends. Also, six other number one titles already have orders for over a hundred thousand copies. And so it seems the reboot was a success after all, then? Actually, no. How do I know? Well for starters, story and character reboots usually cause a short lived boost in comic book sales. Prior to this issue of Justice League, the only other title to have broken the hundred thousand mark in the U.S in almost a decade was Captain America Reborn which sold a hundred and ninety three thousand copies. And that issue itself was a character reboot, because it involved bringing Captain America back from the dead. This trend shows that reboots cause a temporary interest from the broader public after which sales plunge back down.

So the question I ask is this; how on earth did Dan Didio and Jim Lee come to believe that yet another reboot would be the magic bullet to solve what, in their own view, are systemic industry sales problems? Anyone with basic reasoning skills would see that the yearlong hype on multiple media platforms is the sole generator of the increased sales that we’re seeing at this particular moment. After the buzz dies down, and it will, what will happen next? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the idea of the reboot itself, but I’m saying in the broader context of the revenue decline problems that they face as a major player in an industry that’s clearly not growing, is that the best they can do? Definitely not and that’s why I think it’s pointless because by itself it can’t change much for the better.

The stagnation problems that face the U.S comic book industry are systemic in nature and they can only be mitigated by structural changes. The one thing I give them credit for was realizing that they needed to bring in new readers and to extend their market reach beyond the current hardcore market, because as a mass market product, growth and revenues exist in the mass market. The more people you can get to read comic books, the more money you’ll make. It’s that simple. But how effective will a story reboot  be in gathering and maintaining new customers? So far most of the people currently excited about the changes are people who’ve been comic readers for a long while, people who already frequent the comic book store. My guess is that the bump in sales is really as a result of lapsed comic readers picking up interest again and also the half-hearted attempt that DC has made at going digital. I also believe that this effect will be temporary.

Next week I’m going to outline areas where I think DC Comics and the U.S comic industry in general are flubbing their chances to create truly mass market products.

If you’ve got work that you’d like us to showcase here, then please do send it in. Thanks.

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DC Comics’ Pointless Reboot

If you’re a geek, like me, and you don’t already know about DC Comics’ re-launch of its entire range of titles, then I’ll just assume that you, my friend, have been living under a rock somewhere. Earlier this year, DC Comics started making noises about rebooting all their comic books from issue one starting this September. And sure enough, they’ve managed to get a lot of media attention for it, right up to the final moments while there have also been all sorts of reactions from comic readers and fans everywhere. I guess that’s all well and good, for those interested in that sort of thing. Because I’m not.

Don’t get me wrong, I like comics and I read them. I just don’t read American comics. Not anymore. Yes, I know I grew up reading them and my basic introduction to art came through American comics; DC, Marvel, Superman, Batman, Spiderman, The Hulk, the whole shebang. I’m as geeky as it gets when it comes to comics and I’ve been a big fan of the American genre essentially my whole life. My whole life till I grew up, that is. That right there’s the problem, you see..? I’ve outgrown made in America comics and apparently I wasn’t the only one and it’s no wonder why. They’ve become horrible, bloated things with complex, convoluted plots that are a pain in the posterior region to read for most people!

Of recent, I’d started to study the comic book industry as exists globally and the serial comic itself as an isolated product, separate from all the merchandising and movie tie-ins and licensing. Just the comic itself as a standalone entertainment product with its own selling merits. Doing this allowed me see the bigger picture and the fact that the only thing that American comic publishers have going for them are the big brand titles like Superman and the X-Men that have already built a reputation over decades of publishing. These big name brands allow them do a lot of licensing activity and spinoffs to other media content platforms like movies and TV serials. But all of that aside, actual sales for the comics themselves have been in constant decline since the late eighties and early nineties. The core comic industry in the U.S. is only worth about $600million currently. For an industry that’s almost a century old, how did that happen? Their product became crap, that’s how.

