Basi Affia and other Black Iowa creators developing sci-fi ‘motion comic’

Lost With All Hands comic by Basi Affia (front cover), courtesy of Sensi’il Studios

Afrofuturistic comic author Basi Affia is back with more intergalactic Black love in his new motion comic Lost With All Hands . Its release moves the Des Moines artist also known as Aniekan White closer to his dreams of animation.

“This is just me kind of testing out the waters, learning the system,” he said. “So then, the next one that I want to do, [I] already have that down and I can kind of do a little more with it.”

A motion comic brings a comic book to life using animation, digital effects, voice over, sound effects and other storytelling tools. The process of producing a motion comic was quite different than his still-image stories, but White found it fun challenge.

“I loved it! It was definitely a learning process,” he said.

The Lost With All Hands motion comic is based on the print comic released Oct. 1 of the same title. The story follows two engineers, Jaxon Flores voiced by Matthew Eclatt and Dita Talassa voiced by Kiera McGregor, who are bonded by a “contractual relationship agreement.”

Voice actors Matthew Eclatt as Jaxon Flores and Kiera McGregor as Dita Talassa BTS at Genie Made It studio, courtesy of Sensi’il Studios

The two are aboard The Achilles spaceship with the Kuppa Initiative’s fifth fleet, a space colonization project, to discover what lies beyond to expand humanity. Things take a turn when their fleet is overtaken by monstrous aliens.

“They know a lot of sci-fi physics and nerd stuff that I spent way too much time researching. It’s like astrophysics and time dilation and theory of relativity,” White said with a smile.

White says he wants to make sure the story’s romance didn’t take away from the action. “There’s a love aspect to it, but I don’t really like when stories overdo that, you know? Like, is this an action movie or is it a love story?”

“The first scene of it is probably the most romantic part that’s in there … Other than that, it’s them doing their job trying not to die, because all these monsters are on their ship trying to kill them.”

“So, it goes very quickly from like romance to thriller,” White laughed.

Basi Affia also known as Aniekan White, courtesy of Sensi’il Studios

At the beginning of 2022, White became the owner and chief writer of Sensi’il Studios, Iowa’s first Black-owned comic book company bringing “representation to the science fiction and fantasy genres.”

“At Sensi’il Studios, we want to heal from the past and see the future. We want to see people of color among the stars in all their cultural glory and highlight ethnicities that have yet to see the limelight.”

The company stands by the principles of Nguzo Saba, the seven pillars of Kwanzaa: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), Imani (Faith).

While standing on those principles, White incorporates African languages into his dialogue. “Including African language felt like the natural thing to do. If you look at the demographics of the world, Africa got a lot of people. I don’t know the exact percentage of what the world are, but there would definitely be very prevalent African languages if we were to colonize space and make settlements,” White said.

In a way, White has also created his own sub-language combining Igbo, Swahili, Kikuyu and others.

White’s first print release was Rem: Shadow Work in March, a story about a man named Chlomi Mendel who fights dark worldly spirits as he astral projects with a coworker who has “The Sight” to free humanity from metaphysical oppression in the midst of a revolution.

Rem: Shadow Work was first entered into a Webtoons contest. Although White didn’t win, he knew he created a great story and wanted to share it.

Other work released this year includes Aaru En Duat, a four-part story of a young princess who goes on a colonization project to get out from under her father, RetCom: Rogues, a story of a dystopian fight between deadly mercenaries, and short stories.

White will host a watch party in January to share his first motion comic. He is torn between two ideas for the watch party, he said, one being an invite-only event including actors, music producers (Genie Mixed It), graphic designers, music artists and others who were a part of his developing craft. The second idea is to rent a movie theater for an audience and host vendors.

In any case, White has commissioned Lost With All Hands merch for the event, and envisions everyone sporting it at the watch party.

BTS with Anna Mora, featured signer on Typ-O’s (also Basi Affia and Aniekan White) music video for Lost With All Hands, courtesy of Sensi’il Studios

He will also be releasing a music video promoting the comic under his rapper name Typ-O, along with Des Moines singer Anna Mora. The two dressed in cosplay of the comic’s two main characters, Jaxon Flores and Dita Talassa.

The Lost With All Hands print comic can be purchased on online for $19.99 with the Afterpay option. The motion comic will be released in February. For updates on releases, the watch party, merch or future plans, follow Sensi”il Studios on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.

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