Exclusive Interview Part 1: The New Age of African Comics and Films

With the global impact of MCU Black Panther film, as well as this year’s critically acclaimed the king woman Y Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the public appetite for African and Afrofuturist stories has never been greater. But what is still missing are African and diaspora creators, especially comic book and graphic novel creators who have their stories authentically told by major studios and networks.

In this exclusive CBM series, we feature the top African and Diaspora creators who are creating movie- and show-ready characters and stories.

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This week we interview Pedro Chizoba Daniel, Creator and Founder of Peda Entertainment. If you like action, Game of Thrones-level fantasies, science fiction, and mythology, you’ll love its multiverse of unique, epic, and genre-spanning titles inspired by the African continent. Peter is a multi-award winning creator, illustrator and writer. He has been named top 3 illustrators in Nigeria for his award-winning title, the first published story of his, THE CHRONICLES OF THE NEWBORN: THE RISE OF THE MLEZI , which has been featured in the African and international press, including AFROPUNK and Bleeding Cool. He also received the prestigious Glyph Award for producing the best new dramatic comic in 2019 about the struggles of young people with albinism in African society. UNDER THE SUN.

His graphic novels and comics have sold out at comic book conventions across the US, and have even received admiration from top actors, including Giancarlo Esposito.

James (CBM): Tell us about yourself, what led you to create comics and launch Peda Entertainment as a studio?

Pedro: “I enjoy making comics. I love to draw. I love art. I’ve been doing comics since I was a kid, so you know, it’s been a wonderful journey for me.

When I was a child, it was my favorite hobby: when I was at home after school work, on vacations, I would draw the characters of the western comics that I would read and devour.

Growing up, I enjoyed the beautiful adventures I got from these mediums of comics, video games, and cartoons. But something was missing. I didn’t see my African heritage, culture, history and people who looked like me in these stories.

Later in my life, I realized that I had to do this. Parents, you know, want you to become a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer, but sometimes people are different. I discovered that I had a talent for drawing and telling stories, this is my passion. Creativity fascinates me.

I wanted to see African history, culture, and mythology in video games, comics, and animation. So, I felt like the fastest way I could bring this to life was through the comics. The first story I created was CHRONICLES OF THE NEWBORN. I had to draw the first number myself. It took me a year for a 28 page book!

There was no one else I knew at the time making stories that reflected African cultural and historical legacies. I love Viking stories, for example, which show the wonderful cultures of the Nordic region. But I wanted to see African culture and stories in comics and decided to make them popular for global mass consumption. I created a platform so that it is possible to see myself in these stories. As the saying goes, if you want to do something, you have to do it yourself.

People have the perception, ‘oh, comics are easy to draw,’ but that’s not true. It takes a lot of work and a lot of time and money to make a quality release and launch a dedicated studio.

Regarding the name of our studio, pronounced ‘Pey dah’, everyone thinks it comes from my name Peter Daniel, but, about 8 years ago, it was registered and formed by me and 3 of my friends, so Peter, Eddie, Dary , and Ado. But because they all had different visions and a different path, it ended up just with me, so I guess it was more related to my name.”

James: What comics, writers and artists were your favorites growing up and also your inspirations?

Pedro: “It was Valiant, Marvel, DC; No one can refute the fact that Superman is one of the most popular characters in the comic book world and he inspired many people to create a superhuman being. At 7 or 8 years old, my first superhero comic was Superman, printed in black and white. I also read TinTin.

Regarding creators or writers, when I was young I didn’t really pay attention to who the writer was, but creator artists like Todd McFarlane – his work always amazed me and inspired me to draw better because his illustration is so detailed. Also, Joe Maduera (known for his work on Uncanny and Astonishing X-Men and his own comic, Battle Chasers) had a major influence on the comics industry: drawing with passion. Also, I would not fail to mention a Nigerian superhero comic strip that appeared in Nigeria’s daily newspaper, The Vanguard, back in the late 80’s and early 90’s… this Nigerian creator had four panels published every week in the newspaper, and we really enjoyed that part and it inspired me.”