On the other hand however, the Japanese comic industry, popularly known as manga, is worth about $3billion dollars. With emphasis on the “billion”. And by the way the Japanese manga industry is younger than the American comic industry. While the Japanese have always made amazing art, they became inspired to make serialized comic books after saw the comics American soldiers brought with them during World War 2. For those of you who have always wondered why manga characters never look Japanese, there’s your answer.

As a product, most American comics go against all the commonsense behind making and selling a mass market product and I’m going to discuss this in detail next week. I’m out!

If you’ve got work that you’d like us to showcase here, then please do send it in. Thanks.

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Manga-Style Art

This edition marks the fiftieth in the series since I started writing the Animage column and blog. Yay! Anyway I thought I’d go a bit light this time around and just share something I stumbled upon. I was trawling around the web a few days back and on a fashion blog called onenigerianboy.com I saw a post about a Nigerian illustrator who creates Manga-style art.

First, I have to give props to the blog because even though it’s a fashion blog, they manage to discover some pretty interesting pop artists and illustrators every now and then. Once, they even did a post on Canary 7even, one of my team’s projects, without us being aware.      

Anyways, I find this illustrator’s work interesting. Not original, but interesting. He creates imagery in the Japanese manga art style and he does it quite well. His name’s Ibrahim Idris, and he’s based in Kaduna. For those who don’t already know, “Manga” is the Japanese term for comics and it’s also come to define not just the medium but the art style popularly used. Conversely, the animated version of this style is known as “Anime”.

And it’s that style that’s Ibrahim has managed to replicate quite successfully. While I believe that you can’t execute a style better than the originators of that style, I do believe that you can come pretty close.

For the record, we actually didn’t get in touch with Ibrahim for this write-up. I just bumped into his art and felt it was cool enough to share here. At the moment, he doesn’t seem to have a website and hosts his work digitally at Deviantart, an online artist community.

His art possesses some of the core elements that make the Manga and Anime styles so appealing to their audiences and even worldwide; bright, popping colours and thin fluid lines that exude energy and illusion of motion even though it’s a still image. He’s most likely self-tutored, given his current locale and the fact that we haven’t got a functional pop-art training system in this country. While that’s impressive, it’s hardly surprising.

Every skilled pop-artist and animator I’ve met, myself included, have all had to learn the craft by gleaning knowledge from wherever they can get it; online, offline and anywhere else in-between. That said, I love this guy’s work and I think he’ll only get better and will go places if given the chance. I don’t know if he collects commissions but if you’d like to give him a project or just a shout out, then you can send him an email here; tikantz@gmail.com. And do tell him I said hi.

If you’ve got work that you’d like us to showcase here, then please do send it in. We await!

All mail, content and material, should be sent to nnamdi@elfworks.biz .

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Making an Animated Video 4

Still on the making of Ecetera’s animated music video for his Ring The Alarm song. If you missed the first three parts of this topic, you can catch them on our blog at www.theanimage.tumblr.com. We thought doing this review would be a nice way to give you guys a slightly better understanding of what goes into making animation. For those of you intent on making animation yourselves, pay attention. And for those of you interested in using animation as a medium to tell your stories, this gives you an insight into how costly it is.

I’m not so sure about other fields, but Animation isn’t very glamorous. It’s pretty dull and tedious a lot of the time and the end result that you see belies that fact. Once we were done with the preliminary work which took about a month in itself, we were down to pure creation of frames. An extremely mind-numbing job. You’re essentially stuck drawing the same image over and over again while making minute adjustments to each version as you go. And you get to do this hundreds of times. Without a certain level of discipline and some sort of perverse love for it, you may never get to actually finish an animated project.

