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Justin Irabor: The King Of The “Obaranda” ComicDom

By Njideka Agbo 04 January 2018   |   2:56 pm

Perhaps, you are:

You should have come across Obaranda or know someone that knows someone that knows… and the list just goes on…

In less than two years, Obaranda has become a household comic name that presents the Nigerian reality in a hilarious way. Justin Irabor, popularly known as the @TheVunderkind on twitter, or  Justin, Vundie, Mogwai or simply that Obaranda guy, is the amazing talent behind the Obaranda comic. Irabor is the former marketing manager of hotels.ng and Jumia.

We caught up with him and he gave us an insight into the world of Obaranda, his new marketing strategy for the webcomic and its future.

Tell us a little bit about Obaranda

Obaranda, in a nutshell, is “the Nigerian condition, illustrated”. Growing up – and even now – I consumed comics in various formats (newspaper comics, paperbacks and eventually webcomics) that displayed humour in the everyday life, mostly from the Western perspective. I created Obaranda long before I named it ‘Obaranda’, and in its early days, it was just a number of quick sketches illustrating the amusement I found in my day-to-day interactions in Lagos.

You were sharing your art for free until a few days ago. What prompted the move to sell art?

Two things, really: First, I created a Patreon page at the request of Obaranda‘s readers. I get emails, DMs and questions on Curious Cat asking me if I have a Patreon they can contribute to. This is me finally creating one!

Secondly, I have realised that with the feeling that I’m ‘creating’ content on my own time and with no responsibility to anyone comes a certain…lethargy. The way I see this new move is: with people pledging their money in support of my drawings and comics, I have a duty to keep creating. Somewhere in this relationship, I expect to become a better artist with a more prolific portfolio.

Justin Irabor

What is the future of Obaranda?

As time progresses, I think that Obaranda will become the nameplate for my artistic experiments – my graphic novels, episodic webcomics and animated webisodes designed to illustrate the robust, 3D richness of Nigerian life from a POV that ANYONE can see.

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