The Coco Bulles festival opened on November 16, 2023 in Abidjan. It will be held until the 18th in Treichville. For its 8th edition, the main theme concerns the war against fake news. According to professionals in the sector, West African comics are also struggling to generate satisfactory sales while the cost of producing a book has exploded.
With our correspondent in Abidjan, François Hume-Ferkatadji
There are around fifty students from the Abidjan art school, INSAAC, scratching white sheets with a ballpoint pen. Everyone dreams of becoming an illustrator or comic book author in a sector that is in difficulty.
Bane N’gbesso has already imagined his flagship character: Vitiligo, which bears the same name as the autoimmune disease which affects the epidermis. His wish: to publish his adventures in an album.
“ First of all, I think I can make a career out of ithe says. The problem we are having is hardware related. It’s the equipment that slows down the talent a little. Otherwise, we have the talent. This is why we rely a lot on illustrations. For the comic strip, we have a lot of ideas to produce. But few are those who realize them “.
Comics must adapt to new realities, to readers’ desire for renewal, and no longer see themselves only as an art accessible to people who do not know how to read and write.
Lassane Zohoré, president of the Coco Bulles organizing committee, on the slowdown in traditional West African comics
The organizer of the event, Zachary Assoumou, explains: “ There is also an evolution in terms of drawings because the way we drew before, compared to now, has changed. We are a little more digital, we use tools such as computers and graphics tablets a little more to work. So, for the illustrations, things have evolved. But, in terms of comic book sales, it’s more complicated. »
If times are difficult, Coco Bubbles has not abandoned its desire to organize workshops and conference debates. The festival also welcomes Kubunian exhibition on the history and diversity of African comics.