Nigerian animator Ridwan Moshood’s prize-winning short Garbage Boy and Trash Can is in the news once again. Cartoon Network Africa has greenlit the first ever African superhero saga to be produced as a full series in collaboration with Baboon and the African Animation Network, as reported by Kidscreen.
Garbage Boy and Trash Can is ready to premiere in September 2022. The domestic superhero series is in production at South African studio Pure Garbage that was co-founded by Moshood, Mike de Seve (head of New York-based Baboon Animation), and Nick Wilson (founder of the African Animation Network in Johannesburg) last summer. Pure Garbage also provides critical training and jobs for emerging African talent.
Garbage Boy and Trash Can follows the story of a little boy (Garbage Boy), a self-proclaimed superhero and his sidekick, Trash Can on a mission to rid the world of evil and fight for justice. It was announced the winner of the first-ever Cartoon Network Africa Creative Lab Competition at DISCOP Joburg 2018. The series was screened as part of a specially curated programme of African Animation at the Encounters Film Festival in Bristol in September 2018 by the Accra Animation Film Festival. Additionally, the project was pitched at the Lagos Comic Con and was selected as one of two projects that will present at Annecy International Animation Festival MIFA Pitches Animation du Monde in 2019.
Only after Moshood’s concept for the series won the Creative Lab competition, it was made into a short pilot that premiered on CN and its digital platforms in 2020. Creative Lab was set up to address a skills gap in the region’s animation industry by providing new opportunities for African creators, writers, graphic artists and animation students.
Garbage Boy and Trash Can will be a 10 x 2.5-minute comedy-driven toon about a young boy with imaginary superpowers who fights for justice with his trusty sidekick. Moshood was inspired to create the series by his experience of being bullied in school. He taught himself how to animate because there weren’t many affordable animation schools in Nigeria he could apply to.
“I learned by watching Cartoon Network classics on TV and doing tutorials on YouTube. I didn’t even have a laptop to practice with; I had to use cyber-cafés in Lagos,” says Mashood.
Moshood has several other superhero concepts in development for the younger generation, as well as a girl-led series called Alice from Above. John Fountain, director of The Fairly OddParents, is serving as supervising director on Garbage Boy and Trash Can.
Cartoon Network has taken its game one-notch higher by hosting this series of African origin. This speaks volumes about the channel’s ideologies and reinstills the fact that they are all-inclusive and see beyond baseless colour or race barriers. Talent knows no boundaries and the kids’ channel does not shy away from entering into worthy creative collaborations. Showing the way, and how!