While many teens dreamed of turning into superheroes fancy Spider-Man or Surprise Girl, Roy Okupe dreamed of making an African superhero universe.
Final week, Okupe moved a step nearer to reaching his dreams as Darkish Horse Comics, the publisher late the likes of Hellboy and The Umbrella Academy, presented that it had obtained the rights to put up YouNeek Studios’ (Okupe’s firm) library in an exceptional deal.
Here’s the predominant time Darkish Horse Comics has ever disbursed a entire library of African superheroes.
Raised in Lagos, Nigeria, Okupe emigrated to the US on the age of 17.
After graduating from George Washington College with a level in computer science (whereas also discovering out animation on the Art Institute of Washington), he kept an eye out for African superheroes. When he stumbled on there weren’t many, he made up our minds to originate them.
Recalling this expertise, he says, “In the beginning, I wanted a publisher to validate that I may moreover expose my like tales the style I wanted. But I pitched just a few of my tales to slightly just a few publishers, and each person told me no. So I used to be pressured to self-put up, which I like was the supreme ingredient for me.”
He learnt everything about the publishing alternate from scratch.
“I needed to be taught to attain everything. What exactly is the comical e book alternate? How attain I write compelling comics? How attain I originate characters? I used to be the creator, the editor, advertising and marketing, and publicity.”
“Plus, making offers with distributors and negotiating the supreme print costs, and proofreading everything. The supreme ingredient I didn’t attain for YouNeek was drawing the comics. Which, having a survey abet now, it’s simply insane. I don’t know the set I got the energy. But once more, it’s the admire for the alternate.”
“That expertise has change into an asset for me. Now, when I’m talking with Darkish Horse, there’s nothing they may be able to expose me that I don’t already be conscious. And they admire that because I plot their job more straightforward.”
It’s price noting that once finalizing his take care of Darkish Horse he maintained the rights to his works. So he can negotiate his like offers for diversifications in tv, movies, animation or streaming.
For Okupe, the Darkish Horse collaboration comes as validation after years of freelancing as a internet developer whereas quietly building YouNeek studios.
Over the years, he’s urge 10 successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaigns beginning with E.X.O. The Myth of Wale Williams in 2015. He even created an consuming brief spherical Malika, his first lady-led title.
All of YouNeek’s titles are impressed by the elegance and mythology of West Africa. These titles also digitally disbursed.
The negotiation for this take care of Darkish Horse took about two weeks closing year. But Okupe had met with the firm in 2019 when a salvage from Darkish Horse reached out. Any person had given them a reproduction of Malika and to boot they loved it.
Then at New York Comic Con once more in 2019, he pitched the total YouNeek universe to the editor-in-chief, Dave Marshall, in person.
Mike Richardson, CEO of Darkish Horse has described this deal by announcing “YouNeek Studios will not be like something in American comics this present day,”
“I hope to scrutinize the YouNeek acquisition veil to comics that there’s at all times a market for these tales, told by creative teams that have the certainty to expose them correct, and I seek more publishers deciding on up books fancy these in the long urge.”
Okupe believes that the instantaneous affect of the partnership with Darkish Horse is that this would moreover bring more attention to YouNeek Studios and the African continent. “It’s also going to shine a delicate on the African continent and what it has to offer when it comes to the leisure alternate, namely comical books.” He says.
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