The weekend is almost here! What geeky things are you all doing? Sound off in the comments below. While you wait for the weekday to end and the weekend to begin, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.
Arriving at comic shops and bookstores this month is the newest graphic novel from YouNeek Studios and Dark Horse Comics in their ongoing partnership: WindMaker Volume 1!
In celebration of this release, join Dark Horse and YouNeek Studios on Wednesday, April 20 at 11 am Pacific/2 pm Eastern, for a live virtual chat with YouNeek Studios CEO and writer Roye Okupe, artist Sunkanmi Akinboye, and artist Toyin “Morby” Ajetunmobi. The live stream will be presented on the Dark Horse Comics Twitch and YouTube channels, as well as the YouNeek Studios YouTube channel.
They’ll discuss the publishing partnership between Dark Horse and YouNeek Studios, explore the YouNeek YouNiverse and the process of creating these comics, and more. Join in the live chat to participate in the Q&A and ask more questions of the team.
If you can’t catch it live, the recording will be available afterwards to watch on demand.
Since 2012, Roye Okupe, has been building a universe of superheroes that spans centuries centered around African stories, crafted by African creators. Okupe’s YouNeek Studios graphic novels have joined Dark Horse as part of its’ publishing line.
Dark Horse will be publishing the entire line of previously self-published stories, along with never-before-seen bonus material starting with Malika: Warrior Queen, Iyanu: Child of Wonder, and E.X.O: The Legend of Wale Williams, and continue onward into new and never-before-seen stories.
In Malika: Warrior Queen, 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 September 7 2021.
Iyanu: Child of Wonder, 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 September 21, 2021.
E.X.O.: The Legend of Wale Williams Volume1 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 Volume1 arrives October 19, 2021.
Script: Roye Okupe Art: Sunkanmi Akinboye, Raphael Kazeem Cover: Sunkanmi Akinboye In-Store Date: May 4, 2019 32-page, full color comic FREE Item Code: JAN190051
Malika, warrior queen and military commander of the 15th-century Azzazian Empire, has been flung into the year 2025, a dangerous future she’s struggling to understand. After years of moving in the shadows, she’s forced out of hiding by a sinister plot that spans the centuries. Malika journeys to Egypt to retrieve the FireFrost stone, a relic that holds the combined power of two ancient dragons, from the hands of an absolute evil! MALIKA series creator Roye Okupe and artists Sunkanmi Akinboye and Raphael Kazeem bring you an all-new story for Free Comic Book Day full of superhero action inspired by African history and culture!
Malika is here! STOP EVERYTHING you’re doing and watch this amazing, 2-minute animated teaser trailer! YouNeek Studios is bringing their hit comic book series to animation and needs your help on Kickstarter. They’re hoping to make this into a full animated series.
The animated was 100% done in Nigeria and part of the goal is to raise awareness of the growing animation and comic book idustries in Africa and the talent that call the continent home.
Claire Foy’s transformation as Queen Elizabeth in the Crown is something to see if you have never watched the show on Netflix. Her performance is one of those chameleon-like, where you wonder if that really is her voice, and at least for the next few years, people only think of her as this one role. The series also stands out in how it’s told. The “palace intrigue” moves the series. It’s what makes their history so interesting as many of the people that surrounded her had ulterior motives. She is one of the most recognizable examples of royalty.
The pressures of running a country is a lot for most people but having to do that and being part of royalty, is almost impossible to do. I always wondered how it would be for a monarch when she was also a warrior? The second volume of Malika, Warrior Queen explores that as enemies abound everywhere looking to take Azzaz from Malika, something she has spent a lifetime building.
As Malika takes her place among her people, a scene right out of Game Of Thrones, occurs leaving the royal court in shock, while we lose a beloved character, a once thought long dead character reappears from the shadows, one Malika is frozen in shock over. The Savior od Azzaz and her army unleash a palace siege as they look to take over the castle, one Malika barely survives and must flee to fight another day. We are introduced to the Olon Jin, an ancient group of gods, who are tasked with guarding relics, and know that Malika is the one true queen. This is where the reader is treated to a series of flashbacks, as to what happened to out mysterious intruder and the sometimes-volatile relationships that govern parents and children. Meanwhile, Meng has gotten wind of the upheaval that has taken place in Azzaz, as this may prove to be an opportunity for his army to conquer the prosperous kingdom.
To take back the kingdom, Malika must find an ancient sword with immeasurable power, one that she wielded before, but his time, she needed more than ever. Back in Azazz, the new ruler proves ruthless and heavy handed, showing no mercy and not caring for the consequences that come out of it, even staging a public execution. A final battle ensues which leaves Malika victorious but not without the cruel hand of fate intervening. By book’s end, an unforeseen beginning for the Warrior Queen awaits.
