What Is It Like To Work For An African Comic Book Company? An Interview With Achidi Ajaga

Achidi Ajaga African comics colourist at zebra comics plc

Go to the streets of any city in Africa and ask random people in what industries they will like to pursue a career. I bet you, not many of them will mention a desire to work for a comic book production company. This is not necessarily because comic book publishing companies do not exist in Africa or that it is impossible to pursue a fulfilling and successful career in this sector. The real issue actually finds its root in the fact that there aren’t many of such companies in Africa and how they function is mostly obscure business.

In this article, we seek to demystify the sector by throwing some light on the daily activities of someone who works in the sector, so as to show that it is a vibrant sector and anybody can pursue a successful career here if they really want to.

Below is therefore a discussion we had with Achidi Ajaga, colourist at Zebra Comics PLC, on what it means to work for a comic book creation and publishing company like Zebra Comics PLC. Enjoy!

Zebra Comics Blog: Hello, Achidi. Thank you for accepting to talk with us and share your experiences working for a comic book company. Now, the first thing we would like to know is; Who is Achidi Ajaga?

Achidi Ajaga: Thank you very much. Achidi Ajaga is a colourist at Zebra Comics PLC and holder of an Msc in Medical Physics from the University of Buea, Cameroon.

Zebra Comics Blog: How did you get into comics?

Achidi Ajaga: Actually, my dive into comics was certified at Zebra Comics PLC. However, long before I understood what comics meant and was all about,I had already started drawing. As early as my infant years, I had already fallen in love with drawing and illustration and I could always be seen drawing in my exercise books at home and in school. With time, my interest and skills in drawing grew and I ultimately became a comic book colourist at Zebra Comics PLC.

Zebra Comics Blog: How did you know about Zebra Comics PLC?

Achidi Ajaga: Well, I actually got to know about Zebra Comics PLC from another artist who is a close friend. This was around the time when Zebra Comics launched a recruitment for an artist to work in their creative studio. When I saw the opportunity, I was amazed that in Cameroon,  there exist creative companies that deal in something I was passionate about. I therefore applied for a position at the company and here we are today.

Zebra Comics Blog: What is your role at Zebra Comics PLC?

Achidi Ajaga: At Zebra Comics PLC, I work as a colourist. My everyday job is to bring the illustrations done by the penciller and inker to life. I decide on colours that work well with the story and make them pop for every reader. I ensure that the colours bring out the mood that the story should have and thereby assure enjoyability for the consumer.

Zebra Comics Blog: What does your working day at Zebra Comics PLC look like?

Achidi Ajaga: A normal day of work at Zebra Comics consists of daily tasks. To ensure that all staff members, I included, are productive, tasks are given and follow up is implemented to make sure that these tasks are accomplished. So, everyday, I am called upon to colour or ink a certain number of pages. I make sure that I do these tasks everyday so as to achieve an objective that will take the company forward.

Zebra Comics Blog: Over all, how does it feel working for a comic book company in Cameroon? How do your family, friends and loved ones view this?

Achidi Ajaga: I will say working at Zebra Comics PLC is fulfilling. I use the word fulfilling because not everyone has the opportunity or privilege to enjoy what they do as work. When you enjoy your daily work, it usually doesn’t feel like work. So, creating these stories, bringing them to life and the general environment just makes creativity flow seamlessly and provides for a magical environment where you can work without feeling like it is work. This magical environment is also appreciated by my friends who are so excited because I work for one of the few or only comic book publishing companies that recruit on a full time basis in Africa. We all know of Marvel and DC comics in the United States, but there wasn’t any competitor in Africa until recently. And for the icing on the cake, my parents always knew that I am a creative person who loved to draw, and so they are very happy that I am able to pursue a career in something that I actually love to do. It is amazing!

Zebra Comics Blog: Any advice for young people who wish to work with a comics book company like Zebra Comics PLC?

Achidi Ajaga: My advice to anybody who is willing to pursue a career in a comic book company like Zebra Comics PLC is that they should know that it is very possible. The possibilities for any artist to pursue a career in this sector are huge nowadays. They just need to grow in their craft, keep on getting better and always put their work out there for people to see. They do not necessarily need to know too much from the get go, they just need to put their work out there for the world to see. Also, be willing and be ready to learn, because that is the only way you will grow as an artist. This is a sector where innovation is as common as the air we breathe, so you need to always be ready to learn new things.

Achidi Ajaga is an artist who has worked on several comic book hits from Zebra Comics like Kawana, Wrong Dial and Khadija. You can follow him on instagram.

6 thoughts on “What Is It Like To Work For An African Comic Book Company? An Interview With Achidi Ajaga”

  1. It’s great to see African artists living their dream through Zebra Comics. I pray they grow bigger and make this a reality for more artists on the continent.

  2. Zebra Comics, you guys are taking African comics global. Proud to see that. Go on, the world watches.

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