Producing my own comics taught me how to package information, a valuable skill that forms the backbone of much of my work today. Older comics always had text features, letters pages, fact features and so on. DC did it really well during the beginning of the Silver age, and it gives the reader a much richer experience than just telling stories.
The Global Gazette Special #1 featuring Captain Africa came out in May 1996 and followed metrOwerks in The Global Gazette #2, and it was my most ambitious comic. It combined a Nigerian comic my penpal Francis U. Odupute sent me with my own story about the character, as well as fact pages and an essay about my penpal and his life in Nigeria.
Download The Global Gazette Special 1 PDF. You’ll enjoy it more if you read the blog post first.
It was a dicey decision to reprint Andy Akman’s original story and use his character in my own story, and I’m not going to try to rejustify it here. You can read the original text pieces inside the PDF which is why this blog post is brief this time, plus Akman’s reaction when I was finally able to get in contact with him. I don’t buy all of the rationalisation in breaking copyright law I wrote back then. I understood what I could do under the law. I did it, and I don’t regret it.
By doing that I polarised my audience. As a member-submitted piece to the United Fanzine Organization, some came down saying I shouldn’t have done it, others took it as I meant it, as a way to showcase material they wouldn’t have seen otherwise and the connection it made to another culture.
I do know that I produced one of my better stories by taking some chances in experimenting with different illustration techniques exploring Akman’s creation, and that mostly got overlooked in the criticism that followed. That was disappointing to me, but it is understandable. If you don’t agree with producing the work in the first place, why would you give it credibility by critiquing it?
Francis and I still communicate infrequently, now through email. He’s married, a father, and practicing as an artist. Nigeria, from what I know, still has its problems.
Up next : The Global Gazette #3 : Atomic Fruit