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April 26, 2012

Kenyan Cartoonist Frank Odoi Dies In Weekend Road Accident

imageInternational wires have come to life in the last 24 hours with English-language stories about a road accident that killed Kenyan cartoonist Frank Odoi on Saturday. The Ghanian-born cartoonist was 64 years old (although one report has him a decade younger). His family discovered his body yesterday morning after a long search from hospital to hospital, mortuary to mortuary.

The accident came when one of that country's notorious mini-bus taxis -- called a matatu -- veered off the road killing the cartoonist and another passenger. Ironically, the cartoonist had a comic strip called Driving Me Crazy that regularly featured the drivers of such vehicles.

He was based in Nairobi.

Odoi was born in Tarkwa, a mining town located in the western part of Ghana. He was the third of eight children, and the only son. He later claimed to have read a number of superhero books as a child, and cited Frank Frazetta, Harvey Kurtzman, Will Eisner and John Buscema among influences that included a healthy dose of fine art. Odoi was educated in the Ghanian capital city of Accra, including time spent learning medical art, and moved to Kenya in the late 1970s. He quickly found work at the Daily Nation, a leading newspaper which afforded him a daily showcase. He would go on to a variety of illustration and comics gigs, both for newspapers and for publishers. He worked in educational comics and books, and even spent three years as an illustration at the International Centre For Insect Physiology and Ecology, which he later called his most challenging job.

In terms of his comics, the cartoonist was perhaps best known for the series Golgoti, about a white man in Africa, and the adventure series Akokhan, about a superhero based on Ghanian folklore. A lengthy description of the superhero series can be read here. He was widely distributed and exhibited throughout the continent and also placed work in European publications and through the BBC.
posted 5:45 am PST | Permalink

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