Dark Horse Comics—the legendary home of Hellboy, Sin City and The Umbrella Academy is acquiring the rights to republish the YouNeek Studios comics catalog. Beginning Fall 2021, Dark Horse Comics will be releasing all-new editions and growing a self-published line in partnership with YouNeek Studios.
The acquisition includes the publishing of the entire line of YouNeek’s 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 into new, original stories. Dark Horse will roll out these titles this year on September 7, September 21 and October 19 respectively.
“I think the immediate impact with Dark Horse’s legacy is that you’re going to have a lot more people paying attention” to YouNeek Studios, Okupe said. “It’s also going to shine a light on the African continent and what it has to offer when it comes to the entertainment industry, specifically comic books.”
Roye Okupe’s YouNeek Studios has received monumental praise for his “YouNeek YouNiverse” as he calls it, and he hopes this new deal will highlight the many African artists he collaborated with.
“YouNeek Studios is unlike anything in American comics today. Roye has brought together a host of amazing African talent, telling African stories and Dark Horse is honored to help further their reach.” stated Dark Horse CEO Mike Richardson.
“To me this is an unprecedented deal. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner,” Okupe said. “I’m just really excited to see what’s to come.”
Okupe and Dark Horse editor-in-chief Dave Marshall first met at New York Comic-Con in 2019. Marshall admired Okupe’s understanding of the comic market as well as his success in creating the YouNeek YouNiverse – a feat he accomplished exclusively though publishing graphic novels instead of a monthly comics model.
“I was impressed by what Roye had accomplished having built YouNeek from scratch,” Marshall said.
The partnership leaves Roye Okupe with the rights to his work, freeing him to continue to negotiate his own deals for adaptations in television, movies, animation or streaming.
As Okupe and YouNeek Studios settle into their new home, he says that being at a publisher that “believes in the material and the why of the material” will be the key to a seamless transition for himself and his heroes.
Recently nominated for the Dwayne McDuffie Diversity Award, Roye Okupe is known in the comic industry as one of its rising stars. He immigrated to Washington D.C. from Nigeria and today has created a world that will be part of a comic industry titan that has been around for 35 years.
Malika: Warrior Queen is about a 15th-century superhero and was illustrated by Chima Kalu and Sunkanmi Akinboye and colored by Raphael Kazeem, Etubi Onucheyo and Toyin Ajetunmobi.
Iyanu: Child of Wonder is about a superpowered teenage orphan and is illustrated by Godwin Akpan.
E.X.O: The Legend of Wale Williams was illustrated by Sunkanmi Akinboye and colored by Raphael Kazeem, Toyin Ajetunmobi, Etubi Onucheyo and Tarella Pablo.