How Nigeria’s ‘Bobi’ plans to crack the American market

Image copyright Gbolahan Mudiayomonu Image caption Gbolahan Mudiayomonu was inspired to come up with his board game by his trips to Nairobi With just 10 days to go until the end of Comic Con…

How Nigeria's 'Bobi' plans to crack the American market

Image copyright Gbolahan Mudiayomonu Image caption Gbolahan Mudiayomonu was inspired to come up with his board game by his trips to Nairobi

With just 10 days to go until the end of Comic Con New York, making an appearance is still the last thing on Gbolahan Mudiayomonu’s mind.

“It’s stressful,” he laughs. “Every seven years I’m usually in the eye of the hurricane.”

Mr Mudiayomonu is one of the organisers of Comic Con New York, but he is also an author, artist and entrepreneur.

He has a first book out – Agogo (Originality). And he is currently putting the finishing touches to a board game in which players bid to create the best comic, the “worst” movie and the “most influential”, to be launched at Comic Con.

Image copyright Gbolahan Mudiayomonu Image caption Mr Mudiayomonu hopes he will be involved in a dialogue with his creators when he visits Comic Con New York later this year

“The world is becoming fragmented, you know. You have the old and the new,” he tells me.

“So it’s becoming more like a pure competition on scale. How can we have everybody win?”

After attending Comic Con New York, Mr Mudiayomonu hopes to move on to other prominent comics conventions such as Comicon in California and have a meeting with the creators of his game.

Image copyright Gbolahan Mudiayomonu Image caption Gbolahan Mudiayomonu’s next game is expected to be called Mongrel

“It’s like a philosophical conundrum of art and how you say that comics are no longer just for kids.”

He sees his game as a metaphor, reflecting his own journey of “Afro-futurism”.

He began by drawing comic characters but has since expanded into art, writing and even commercial designer.

His new book shows people “covering” a person in maize to perform a particular ritual.

Mr Mudiayomonu believes the image comes from Nigeria, where traditional practice demands that people have corn on their forehead.

“The corn… is just trying to fly itself,” he says.

Image copyright Gbolahan Mudiayomonu Image caption His latest game, Agogo, is for fans of comics and other forms of art

It’s not hard to see why the Lagos-based artist has a burning desire to engage with people from around the world.

He goes by the nickname “Bobi” because as a child he dreamed of becoming a “bobbie”, which is a Nigerian dancer.

His own comic, Eat Your Nuts, is an anthropological examination of a fictional village in South Africa called Hillbilly.

“My idea of fun is eating chocolate and loads of chocolate,” he says, laughing.

His diverse interests make it hard to pin down what exactly motivates him. But he hopes his experience will encourage others to think outside the box.

“It can be anyone. You can be young, you can be old. You don’t have to have a certain socio-economic status.”

In addition to his love of comics, Mr Mudiayomonu is also involved in film and music, and is contributing to a series of documentaries about Nigeria called Dear Nigeria.

“I think what we have found is that we have one of the richest communities in the world. We just need to be united.”

Image copyright Gbolahan Mudiayomonu Image caption Gbolahan Mudiayomonu took up comics to escape from his home village in Nigeria

There are signs that Mr Mudiayomonu’s dream may be coming true.

Last year, a community of 40 million people in Nigeria voted in a contest for the best comic by setting up #YoungEditor.

Young editor is a collaboration between Comic Con New York and Nigerian leaders aimed at getting young people interested in comics.

Mr Mudiayomonu hopes he can become involved in the dialogue about creativity and identity as the artist draws a map of Nigeria and has lunch with the co-founder of #YoungEditor.

The next edition of Comic Con New York is on September 20 – 22.

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