Hackney manga comic founder aims to build universe of animal chefs after successful fundraiser

The cast of Hot Lunch. Picture: Mayamada

The cast of Hot Lunch. Picture: Mayamada - Credit: Archant

A start-up manga brand is set to publish its first series of comics after smashing its fundraising target in just nine days.

Hot Lunch Series 1. Picture: Mayamada

Hot Lunch Series 1. Picture: Mayamada - Credit: Archant

Mayamada’s Hot Lunch series is described as “Ocean’s 11 meets Robin Hood”, featuring a cast of fighting animal chefs.

Founder Nigel Twumasi, 33, of Hackney, trained as an engineer but he ditched that stable life to pursue his dream of creating a manga comic universe.

Through an earlier crowdfunding campaign and help from the charity Prince’s Trust, Nigel and his partner Lao Karunwi were able to launch their first manga Samurai Chef.

Nigel is also a member of the 56 Black Men campaign to challenge stereotypes. He says when he started going to London Comic Con as an exhibitor he found he was one of the only black comic creators there.

Nigel Twumasi. Picture: Mayamada

Nigel Twumasi. Picture: Mayamada - Credit: Archant

Most of the fans were so surprised to see him and Lao there, that some didn’t realise they were the creators and thought they were there to sell someone else’s work.

But he felt inspired when he would engage with young, black comic book fans at the conventions. He said: “Seeing someone who looks like them makes them think I can do this too.”

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On his involvement in 56 Black Men, he added: “The best thing is we’re all different people with different backgrounds and experiences.

“Not everyone comes from a broken home or has experienced knife crime.”

Beyond creating comic books Nigel conducts workshops in schools and libraries to inspire other young, black people like himself to pursue their creativity.

Nigel said: “What I’ve found as a society creativity isn’t considered a serious path to go into.

“The work we do with the workshops and the comics is to aim to build creative confidence in young people around storytelling.”

Mayamada also runs Gamepad, a gaming event which uses video games as a way to create inclusion for all ages and their next event is in Woodberry Down in June.

Nigel said: “Whether it’s using the comics to get people to write their own ideas, or to tackle issues that young people might face - we want to give them a new way to examine those issues and to have an impact.”

For more visit mayamada.com.