News of the sudden and tragic death of Kenya’s most prolific and talented Cartoonist Frank Odoi broke on Twitter yesterday.
Frank Odoi was in a bus that was involved in an accident on Nairobi’s Jogoo Road on Saturday night where 2 perished and many were injured. It was not until Monday morning that his family got to find his body after searching in all hospitals only to find him at City Mortuary.
The Ghanaian-born, but Nairobi-resident since the late Seventies, Frank Odoi (54) was one of Africa´s foremost comic artists. He span a long career in cartooning, making comic strips, stories and illustrations. Odoi was published mainly in Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Tanzania. Odoi also published several public education comics for various NGOs and development agencies. .
He has done various comics under the Pichadithi Series which were very popular in the 90’s.
Frank developed his skills; culminating in the creation of Akokhan series, which ran in both Kenya’s leading dailies, the Daily Nation and The Standard Newspapers. Akokhan has captured a large audience in East Africa and parts of Northern Europe despite its strong West African Folklore theme. One fan loved Akokan so much that he sought Frank’s permission and mounted a stage play of the same name and theme. That fan was the famous Kenyan thespian, the Late Bantu Mwaura, a screen version of Akokhan was in the works.
Akokhan is fictitious fantasy, influenced by the arts of Frank Frazzeta, Will Eisner, Heavy metal Magazine and stories Frank’s mum and Dad used to tell him as he scribbled his infantile drawings on the blackboard of Awaso Anglican primary School.
Presumed to be two hundred centuries old. Akokhan is back with a vengeance. Living under different guises, he is determined to send Tonkazan, his nemesis, to the Dark Age where he came from.
Tonkazan, on his part, is now bigger, bolder and even more daring. He invokes the evil powers of Kolia-A’Bu, which he uses to revive all the dark, evil, doomsday forces of his Askiyan past. His mission, To destroy all those who defied him.
When Akokhan meets Tonkazan, the stage is set for a bruising battle: a battle pitting good against evil, the modern against the archaic and one that would determine whether the future holds hope or doom.
Akokhan is a powerful as it is spellbinding. Indeed, a perfect example of what only the finest in the world of comics can create- more than just a comic story!
The story of Akokhan has been influenced by a number of events, friends and foes, environmental upheavals and the diversity of African Culture, especially the myths and legends of Ghana’s Native religions. Most of the shrines and locales mentioned in the story are real but they transcend time and space. Thus we find ancient walata mentioned alongside Benin City.
It is quite sad to loose such a promising artist. Our prayers go to the family. Rest in Peace Frank Odoi.