This month, our spotlight is on Kingsley Ezeh, a 27 years old comic book artist, illustrator and architect who lives in Enugu state, Nigeria. Kingsley is the Co-founder and Creative Director of FourSeven Studios, a studio that aims to build its community by exploring cultures, the environment, conventions and the eccentrics. He has a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in Architecture at the same university.
According to Kingsley, he has been into alternative forms for visual art for more than two decades of his life.
Read through his interview to learn about the comics he creates and what inspires him.
How did you end up creating comics?
Kingsley: I have been creating comics for leisure ever since I got hold of the first ones. Three titles come to mind; The punisher, X-Men and Hardcase. But as a potential business, I started in my second year at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus after proposing to a friend and my brother too to see if we could take it beyond leisure.
Obviously, something instigated it. It was the exciting potential of stories from our perspective, the Nigerian perspective. Although not limited to it. Also, after seeing some other start-ups have a go at it, I thought we had something to offer as well.
You began with creating e-comic books instead of print comic books. Why is that?
Kingsley: Cost. We didn’t have the financial capability of starting out with prints. E-books was the easiest route. And there’s also an imbalance between the purchasing price if printed, to the quantity of content within a book. I’m drawing reference from an old comic book in Nigeria; Supa strikas. It cost about 30 naira back then for a book. Whereas, today a book could cost around 1,000 naira.
The increase is unsustainable for regular purchase from regular customers who are the main target while even bearing the mind the inflation in the current economy. It’s about a 3000 percent increase!
Which comic character are you most proud of creating, and why?
Kingsley: It has to be Odogwu. Because he has the full identity of a relatable character, which is ordinary while still infused in an extraordinary situation or story. It’s always exciting to see how his story pans out. It’s also important to note that I’m not solely responsible for the creation of all the characters of FourSeven, but Odogwu and a few.
On FourSeven Studios’ Instagram page, I saw previews of a new story you’re working on. Can you tell us a little more about it?
Kingsley: Sure, It’s called Waff City. It’s a title that delves into the overlapping stories of previously published titles; Shifter and Pointblank due to the fact both titles play out in the same city, New Waff City.
New Waff City is what you would call a micro Nigeria. It’s fictional apparently and a tool to tell the stories with the richness in diversity in Nigeria without necessarily moving and editing much in the already existing states. Not that we won’t at all. I mean, Odogwu is based in Enugu state.
NWC isn’t a perfect reflection of Nigeria. We put our personal spin to it while using the Nigerian experience.
Outside of comics, what inspires/influences your work?
Kingsley: Movies, some books that I’m yet to read but have watched the movies (lol), video games, the people around me, my faith, and most importantly, I am inspired by our readers.
Is there any significant difference between the comic scene/community in Lagos and Enugu?
Kingsley: Most definitely. To start as defining factor, to the best of my knowledge, most of the comic bodies, be it established companies or start-ups, are located in Lagos. It staggers greatly the diffusion or awareness of the industry in Nigeria unfavourably.
What’s your plan for the future of FourSeven Studios?
Kingsley: We plan to go beyond comics and explore other creative outlets like animation, gaming, live-action adaptations etcetera. As comic books is just one medium for a certain audience. And we’d like to cover as much audience as possible.
Do you have any quick advice for aspiring comic book illustrators out there?
Kingsley: They say whatever you do, do it well. It applies to illustrating too, greatly because you will have a better audience in quantity and quality when you put out good work. Even if you’re at a level that’s subpar, I’ve seen people grow from that to really good artists with sheer dedication and determination. Discipline isn’t always sweet. It’s almost never sweet but exceedingly rewarding. Lastly, play your cards wisely.
Thank you so much for taking your time to respond to our questions.
Kingsley: You’re welcome.
To download the e-comics, visit FourSeven comics website
To stay updated on their new releases, follow on Instagram and Twitter @4-7studios.
Facebook: FourSeven Studios
Leave a reply