We broke the workload down into shots and distributed it among our animators. A shot, in video terminology, is one unbroken sequence of frames or images. Doing this enabled the animators to take on the work in bite-sized chunks and allowed them to take on and complete a shot relatively quickly. This gave them a sense of accomplishment, which you tend to need on big projects to keep you from going under. On the average, it took each animator about a full week to complete each shot, with each of them hitting about fifteen to twenty frames a day. Separate from whatever other projects came to their table during the period.

In all, this phase of the project swallowed about six months, even with the entire team working on it round the clock. Apart from creating the animated sequences, we also had to develop backgrounds for the shots as well as a collection of still imagery. In order to save time on these, we put together a quirky but effective solution. Instead of illustrating the images from scratch, we found photos and edited them to look like painted illustrations. The backgrounds were made of random environment shots, composited together to give a slightly dark, painterly feel to the video.  It made it look richer too.

In terms of tools, the primary ones we used for creating the images were Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, both digital painting applications. The final sequencing was done in Adobe After Effects, a video manipulation software.

Seeing the final product on TV and online made it worthwhile, in my opinion. But the most important thing working on that project did for us was providing us with a new skill. And we’re right now putting that skill into play on some very cool new projects we’re building in-house. I’ll only tell you about those, when they’re good and ready *smirk*! Feel very free to check out the final video on our blog or on the Animage facebook page and let’s know what you think. Thanks.

We’re still accepting submitted artwork and content, so please keep them coming.

All mail, content and material, should be sent to nnamdi@elfworks.biz .

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Ring The Alarm Animated Video 3

We’re still doing a review and breakdown of the development process behind the Ring the Alarm animated video for the artiste Etcetera. The thing I’ve come to discover about cel animation in general is that beyond acquiring the requisite level of technique and skill, which in itself is complex, it pretty much involves a lot of drudgery. By drudgery I mean long and tedious periods of creating tons and tons of images which are known as frames. These ‘frames’ are then sequenced and played one after another to create the illusion of motion. On the strength of that discovery, I’ve coined a saying; “Animation is easy to watch but intensely difficult to create”. Quote me.

Here’s something else most people don’t know; on the average it takes twenty four of the frames mentioned above to create one second of motion. So if you’re creating an animated sequence that’s ten seconds long, you have to create two hundred and forty images. The track we were working with was about four minutes long, but we planned to create animated sequences for just about two and a half minutes of that length to save some effort and then use still images for the other bits. Two and a half minutes is a hundred and fifty seconds. A hundred and fifty seconds translates to three thousand six hundred frames. Three thousand six hundred images to be created by hand. While I’d always hated math in school, I don’t recall ever hating it this much.

We decided to flip the script and optimize as much as we could. To a certain degree, you can cheat in animation if you know what you’re up to. Instead of creating twenty four frames for every second of the sequence, we decided to go with twelve, therefore cutting our workload in half. We were still staring at a thousand, eight hundred frames worth of work though, and that would have put one heck of a burden on our small team. So to gain further breathing space, we made a plan to repeat a few of the animated sequences in other parts of the video and in doing so, reduce the overall number of sequences we were to animate. This brought the total number of frames we were to create to just under a thousand, five hundred frames and that seemed a bit more manageable to our already terrified minds.

Next, we chopped up the suitable video footage we’d acquired into a sequence that fit the song and used this to generate the individual frames that we were to draw over. At this point, Shola, our lead animator on the project and I were already starting to butt heads on various technical details on the project. You could come by the office at eight in the evening on any given day and hear voices loudly debating whether it was right to use such and such frame count for such and such composition. That was just the start. By the end of the project, I’m guessing he would have gladly paid money to have me offed and my body dumped over The Third Mainland Bridge. We’ll continue next week.

We’re still accepting submitted artwork and content, so please keep them coming.

All mail, content and material, should be sent to nnamdi@elfworks.biz .

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Ring The Alarm Animated Video 2

In the last article, we kicked off of a review of the process behind the making of an animated music video for the artiste Etcetera’s song Ring the Alarm. We talked about the animation tests we did using Kemi Adetiba’s music video for the Maga No Need Pay song and if you haven’t, you can check out the test video on our blog at theanimage.tumblr.com. In this issue, we’ll start to take a look at what went down during the production of the actual video itself.

