TokTok is the first Egyptian comic magazine written and drawn by several contributors. It’s in Arabic, mostly Egyptian dialect, which is usually rare to find in written texts.
TokTok was founded on January 2011, before the Egyptian Revolution, by five young professional graphic artists: Shennawy, Makhlouf, Andeel, Hicham Rahmah and Tawfik, and it is a 100 per cent purely Egyptian comics magazine.
Although the region has produced sporadic examples of mixed words and images' works, from hieroglyphs to adventure stories, the Arab world has produced a relatively small amount of comics.
In an interview with Arabstoday, the TokTok co-founder Makhlouf said that they celebrated the magazine first anniversary on January 20 with the launch of its fifth edition.
He added that TokTok, which is named after the small, three-wheeled vehicles used in the working class districts of Egyptian cities, has received international acclaim, winning the second prize in the best independent comic magazine section at the International Festival of Comics in Algeria (FIBDA).
In Egypt, after the promising success of illustrated children’s magazines in the 1950s, such as 'Sindbad' and 'Samir,' in the 1970s many illustrators and caricaturists started working for magazines in the Gulf states and in other foreign countries, due to censorship at home.
The magazine Sabah Il-Khier, where Salah Jahin was once editor-in-chief, stopped hiring young artists in the 1980s. For caricaturists at least, “there was a gap between Sabah il Khier and Al-Dostour,” said Makhlouf, referring to the opposition newspaper whose editor, Ibrahim Eissa, hired young artists and dedicated an unusual amounts of space to drawing. Andeel, Makhlouf and Rahmah have worked there, and remember being given double spreads to fill with whatever they wanted. A few years ago, the three moved with the caricaturist Amro Selim to Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper.
“It was the perfect time for the magazine,” said Makhlouf, pointing out that the five founders’ skills matured for around ten years in their respective professional fields. Andeel is a scriptwriter and newspaper caricaturist, Tawfik a children’s book illustrator, and Hicham Rahmah an animator, caricaturist and illustrator. Makhlouf says his ten years in newspapers has been a “tough exercise,” always working quickly, and always for a grown-up audience.