ZEBRA COMICS: THE RISE OF #ALIYA ?!? – PART 1/3
** We are asking for your understanding here: This is probably ADMP’s weirdest interview EVER !! We are interviewing an Entrepreneur, Comic book publisher (ZeBra Comics) & visual artist, E.N Ejob, and,…and ALIYA, the cartoon character designed by Zebra Comics;
Think about a disruptive version of Sophia the ‘robot’ or ‘Humanoïd’ with a Saoudi Arabian’s citizenship. ALIYA’s insisted to attend the interview, and we basically had to interview her too! We apologized for potential 2D or 3D ‘disruptive comments’…
- ADMPawards : Hello ALIYA, and E.N Ejob ! Can you guys, introduce yourself and your Team ?
Ejob Nathanael Ejob: Oh great. My name is Ejob Nathanael Ejob, or as I like it E.N. Ejob. I’m a law graduate, a former insurance officer, and now founder of Zebra Comics Inc. Zebra Comics is a team of twelve artists and writers. We came together at least three years ago to begin training ourselves on providing original, innovative, and African comic book content.
ALIYA: My name’s ALIYA and i will conduct this interview the way I see fit: I am a pretty and sassy globe trotting translator, courted by enigmatic characters who surface from-the-sha-dows !
Interview by Hermann Djoumessi, MA
ADMP, Senior Social Media phenomenon Analyst.
2. ADMPawards: #DANG! …All right, all right…#Metoo! #Wakanda4Ever and all that …:)) – We are down with everyone’s culture, even with 2D or 5 D characters!!
– This question is for BOTH of you, actually : What does ZEBRA Comic stands for, exactly ??
E.NE: Zebra comics represent a philosophy. Which I like to call the philosophy of life itself. There is a reason we chose the zebra for our logo and it is a well calculated choice. We believe that for life to exist, there must be harmony between two opposite forces in nature. Simply put, this is what the Chinese would call the universal ‘ying and the yang’ Balance. We wanted our logo to represent that philosophy as well as representing our home, Cameroon, Africa.
A zebra is a very beautiful African creatures and its wonderful mélange of black and white, for us, was a great way to represent our philosophy. Secondly, our goal is to change mindsets. What I mean is, through our stories, we intend to inspire Africans, and youths in particular to love their continent. To dream big and to develop their home. To make Africa green pasture. Our stories are built to edify the readers. They’re built to promote our African cultures and values and to share them with the rest of the world.
3. ADMPawards: #Wow, we won’t ‘kneecap’ that statement, with another ‘comment’ .. However, you might want to add something to that awesome tirade, #ALIYA?
ALIYA: Yeah, “ALIYA” narrates the story of me, ALIYA as an independent, corporate and beautiful being. Set in contemporary Africa, it is a direct commentary on the strength of the African woman, the beauty of the African continent and the awesomeness of African mythology! That’s all-i-ha-ve-to-say !!
4.ADMPawards: ADMPers can live with that answer, for all intent and purpose, i’m sure!!..hum… ALIYA, the way you ‘throw shades‘ reminds us of a younger version of comedian ‘Tiffany Haddish‘ sometimes… Where do you… BOTH, draw your artistic inspiration, from?
E.NE: Our inspiration comes from our environment. Growing up, I used to listen to a lot of myths and legends told by my parents. African stories. Very remarkable. Growing up, I would have wished to see these stories immortalized in comics, a medium which is very friendly to kids. But all I got were superhero stories from the ‘West’, and honestly, while these stories were also in their way very inspiring, it gave me the impression that everything was better overseas and that Africa was not worth living in.
But then, it was simply because I had no African comics to consume. I think at the time, there were only the Kwakou comics which told stories that truly reflected home, but those also faded away with time. A huge void was left in me. I knew something had to be done.
5. ADMPawards: Let’s Segway into the Mag. What are the main themes of your magazine and what message do you convey to African youth?
E.NE: First of all, I’d like to make a correction if you will, we do not publish one magazine. We publish several comic books individually. For now, we have ALIYA, TOTEM and TUMBU. More info here: www.facebook.com/ZebraComicsInc/.
There are several themes or messages we pass across in our comics. But I think primarily, our message circulate around, self determination, self discovery and development. We encourage the young to dare. To dare change the status quo.
To paint a brighter picture of Africa. We strongly believe in the potential of the youths and so we tailor our stories to inspire them into action. Our stories are also meant to push them to appreciate their culture. We have stories that deal with contemporary times like ALIYA, we have stories that deal with neighborhood realities like TUMBU and we have deep cultural stories, set in precolonial times like TOTEM. These stories allow us to accept and appreciate our unique African identities and to develop upon them.
ALIYA: i will add that, I encourage your readers to read more comic books created by Africans. I encourage them to visit the Zebra Comics Inc. facebook page and discover this new-and-thri-ving-start-up!
6. ADMPawards: Fierce! Thanks ALIYA, hummm… we’ll tell that to our readers right now! :(( – This one is I guess, for E.NE… One cannot argue that you have been busy of late on social media…, for a few months it seems, that you have been talking a lot about the ALIYA ‘character’ in your various social media postings – How can we find out more about her?
E.NE: Thanks, … “This” is confusing, sometimes, even for “me”… :)) – That said, ALIYA, is a comic book series that is published every three months. The writer of ALIYA is An Nina, and the story is illustrated by Mukah Ispahani and myself. You remember, Zebra Comics is not a ‘One man show’: We did put a team together and that is how we work on every story we produce.
So, although An Nina would be best placed to talk about this series, I will try to represent her as much as i can. Although I do recommend an interview with her on ALIYA solely. All in all, ALIYA is geared at inspiring young girls to work, to earn and to be strong in the face of a male dominating society.
ALIYA: STOP! I’ll take it from there… it is the story of a young millenial, me as a woman, i’m a translator, a globetrotting translator in the corporate world of Africa. I could represent for some, a sort of “true Afro-feminism”. Something will change my life forever, but I won’t tell you more… I’d leave our ADMPers to get a copy to discover what is so-in-tri-guing-a-bout-my-awe-some-sto-ry-line !!
7. ADMPawards: OK…OK…We are ‘De-fi-ni-te-ly-in-tri-gued’ !! Let’s hope ADMPers, are too! To finish the first part of this interview, from ‘nowhere-else-but-Zebra-Comics”, we will ask ALIYA, to give us the TOP 5 attributes she possesses or … her… ‘character’ ?
ALIYA: I’m not a “cha-rac-ter” ! But a “real person” or a “Data citizen” if you want, made of my TOP 5 Attributes, which are : I’m a creative person, that is Passionate about her work, who values innovation above anything else, whilst being, Focused and full of determination! :))
ADMPAWARDS: THANK YOU, ALIYA, EN Job, you’re BOTH far too Kind! :))
Interview by Hermann Djoumessi, MA
ADMP, Senior #CRYPTOARTS Analyst.
JOIN US NEXT WEEK, to carry on this fascinating “Roger Rabbit”- like, interview with a creator, potentially a future “Black Walt Disney”, Ejob Nathanael Ejob and its creation, full of ‘Attitude’ and ‘Fierceness’, ALIYA !!
ALIYA: And lastly to the African youth, I say, DARE!
ADMP: Oups! Sorry for that! She’s definitely ‘out-of-control’!!:))
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