To start out, we broke down the process and decided what was to take place in each phase of it. At this time, we still firmly believed that we would wrap the entire project in a couple of months, so you can imagine the gung-ho attitude with which we went into it. We made storyboards for the video, designing and placing what we thought were the key shots and angles. The storyboard itself wasn’t much, just a collection of black and white sketches that helped us the label people visualize what they’d be seeing in the final product. Once we got approval on the storyboards we set out to begin work on the video itself.

Like I mentioned last week, rotoscope animation involves the frame by frame tracing or re-illustration of live video footage, so the first thing we did was set up a video shoot for the artiste. In the video shoot, we wanted to capture the key angles in which the artiste would appear in the animated version, so the intent was to get him to act out however he wanted to appear in the video and we’d simply trace over that. The video shoot was scheduled for a rainy Saturday in a studio in Ikeja and went pretty much as planned. The problem only started when we got the footage back to the office some days later and realized that we didn’t have enough footage to cover the shots we wanted and that the footage we did have wasn’t good enough!

We had to set up another shoot all over again, rent a camera crew all over again and have the artiste perform the sequences all over again. Suffice to say that it wasn’t funny for any of us. And this was just phase 1. Eventually, we got the proper footage for the shots we needed and began the editing process. We did a few initial traces of the artiste’s face to make sure it’d look good, and then we kicked off. The drawn portrait in below is the first test trace of Etcetera’s face and after we did it, we knew were on a roll, we were going to change the Nigerian animation industry, one frame at a time! The only little problem was, there were almost three thousand of them to trace. Frames, that is. That’s when I realized how screwed we were. More details next week!

We’re still accepting submitted artwork and content, so please keep them coming.

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Ring The Alarm Animated Video

About this time last year we got commissioned to make a music video. Normally, that would be a weird request given that we’re not in the business of making music videos. This request, however, was to make an animated music video and making animation is something we’re pretty good at.

Earlier on, we’d been researching and studying the animation technique known as Rotoscoping. It’s a form of animation that involves tracing or drawing over individual frames of live video footage. I think it was first applied by Walt Disney and his team of animators in the making of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Since then it’s been used in a number of large animation projects including the Lord of Rings adaptation in 1978 and Fire and Ice in 1983, both by Ralph Bakshi. Though the technique is quite old, we were intrigued by the really cool ways that it’s been applied on relatively recent projects like the American movie A Scanner Darkly in 2006 and particularly for Kanye West’s animated video for the song Heartless a couple of years back.

So that got us thinking; maybe we could learn to animate like this and possibly create something cool with it? To prove it, we did a bit of research and then a little experiment. We got hold of the music video for the song Maga No Need Pay to use as test video footage. The song was a collaboration among a number of Nigerian artists and the video was directed by Kemi Adetiba. We did this because we reasoned that musical artistes might easily find an application for the technique and also using that video would allow us test the style on a number of different faces.

Completing the test took us a couple of months because we had to work out the kinks in the procedure and that wasn’t very easy. I can still remember the endless technical arguments we had at the office trying to sort out which way was up. Eventually, we came out with something we thought looked good enough, at least to our eyes and we started shopping it around. While it looked okay to us at that point, we wanted to know if it looked okay enough for someone else to consider paying us for the technique.

We hit the phones and the streets and soon enough, we got a bite. Steve Babaeko, head creative honcho and music label owner, wanted to know if we could make a music video for his artiste using the technique. We said yes. He said cool. We said hell yeah! He didn’t have much of a budget but we took what he offered. At this point, it wasn’t about the money, yet. We needed someone to foot the costs for us to execute a complete project using this technique and thoroughly learn it and this was as good an opportunity as any. And in all honesty, it wasn’t going to take us much to get it done, right? We estimated it would take two months, three months tops, to push it out the door. Ignorance.

