Ediale Kingsley meets the dynamic team behind Geek Pop-Up, the premier comic and arts carnival revolutionizing Nigeria’s geek merchandise industry. Ray Anyasi, Founder of Bookause and Convener of Geek Pop-Up, Nneka Ojiawuna, Bookause Operations Director and Programs Director of Geek Pop-Up, and LolaBillionz, Media Supervisor of Geek Pop-Up, join us in this interview to share their vision, insights, and passion for creating a sustainable industry around comics and geek products. With their unique blend of expertise and enthusiasm, they are poised to transform the market and empower creators and fans alike.

We had a chat with them.

What inspired you to create Geek Up, and what do you hope attendees will take away from the experience?

Geek Pop-Up is inspired by the recognition of a broadening need for genuine and functional markets for Nigeria’s comics and other geek merchandise. With every passing day, creative industry insiders see an undeniable increase in the rate at which young people are expressing interest in the arts and comics fandom. It would be a pathetic outcome if we are unable to capitalise on that growing interest to build an economically sustainable industry around the products and services offered. And we know there can not be an industry without a marketplace. This is where Geek Pop-Up comes in at its fundamental level. Guests can be sure they will find Geek Pop-Up an exciting carnival of all things books, comics, gaming, and other fun activities.

Can you tell us about some of the exciting guests, panels, and events we can expect at this year’s Geek Up?

There would be industry focused conversations in our pa el sessions like one hosted by Comic Con Ibadan talking about the place of industry media in the growth of African Comics, some fantastic persons who are heavily involved in comics media contents would be on the panel. We would also have special guests who would come in, buy books and comics at the exhibition stands, and then go on to read them on stage. These are Kingsley Ediale and Ogechi Onuoha, two people who have a good following among the keenly intellectual pockets of social media. Other activities are cosplay, a Charade game based on book titles, gaming, art exhibitions of arts, comics, and other merchandise, and lots more.

How do you curate the exhibitors and vendors for the fair, and what kinds of products and merchandise can attendees expect to find?

We made a public call for vendors of comics, books, crafts, fashion products and other products to come take exhibition stands and that has been richly responded to so much so that there is going to be a flamboyant display of all these products at event.

What kind of activities and interactive experiences will be available for attendees to enjoy?

There would be panel sessions, console games, board games, VR Games, Charade games with a 60,000 naira prize, cosplay competition with a 50,000 prize, art exhibitions, and more.

Are there any special events or panels focused on diversity and representation in comics, books, and geek culture?

The CEO of Peda Entertainment, a US based comics studio, would be speaking on inclusion and diversity in comics both from the content perspective and the Creators side as well.

How has Geek Up evolved over the years, and what new features or changes can attendees expect this year?

While this is the first edition of Geek Pop-Up, the organisers, Bookause, have experienced an interesting growth curve from 2018 when it was established to this point. It was first a book industry PR platform organising book events for independent authors in Lagos, today Bookause is a UK based books and comics distribution company organising exhibitions across the United Kingdom and in Nigeria while also curating essential geek culture events like Geek Pop-Up.

What advice would you give to first-time attendees to help them make the most of their Geek Up experience?

I would say be open-minded first and foremost. Be ready to be introduced to authors and comic Creators you had never known and would be happy to know. Come willing to make new friends and network. Geek Pop-Up is all about having a great time, so make the most of all the activities we have planned to give yourself a great experience. And yes, come with money. There would be great books and irresponsible comics, and there would be cool t-shirts and exotic arts. You definitely want to take some of them home with you.

Are there any opportunities for attendees to connect with industry professionals, authors, or artists for networking or mentorship?

The environment of Geek Pop-Up is naturally designed to foster networking among guests. There would be publishers of books and comics the building, there would be authors and comic creators everywhere, all taking part in different events together. It is only natural for connections to start happening under such atmosphere.

How does Geek Up support local creators and talent in the comics, book, and geek communities?

Geek Pop-Up by providing a platform for marketing and sales of comics and geek products as well as gathering fans and lovers of the arts, helps local creators find a market for their works. It has been a sad disconnect for a long time where creators lament the hellish struggle it is to find buyers for there works. This is exactly what Geek Pop-Up aims to solve.

What’s the most memorable or standout moment from past Geek Up events that you’re looking forward to recreating this year?

Geek Pop-Up is organised by Bookause, a Comics and Books distribution and publicity organisations with operations in the UK and Nigeria, founded by Ray Anyasi.

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