Dark Horse Comics and YouNeek Studios‘ founder Roye Okupe will team up to bring Okupe’s self-published graphic novels to a larger audience this fall. Dark Horse will re-publish three of YouNeek Studios graphic novels, which were originally funded on Kickstarter, with plans for new titles as well.
“What we are trying to do over the next few years is create a compelling and immersive universe with our own twist. How? Well, the YouNeek YouNiverse is a massive, interconnected universe of sci-fi, fantasy and superhero content spread across multiple timelines with stories told from an African perspective. Is this ambitious? Yes. Is it impossible? Not at all,” Okupe said. “With this monumental partnership with Dark Horse and the impeccable history, support and infrastructure they bring to the table, we will finally be able to achieve our ultimate goal: create, for a global audience, content that empowers African creatives and storytelling.”
The Nigerian-born creator, who now lives in Maryland, wrote all the books in the “YouNeek YouNiverse,” and teamed with artists from Africa to create the books. This story from the Washington Post earlier this week reveals how the partnership was formed.
“YouNeek Studios is unlike anything in American comics today,” said Dark Horse CEO Mike Richardson. “Roye has brought together a host of amazing African talent telling African stories, and Dark Horse is honored to help further their reach.”
The first three graphic novels Dark Horse will publish are:
In Malika: Warrior Queen Volume 1, Malika inherits the crown from her father, but in the process the kingdom of Azzaz is split in half. After years of civil war, Malika finally unites all of Azzaz, expanding it into one of the largest empires in all of West Africa—but expansion will not come without its costs.
Malika: Warrior Queen arrives Sept. 7 and is available for pre-order now.
Iyanu: Child of Wonder Volume 1, the tale follows a teenage orphan with no recollection of her past. Suddenly Iyanu discovers that she has abilities that rival the ancient deities told in the folklore of her people. It is these abilities that are the key to bringing back an “age of wonders,” and Iyanu must begin her journey to save a world on the brink of destruction.
Iyanu: Child of Wonder Volume 1 arrives Sept. 21 and is available for pre-order now.
E.X.O.: The Legend of Wale Williams Volume 1 is an Afrofuturist superhero story about redemption set in the bustling metropolis that is Lagos, Nigeria. Wale Williams, who moonlights as the tech savy superhero E.X.O tries to save the city from a deadly group of emerging extremists, but first he must save himself.
E.X.O.: The Legend of Wale Williams Volume 1 arrives Oct. 19 and is available for pre-order now.