James: What is your vision for Peda?

Pedro: “To build a studio that caters to African curiosity when it comes to storytelling, and we do it out of pure passion. Africans around the world are curious about their past and the possibilities of the future. The use of storytelling is powerful. It is a way of shaping people, shaping children, and shaping the future.

For example, if you are raising two children and you tell one child that he is useless and stupid and you tell another child that he is a winner, one that will be great. Of course, both of their lives will be affected by this world. But what we want to do, despite what their parents may tell them negatively, is give them powerful stories, to help them believe in themselves, to inspire them to be their best.

Therefore, we want to create a global brand that helps inspire and engage Africa’s curiosity through our stories, to help quell the lies, scams being talked about from Africa and highlight true African history and folklore. ”.

James: Can you tell us more about the artists and writers?

Pedro: “The artists, illustrators and writers we work with are handpicked specifically for each title to ensure they have the same creative spirit and understanding of the original African heritage legacy. Therefore, we are very precise and very careful to work with those who already have our common vision so that we can achieve what is necessary faster. We don’t have to spend as much time trying to train the artist and educate them on African history and mythology. they know it. They agree with our vision from the beginning of their work with us. From this, we all come up with beautiful and powerfully compelling stories.”

James: You were born in Nigeria and now you live in Texas. What has your own journey been like to be in the United States, and as a Nigerian, what have you learned about being a part of national and cultural identities?

Pedro: “Yes, I was born in Nigeria but yes, I immigrated in 2015 and made many trips to the United States for 20 years. The trip has been fantastic and has exposed me to a variety of different experiences and cultures. As you know, the US economy is one of the most stable and has provided me with the livelihood to better achieve my dreams for this study.

But, as you know, ‘there’s no place like home’, no matter what it is; you still want to be home with your family and all the beautiful family memories growing up.

Both cultures are very important to me. It wasn’t a big deal moving here. We have been in tune with the United States since we were children because most of the content we consume has been from the United States.”

James: Which of your titles would you most like to see on the big screen as a movie?

Pedro: “I would love to see the majority of Chayoma on the big screen because Chayoma is a story that I hold very close to my heart for personal reasons. She represents one of the most powerful black women in history. She represents the raw energy and power of the black woman growing up in a world of chaos. I also tried to tell my story true to the original inspiration, full of compassion but still having to fight to survive. There’s a saying, you know, that if you’re kind and good-hearted, you look weak, but I don’t think that’s true. I believe that those with a good heart are the strongest because in this world you will need those people to move forward. The others can be negative-minded and conceited. In the end, they will get nowhere. So to me, there’s a message in Chayoma that lets people know, ‘Yes, you can be compassionate. Yes, you can be kind and still be as powerful as a nuclear bomb. ”

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James: When you watch Marvel and DC movies, like Black Panther, what would you do in your cinematic universe that would set Peda Entertainment apart?

Pedro: “What will make us different from these films is that we are telling the original African stories. Being that I am African and have done my research, a lot of research. . I have even traveled back and forth to the villages, talking to the village elders, to capture these stories. And I see that there are stories that have not yet been told and the way in which we are going to tell them is going to be different. We will show African stories that will make us stand out because they are not superficial. Every story we create has the capacity to be explosive because we individualize our stories so that each story has its own universe to portray the majesty of that story and make it massive.”

James: How do we find your comics and graphic novels?

Pedro:“You can enjoy browsing our books online for free, then order collector’s print copies from our website directly at www.pedaentertainment.com. You can also find us on Instagram at @pedacomicson TikTok on @pedaentretenimiento and Facebook at pedacomics. And be sure to visit us at comic conventions!”

In the second part of our interview with Peter, we’ll dive into the Pedaverse!

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