It took eight months. Eight solid, unflinching, hellish and grueling months. To learn and implement the Rotoscoping technique on a real, live project. Over the next few issues, we’ll be breaking down that process here for you and sharing a lot of behind the scenes content with you guys.

You might want to bring some soap and water, because it’s going to be gritty as heck! You can also check out our Maga No Need Pay animated test video below

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IJ6KhPtX3A

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Leverage

This week, we were actually supposed to begin sharing some of the background details that went into making the artiste Etcetera’s animated music video but I want to digress a bit. Don’t worry, we’re currently sorting through the animated music video material and we should be delivering that tasty dish to you guys next week. In the meantime, however, there’s something else I’d like to talk about here and now.

I was up late last night, working on some project and I got to thinking (or letting my mind wonder, depending on how you see these things). I was thinking about how rich the modern cultural and artistic landscape in Nigeria has become within the last few years. And yes, I am referring to the music and movie cultures. A couple of days back I saw the just released Clarence Peters music video for artist-producer Samklef’s song Molowo Noni and I was stunned. In this one piece of work I saw clearly the aggressive levels of advancement that young Nigerian creatives had made in terms of quality. The track, which has been totally relieved of the hook, had been out since last year, but I got to actually hear it on the video for the first time and the brutally clean and laser sharp quality of Clarence Peter’s video photography gave it massive weight. I’m beyond impressed with what these guys have learnt to do and boy, are they getting rewarded for the commitment they’ve brought to upping their game. What really took my breath away was the very simple fact that ten years ago, this quality of output didn’t exist in this country. How did they advance so fast? That’s the question that kept me up half the night.

If you ask what this has to do with pop art, I’ll say; everything. To all my young pop artists out there; to all my comic pencillers, inkers and colourists, my graffiti artists, my t-shirt artists, my animators and illustrators, these words are for you. Within the next two years, the Nigerian pop art sub-culture which has been bubbling underground for a long while will be given its first chances at mainstream access. Pop artists, illustrators and animators will be able to bring their work directly to the Nigerian public through different channels and be able to make a very decent living off their offerings. Don’t ask me how I know. I just know.

The question you should ask instead is “what will I bring to the table?”. What quality of work are you going to bring to the game, and how fast are you going to be able to evolve that game forward? As good as Clarence Peters was when he started making his own music videos, he’s gotten a whole lot better now. Music producers like Don Jazzy, Cobhams and Jesse Jagz are still making your jaws drop (as well as your money) due to the consistently improving quality of their output. In the space of ten years they’ve gone from Tuface’s debut solo album to Tuface winning international awards year on year. Ten years.

My personal thesis is that the pop art community can surpass the level of mainstream influence that the music industry has now and that they can do it in the space of five years. Ludicrous? Not if they meet these three conditions;

1.       Quality: The quality of work they put out doesn’t have to be perfect but it MUST be good at a base level. The Nigerian market is getting too sophisticated to be impressed by the crappy animation and comic art I’m seeing out there at the moment.

2.       Context: If you will not create pop art or comic or animated stories that speak directly to the Nigerian public and the cultural context in which they currently exist, don’t bother. Last I heard, Zenith Bank is still hiring. If Nigerians don’t understand and can’t relate to you, they won’t buy you.

3.       Leverage: If the previous two conditions are met, then you can apply this third one. Leverage on the popularity of every industry that has gone mainstream before you. Music, movies, comedy, whoever, it doesn’t matter; reference them heavily and shamelessly in your work. That’s the reason why the biggest track on M.I.’s first album was “Safe”. He referenced every popular artiste before him and that’s the track that brought him to the mainstream. Proper leverage can exponentially reduce the amount of time it takes to get into the mainstream starting from zero.

Enough said. Time to get to work boys and girls.