Soyinka Comics, Captain Blud Beckons

Soyinka ComicsA new addition to works and projects aimed at strengthening the legendary image of the Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka is about to find its way into the shelve of comic lovers.

Titled Adventures of Captain Blud, it’s a biographical comic book that highlights certain key events in the life of Soyinka, who is Africa’s renowned activist.

Coordinated by painter, Olu Ajayi, the comic is due for a June/July presentation in the U.S and Nigeria. Quite a number Nigerian professionals in the visual arts discipline teamed up with Ajayi in the production of the images.

They include artists Chuks Onwudinjo and Tunde Soyinka; illustrators, Clif Ogiugo, Faith Araguamen, Tokede Adebayo and Kayode Tejumola, as well as a writer, Ugo Ezeani and photographer, Felix Elijah.

The choice of medium, according to Ajayi, was intended to make the concept unique in such a way that Soyinka stands out among his contemporaries” in line with the revered level of creativity the literary icon is known for. Also, the comic educates young readers about Soyinka’s concern for mankind.

However, the art content, Ajayi argues, is as crucial. “Comics are first of all, art form, something that a man of the theatre like Soyinka would appreciate. Secondly, the medium would make his rich story more accessible to the younger generation who are always more easily attracted by visual works than mere literary text.” For a literary icon whose works, in most cases, have links to Theatre, Captain Blud has its first volume published in a drama script format.

“It consists of Acts I and II, as well as a few chapters from Act IV (Sections I, II, III, IV and XII), bringing the published work to a total of 8 chapters out of 20.”

The comic, Ajayi explains covers certain key moments in Soyinka’s adventurous life. l list includes Act I: Scene I: The Early Years Scene II- The Early Years II; Act II, The Day the Ship Sailed, Subtitle- The Birth of the Pyrates Confraternity; Act III, Gunman on the Stage; Act IV, The Man Died, Subtitle: Prison years, Scene I: The Arrest (Revised).

The Scenes include II: Kiri Kiri (Revised), III: Second Interrogation (Revised), IV: Meeting the Igbo Detainees (Revised), V: The Confession (Revised), VI: The Riot (Revised), VII: A Friend’s Intercession (Revised), VIII: Protesting Injustice (Revised), IX: Hunger Strike (Revised), X: In Death’s Footsteps, XI: The Wedding (Revised), XII: Security Breach (Revised) and XIII: Conclusion.

Other sections are Act V, Ori Olokun, Subtitle: The Quest for the Holy Grail of Ife; and Act VI, The Nobel Prize; Act VII, Terror on the Throne, Subtitle: When Absolute Power Corrupts.  in recent times,Olu Ajayi Studio has been taking art outside the regular space to document renowned professionals across strata of life.

His project, Living Legends, which started in 2008, has documented icons such as Soyinka, Yusuf Grillo, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Oba of Benin, Erediuwa, J.P Clark and former head of State, General Yakubu Gowon.

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