He’s a superhero with no actual superpowers, and his sidekick is a trash can, but that’s not going to stop young Tobi from using absolutely anything he finds to set off on a world of amazing adventures in Garbage Boy and Trash Can, the first Cartoon Network superhero animated comedy series to be produced in Africa.
Premiering on Cartoon Network Africa on 17 July at 16:45 CAT, Garbage Boy and Trash Can was commissioned by Cartoon Network Africa following Nigerian animator Ridwan Moshood winning the CN Creative Lab initiative. The series was produced in collaboration with the newly-formed animation production company Pure Garbage, a South African-based company specially launched for the project, which is a partnership between series creator Ridwan Moshood, Mike de Seve, head of US multi–Emmy Award-winning studio Baboon Animation and Nick Wilson, founder of African Animation Network (AAN). Magic Carpet, a leading Nigerian animation studio, co-produced the show, and actors from Uganda, Malawi, Nigeria and the USA voice the characters. This global collaboration marks the first innovative model in animation between talents from Africa, Europe, and the US under Cartoon Network’s creative production process – a process intended to train and mentor African talent and produce content of international broadcast quality.
He may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound or run faster than a speeding locomotive, but Garbage Boy’s belief in his superpowers may just be his actual superpower! Where most people see trash, Garbage Boy sees unlimited opportunities for fun and adventure. Whether it’s building a bazooka out of some old PVC piping that fires wads of mouldy socks or an electron microscope from broken VCR parts, Garbage Boy believes that everything – even garbage – is worthwhile. Exiled from his home planet, the alien robot, Trash Can, is driven by his sense of duty. He has an infinite intellect, a cyber-noggin filled with galaxies of knowledge and a compact, metallic frame housing an endless number of gadgets. Together, they tackle their major enemies – boredom and Dr Sore Eyes (full name ‘Braintomus Bombastus Edgar James Vanessa Sore Eyes, Ph.D.) – although the latter does a pretty good job of thwarting himself as he tries to avenge being shunned by the Academy of Really Real Sciences.
Creator, Director and Art Director Ridwan Moshood found inspiration for the show in the adversity of his childhood. “The inspiration for creating the lead characters came from the derogatory name some bullies used to call me back in junior secondary school. However, I soon realised that this name did not define my identity or limit my potential,” he says. “It is this powerful message that I aim to convey to children currently experiencing name-calling and bullying. That’s why I decided to create a show centred around the character ‘Garbage Boy’ who, despite the name, is actually a superhero — a symbol of overcoming adversity and proving that hurtful labels do not determine one’s true worth.”
The style of Garbage Boy and Trash Can is a homage to the cartoons Moshood watched during his childhood, mainly the Saturday morning shows like Dexter’s Laboratory, The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, The Powerpuff Girls, and more. “It is Dexter’s Laboratory that greatly influences the artistic style of the show, as it remains my favourite Cartoon Network series. In fact, meeting the creator, Genndy Tartakovsky, is a personal aspiration of mine,” he says.
Cartoon Network Africa’s Creative Lab began its journey in June 2018 as an initiative designed to bring innovative, local short-form content to the channel and its digital platforms while reinforcing the local relevance of the brand. “The Cartoon Network team was amazed by Ridwan’s talent and his vision for the show, even then – and we’re delighted to see the final product adding to Cartoon Network’s diverse and original content,” says Ana González, Editorial Lead: Southern Europe and Africa, Kids Brands, Warner Bros. Discovery. “We are proud to produce and bring on air a pure African story with a fantastic Nigerian comedy hero in Garbage Boy and Trash Can, featuring fresh local animation talent and a truly stellar African voice cast to produce local, inclusive content.”