ComExposed, a new platform for comic books

3D & Animation | By Tinodiwa Makoni, Founder of ComExpzd | 02 October 2015
PHOTO: © Tafadzwa Tarumbwa

What is ComExposed
EM: ComExposed is an organisation we founded together to promote comic books and help out the comic book artists, and bring them together to the rest of the world, the general public and the corporate world. To just introduce Zimbabwe to the culture of comic books and how everyone can benefit and enjoy it
TM: It has also since grown to become a digital arts hub and a way to connect with everyone if they are not into comics - though that is our starting point - to also converse, share and collaborate as long as they are doing digital art.
EM: ComExposed is also a representative body of a number of artists some of whom have participated in Comic Up which is a comic book we are going to talk about later on.
TM: ComExposed started when we were both teaching at Digital Academy and we were frustrated with the way artists were not communicating or sharing knowledge,every artists seemed to live on an island and more or less believed that they were ‘it’, which we could not blame them because they didn’t know anyone else. Born from that frustration came the idea of possibly holding a convention. In asking questions, talking to people, embarking on a mission of a convention we came to the realisation that we needed to actually build an entire industry in order to hold a convention. That’s when ComExposed as an organisation was born and we set about trying to build our member base and we started with our students, Eugene coerced all our students onto the ComExposed Facebook group and I reenforced his efforts and that’s how ComExposed was born and we just grew numbers until where we are now.
EM: And that was in 2013.

How did the comic book come into being?
EM: The comic book was an idea that we are trying to build an industry, and there is no better way to do this than to create a comic book. Tino had this idea to get all these artists to contribute to anthology which is just a collection of stories in one comic book. Like those Manga’s where you have multiple stories in one. The idea was to achieve all of our goals and perform our mandate by helping artists to collaborate, communicate, create, and pretty much work together towards making one publication, that was the idea behind Comic Hub. I needed a lot of convincing but eventually I agreed to it and supported him and it turned out to be the comic book we announced early in February 2015 on our podcast. It was met with a bit of scepticism at first, but we worked hard and we got artists like Tafadzwa Tarumbwa, and Nqobizitha Mlilo to help and support the project. In the end we had six great artists pitching in, and we distributed a thousand issues on the day of
the convention.

Where can people find these comics?
TM: The way the comic was done was through crowd sourcing and crowd funding. It didn’t necessarily work out that way. The method of getting one is through the individual artists and their networks, of course you can come to ComExposed to our offices and get a copy directly. We are exploring other avenues for distribution but we started this very grass roots, guerilla style. You may not see it in Bon Marche anytime soon but you may see it in more
speciality stores.
EM: Will be working with corporate partners to see how we can get some sort of distribution aided by them, we also encourage the general public to get in touch with us through our Facebook page and our group and get information from our website.

Where do you see Afrikan comic art in the near future?
TM: Big Question! We see exciting things. Now is the time for us to be doing something. Afrikan art, is not like art anywhere else in the world. We feel that there is this huge opening for it, everyone is hungry for something that they don’t even realise that they are going to love. We have seen the sprouting of other conventions within Afrika and we are the third one that we know of. This resurgence of digital art and Afrikans getting into digital art is evidence that there is a hunger for that product. There are people at this point and time, ready to create that kind of artwork. Afrikans want to do Sci-fi, they want to do visual effects, they want to do comics, they want to do games, all of that stuff right now is when its happening. There is also a drive from the rest of the world to seek out more Afrikan content. As ComExposed we are aiming to be a gateway for all these people coming out of Afrika into Afrika for this art, and we aim to be a platform for people within Afrika to get their work out there. Just as the name says we are expanding to expose outside to what is inside and expose everyone inside to what is happening outside
EM: The future in Afrikan art and Afrikan comics is to play a leadership role for once in a long time the playing field has been levelled out. A great comic book, artist here in Zimbabwe called Walter Barna or Kudzai Gumbo who can create work like that is on par with someone in the United States. The difference is our work is absolutely Afrikan, and there are very unique ways of telling stories and visiting histories of countries that have been pretty much overlooked for centuries such as Zimbabwe. That means we have introduced the possibility of a whole new pool of ideas, new ways of story telling that may lead entertainment in the future for Afrika and the rest of the world even so its the beginning of a new age for us and the sky is
the limit!