Dark Horse Comics and author Roye Okupe are expanding their partnership in the years to come. Okupe and his publisher YouNeek Studios have signed on to publish 20 additional graphic novels through Dark Horse starting in 2024.
This expanded partnership not only includes new additions to the Afrocentric “YouNeek YouNiverse” line, but also the beginning of an all-new shared universe. It starts in 2024 with The Asiri Vol. 1, a book featured in equal parts X-Men and Attack on Titan.
Okupe will write The Asiri Vol. 1, with the creative team also including artist Samuel Iwunze, colorist Toyin “Morby” Ajetunmobi, cover artists Sunkanmi Akinboye & Etubi Onucheyo, and letterer Spoof Animation.
“When I first came up with the concept of The Asiri, one of the phrases that came to mind was… ‘Africans in space? Damn yeah!’ I’ve always been a big fan of fantasy and sci-fi stories with large, immersive worlds that still manage to tell a very character-driven story,” Okupe said in Dark Horse’s press release. “My focus with The Asiri is no different. It’s a huge world with heroes, villains and larger-than-life people (sometimes literally) who haven’t decided yet. However, at the heart of this universe lies a character-driven story centered on the conflict between a pacifist king and his warmongering general, who also happens to be his closest friend.”
The collaboration between Dark Horse and YouNeek began in 2021 with the release of Iyanu: Child of Wonder Vol. 1. This initial release led to a shared sci-fi universe that also includes series like Malika: Warrior Queen and EXO: The Legend of Wale Williams.
Iyanu is also being adapted as an animated series at HBO Max and Cartoon Networkthe series being financed and produced by Lion Forge Animation.
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“I think I need someone to pinch me because I feel like I’m living in a dream or some kind of alternate universe,” Okupe adds. “I thought I was on top of the world when we announced the publishing deal with Dark Horse last year. But now that it’s official, we’re going to extend that deal…WOW!” said the creator, Roye Okupe. “I feel so lucky and also honored by the faith that everyone at Dark Horse has put into this. It just shows how committed Dark Horse is as a company to growing our industry and making great bets. and invests in diversity. Everyone at YouNeek Studios couldn’t be more excited about this partnership and I can’t wait for fans new and old to see the amazing things we’re working on.”
Dark Horse and YouNeek’s expanded partnership officially kicks off with Iyanu: Child of Wonder Vol. 4, which is released on March 4, 2024. The Asiri Vol. 1 will follow in April 2024.
In other comics news, Batman: Gotham Knights – Gilded City will serve as the prequel to the upcoming video game, and DC is reuniting many creators on the original Death of Superman crossover for a new special.
Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by follow @jschedeen on Twitter.