Wednesday, January 26, 2022

TAYO Fatunla’s Ivory Coast Diary – GBICH! A Parody Cartoon Newspaper Publication

GBICH! - Front covers of editions of GBICH
GBICH! – Front covers of editions of GBICH

*Having scaled the Covid tests hurdle, I was looking forward to travelling to Ivory Coast (Cote D’ivoire in French) to meet the brains behind the Ivorian newspaper journal known famously as GBICH! published weekly in Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast, West Africa. I wanted to see for myself, the popularity of this publication and I was not disappointed. It is a phenomenon.

GBICH! the first newspaper satirical publication of its kind in Côte d’Ivoire was founded in 1999 by cartoonist Lassan Zohore, Illary Simplice both Cartoonists, Bledson Mathieu a journalist and Adrien Bonné a Financier. Mendozza Caramba also a cartoonist was a founding member of GBICH!

Zohore explained the title idea that stems from a transcription of onomatopoeia for literary effect, as a violent punch. Hearing Zohore explain reminded me of the 1960s American live action television series, Batman, with effects like POW! BOFF! KAPOW! Z-ZWAP! WHACK! THWACK! ZOK!! and more.

You can say that GBICH! is hard-hitting, which it is.

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Lifesize cutout promotion of Sergent Duotogo a cartoon character in GBICH!
Lifesize cutout promotion of Sergent Duotogo a cartoon character in GBICH!

GBICH! mainly in French, parodies and highlights day to day lives of Ivorian readers. It is the first satirical publication of its kind with sections dedicated to cartoon characters and cartoon strips like Cauphy Gombo, Tommy Lapoasse, Jo’ Bleck, Papou created by Willy Zekid, Gnamankoundji Zekinan drawn by Mozou or Sergeant Deutogo drawn by Konan Xavier and also written articles like “Investigation Express”, “And said early”, “Z eyes see not, mouth speaks” and “Courrier Drap.”

GBICH! - Ivorian Cartoon journal
GBICH! – Ivorian Cartoon journal

In collaboration with the EU, Cartooning for Peace and the French Institute and other sponsors in Ivory Coast, GBICH! also played an important role in the recently held 6th Cocobulles Festival of cartoons in Ivory Coast. Since then, many more publications have published similar GBICH! format.

You could create new cartoon characters out of this and call them Copycats. KAK Cartooning for Peace President, myself, Danish cartoonist Lars, and Odia, cartoonist from Senegal had presented bound volumes of GBICH! as gifts for our participation.

TAYO Fatunla
TAYO Fatunla

TAYO Fatunla is an award-winning Nigerian Comic Artist, Editorial Cartoonist, Writer and Illustrator is an artist of African diaspora. He is a graduate of the prestigious Kubert School, in New Jersey, US. and recipient of the 2018 ECBACC Pioneer Lifetime Achievement Award for his illustrated OUR ROOTS creation and series – Famous people in Black History – He participated at UNESCO’s Cartooning In Africa forum held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and the Cartooning Global Forum in Paris, France and took part in the Afropolitan Comics virtual comics exhibition arranged by the French Institute in South Africa coinciding with its annual National Arts Festival. His image of Fela Kuti was used as a backdrop in the Burna Boy’s YouTube channel the mega-Afrobeat hit song “Ye”. www.tayofatunla.com/[email protected]/[email protected]

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