CEO, Comic Republic
Jide Martin is the Founder and CEO of Comic Republic, Africa's largest publisher of independent comic books and the continent’s first digital comic book company. He is an illustrator, designer, producer and entrepreneur with a passion for shaping Africa’s narrative through art and he utilises the power of comics to tell compelling African stories to Africans and to the rest of the world.
As a young comic book fan growing up, Martin told UNICEF, he would face dilemmas by asking himself: “What would Superman do?”. It was a question that always led him to do the right thing like his hero. This strong moral compass, like that of the Man of Steel himself, set him down the path of trying to communicate change through his love of comics and art.
One thing he realised was that for all the superheroes in the world, there are not many African ones. So he decided to create his own characters that would reflect the cultures and environments its readers would identify with and educate them in moral values.
Comic Republic distributes free weekly comics to consumers, with over 100,000 monthly downloads. In 2017, it produced over 2 million school notebooks including stories about African heroes. It also runs an internship programme that educates young minds in the arts and business.
Martin’s passion for showcasing African art has seen him host workshops and comic book conventions in Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Germany to develop young artists to enhance their skills and equip themselves to tell African stories through art. His work has put the Nigerian comic industry on the global map.
As an innovator, Martin has led a movement of creators who produce content that is authentic to Africa.
Martin is a passionate advocate for change in arts education, especially when it comes to promoting female artists and to cutting through discrimination and gender bias. He has made consistent efforts to recruit and educate women who show an interest in the Comic Book industry. His characters too reflect female empowerment as well as ethnic diversity.
Martin firmly believes that everyone should have access to proper education regardless of the circumstances of their birth - whether rich or poor, young or old, male or female, and despite their ethnicity.
Under Martin’s leadership, Comic Republic has also teamed up with Facebook and Big Cabal Media to launch #NoFalseNewsZone, an educational campaign to help people identify false news and prevent it spreading in Nigeria.