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LAUNCH OF MAMBA COMIX #4 (article first published : 2006-04-10)

The recent opening of the Off the Wall exhibition of commix, graffiti, street art and performance at artSPACE durban also saw the launch of Mamba Comix Annual No.4.

Featured artists are Rico Schacherl, Sifiso Yalo, Alastair Findlay, Themba Siwela, N.D.Mazin, Jason Bronkhorst, Nikhil Singh, Mike Scott, Mogorosi Motshumi, Ewok, Wesley Van Eeden, Jason Van Zyl, Tyron Love, Luke Molver, Brendon Hayes, Annelize Willemse, Christian Mugnai, Sean Stretch, Thabani Gumede, Mondli Hadebe and Alastair Laird plus unknown graffiti artists.

Mamba Comix consists of 96 pages, square back, full colour + black & white, featuring the above artists, plus 12 pages of comix-related news, reviews and interviews, as well as a six-page feature on Durban graffiti.

The exhibition itself consists of a range of work, including big paintings and prints, found object assemblages incorporating comix and graffiti images, original pages from the magazine, as well as graffiti applied directly to the gallery wall. Found objects and other surfaces onto which the artists will be working include wood and metal scrap, old surfboards and skateboard decks, fabric, canvas and board. The exhibition will run until April 19.

The first edition of Mamba Comix (2002) was distributed through bookshops, but sold poorly. The next two editions (2003 and 2004) were digitally printed in limited editions of 500 copies each, and were distributed informally.

With Mamba 4, the magazine makes another assault on the mainstream. It is a superbly printed, high-quality, 100 page, A4 squareback book, printed mostly in full colour and showcasing the work of some of South Africa's veteran comic artists, as well as an up-and coming new generation of mainstream and underground cartoonists.

Mamba Comix veterans Rico Schacherl and Andy Mason (N.D.Mazin) first began collaborating in the mid 1980s, when Rico was still in the army and Andy Mason was publishing the occasional comix zine PAX (Pre-Azanian Comix). Rico subsequently rose to fame as the artist behind Madam & Eve, South Africa's most successful comic strip. Rico's full-colour strip An Ordinary Day, about the day the alien virus arrived, is continued from Mamba 1. N.D. Mazin's three interconnected strips, The Vittokes, The Legend of Blue Mamba and New Planet TV are ongoing.

Other Mamba Comix regulars are the enigmatic Nikhil Singh, Gothic illustrator extraordinaire; Themba Siwela, creator of Majimbos (in Bona magazine); Sifiso Yalo of the Sowetan; Tyron Love, creator of the cutely miserable Lonely Schnozz; Luke Molver, an afficianado of gore-drenched zombie horror; sci-fi fundi Brendon Hayes; and Alastair Laird, the crazily talented schoolboy cartoonist from Amanzimtoti.

Jo'burg contributors include Alastair Findlay of City Press and the Sowetan Sunday World; Mogorosi Motshumi of Sloppy fame; TV animator Mike Scott, creator of Bru & Boegie; and gifted graphic storyteller Jason Bronkhorst.

Newcomers to Mamba include crossover artist Wesley van Eeden, creator of this issue's cover design; and Annelize Willemse, this issue's only female artist, with a witty satire disguised as a koeksuster recipe. The issue also features up-and-coming township cartoonists Mondli Hadebe and Thabani Gumede.




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