Overall, a powerful ending to major chapter of an incredible hero, one that readers will continue to gravitate to , for years to come. The story by Roye Okupe is action packed, layered and one that readers will not soon forget. The art by the creative team is simply gorgeous. Altogether, a book that feels like an ending for many reasons but is more a rebirth for so much more.
YouNeek Studios, the Maryland based graphic novel and animation company, has announced that their hit graphic novel series, Malika, will be part of Diamond Comic Distributors’ Free Comic Book Day this coming May! This time, as a One-Shot titled: Malika – Creed & Fury.
After making history by appearing in last year’s FCBD event (with fans scrambling to grab copies as they ran out at quickly at several comic shops), Malika promises to be a fan favorite once again.
Malika – Creed & Fury one shot, fans who visit their comic book shops to grab free comics during FCBD are in for a treat! Not only does this one-shot embody the epic fantasy fans have become accustomed to with Malika, but they also get to see her paired with another one of our amazing female superheroes, Fury. Seeing them both on the cover of the book should be enough to spark intrigue. You definitely don’t want to pass on this one. Here’s what Book Riot had to say about Malika from FCBD 2017.
YouNeek Studios has announced the release of their first ever Coloring & Activity book. The book, titled: YouNeek African Heroes, promises that readers will have fun not just coloring YouNeek’s library of awesome superheroes, but also enjoy learning about science, YouNeek fun facts, as well as history tied to the African continent while solving mazes, deciphering word games, cracking puzzles and more!
The release of their first coloring/activity book: YouNeek African Heroes coming just in time for the holidays, it’s safe to say YouNeek Studios is here to stay!
You can purchaseYouNeek African Heroes – An All Ages Coloring & Activity Book here.
Afrofuturism is one of those genre/subjects that has been getting a lot of love as of recent. In the latest trailer and movie stills from the upcoming movie for Black Panther, much of the world is getting to know exactly what Afrofuturism, means and what fans of Black Panther like myself have known for years. The concepts and characters that were introduced in Black Panther’s mythology showed to only an advanced view of technology but also of diversity. This is not to say that there were not some storylines that had some problems and as well as some characters that looks more like some stereotypes.
Unfortunately, not too many characters, unless it is from publishers in Africa, have been written about Afrofuturism in Africa, unless one counts the last take on the Unknown Soldier. There have been American takes on Afrofuturism like Mr. Terrific and many of the characters from the Dakota Universe. Other than these examples, this has been a scarcely explored genre, which a treasure trove of possibilities that many creators are afraid or lazy to explore. So, when I found out about E.X.O.: The Legend of Wale Williams, I was thrilled.
The reader is taken to 2025 Lagos, Nigeria, in a technologically advanced society where technology is used to commit crimes and the police are at a disadvantage against smarter criminals. This is where the reader is introduced to EXO, a superhero who questions whether he is the answer. We are given his complicated backstory, one that has echoes of tony Stark, but smarter and with a direct moral compass. Before the end of this volume, he not only has to contend to dirty politics, rising crime, a few new allies but a supervillain, that may spell doom for Exo.
Overall, a beautiful portrait of how the world, especially in Nigeria, will look in the future, and how diverse heroes can be just as good or even better than the vanilla ones the comic book world has been flooded with. The story by Roye Okupe is engaging, action packed and provides enough twists and turns. The art by Sunkanmi Akinboye thrives and delivers as many punches as the story does. Altogether, a great book that should not be missed and will have the reader tuning in for the next episode.
The obsession with Game of Thrones cannot be understated, as the series, in books and on TV, has reinvigorated people’s interests in high fantasy. The melding of genres and the epic storytelling is what makes this more than a regular sword saga. The more audiences get into each character and each book, the more interesting it gets. So, when certain events pertaining to the main plotline, are brought up, the audience is more than curious, they beckon for it.
The one event within that book series I can think of, as it has been heavily alluded to, is Robert’s Rebellion, and although George RR Martin, has given us details here and there, all the details have not been explained, just the body count. At the end of the day, past histories and prequel series are essential to worldbuilding. As they more than serve as a plot device, as they did in Sons of Anarchy, they are what make the characters who they are. Therefore, after reading the excellent Malika, Warrior Queen, I was interested in who the “Windmaker,” was.
In this prequel one-shot of sorts, Roye Okupe delves into the history Of Atala, the great nations the Windmaker, comes form. As he talks about the founding, it feels those “histories of the house of” extras on the Game of Thrones Blu-Ray. We find out about the founding, their mythology, their cartography every major figure, every major conflict, and the invasion from the Ming Dynasty, which set up the events of the Malika, Warrior Queen. By book’s end, the reader has indoctrinated into their world and will be well equipped to dive into this universe.
Overall what was billed as an art book, functions more as primer to the world of Azzaz, where Malika, Warrior Queen takes place. The history laid out by Okupe, simply shines. Th art by Godwin Akpan illuminates Okupe’s world and brings to life the world they have created. Altogether, a lushly illustrated prequel that gives a good background for any newcomer to the story,