Adeniran Adeniji Jr. is the chief executive of PMG Multimedia, a subsidiary of Phalanx Media Group, a Lagos-based Media company and creators of Uhuru: Legend of the Windriders.
He was born in Lagos, Nigeria and started reading comics at a very early age. Greatly inspired by titles such as Spiderman, X-men and Superman, he started creating and drawing his own characters in elementary school and had over a hundred original characters by the time he was twelve. Adeniran still avidly reads comics and insists that they are not just for kids as many in Nigeria believe. There are comics for people of all ages and they are a vital part of any society’s popular and literary culture because they entertain as well as educate.
Uhuru: Legend of the Windriders, an African adventure set in the future, was first published in August of 2012 under CB Press. A four-part digital animated series of Uhuru is being developed for release in 2015 by PMG Multimedia.
Adeniran enjoys working with young people and has been involved in a number of youth workshops and events including “Heroes Are Us”, a comic creation workshop for teenagers, and the Lagos Junior Carnival, organised by the Lagos State Government.
Today, he shuttles between Lagos, where he works, and his home in Charlotte, NC, USA where his wife and three children are based.
Farafina Books, asked Adeniran a few questions about his own history in the comic book world and what he thinks of #ShugaArtist, here’s what he said.
FB: What was your first encounter with comic books?
AA: Don’t remember my first encounter to be honest. My mum got me hooked on comics. Thanks mum!
FB: What was your inspiration for becoming a comic artist?
AA: I fell in love with Marvel comics. I loved drawing already but started drawing comic books in elementary school. My cousin, Folayemi Awojobi, was the best artist in school at the time and I wanted to be better than him. So he was my inspiration.
My focus has moved from being an illustrator to developing solid production, marketing and distribution platforms for our very talented creatives to get their work out to their target markets.
FB: Do you have any images that inspired your passion?
AA: Yes, there are many. Primarily images in Avengers, Spiderman and Superman comics. There are many other genres that have fueled my passion, too many to enumerate here.
FB: When you started out, comic art wasn’t so popular in Nigeria, how would you describe the comic art industry in Nigeria today?
AA: The terrain is much better than when I started out. Artists today have access to a wide range of software and then there’s the internet. Consequently, their work has a more professional look and they benefit from the extensity the internet affords them. They have greater access to learning tools, markets and the creative community (indigenous and global). There is still a lot of ground to cover but I’m happy with the progress made so far.
FB: So, do we have the local talent to transform #ShugaNaija into a comic book?
AA: Absolutely! The talent is on par with anywhere is the world. They just need support and exposure. An ecosystem needs to exist that enables many of our creatives to earn a living doing what they love. It will come. It’s inevitable.
FB: What level of quality do you expect to see? Do you have any images that depict the level of talent we can expect to see from a potential #ShugaArtist?
AA: I expect to see a high level of quality. Yes, I do have images that depict the level of talent we expect to see.
FB: Why should Nigerian comic artists be entering the #ShugaArtist selection process?
AA: They should enter the Shuga Artist selection process because of the affiliation with top brands like MTV Base and Kachifo and for the exposure it will give them personally and professionally.
Key relationships are integral to a sustainable career…..whatever you do.
So, all you comic artists out there, you heard it from a #ShugaArtist judge!