About this project
WE ARE FUNDED!!!
Now, on to some awesome stretch goals :)
Hey guys! My name is Roye Okupe, writer and creator of this amazingly awesome project. Some of you may know me from my first graphic novel, E.X.O., and if you do, you know I have a HUGE passion for creating stories based on African characters. I was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, and growing up I was obsessed with video games, animation, and superheroes. Basically none of these were based on Nigerian characters, so I decided to do something about it when I had the chance. In August 2015 I released my first graphic novel, the 136-page E.X.O. - The Legend of Wale Williams Part One and followed up with Part Two August 2016. Since then, I've been lucky enough to have my books featured on CNN, Forbes, The New York Times, NBC, The Washington Post, ABC7, BBC, The Huffington Post, Mashable, and more! Having said that, working on Malika has been one of the most fun times of my life! See why below…
Set in fifteenth-century West Africa, Malika: Warrior Queen Part One follows the exploits of queen and military commander Malika, who struggles to keep the peace in her ever-expanding empire. Growing up as a prodigy, Malika inherited the crown from her father in the most unusual of ways, splitting the kingdom of Azzaz in half. After years of civil war, Malika was able to unite all of Azzaz, expanding it into one of the largest empires in all of West Africa. But expansion would not come without its costs. Enemies begin to rise within her council, and Azzaz grabbed the attention of one of the most feared superpowers the world has ever known: the Ming Dynasty. As Malika fights to win the clandestine war within the walls of her empire, she must now turn her attentions to an indomitable and treacherous foe with plans to vanquish her entire people. The story of Malika takes place in the same universe (the YouNeek YouNiverse) as the E.X.O. series, roughly 500 years before the events of Lagoon City.
What We Need
At the moment the graphic novel (apprx. 140 pages) is 70% complete and should be ready for print in December. I have covered all development costs (paying the artists) so all I need right now is about $7,000 to print at least 1,000 books (as well as produce all the rewards).
Although Malika’s Azzazian Empire and The WindMaker’s Kingdom of Atala are both fictional places, the world they inhabit is very real, as can be seen from the map above. People familiar with African history will definitely recognize names such as Timbuktu, The Songhay Empire, The Oyo Empire, The Benin Empire, etc. Malika: Warrior Queen is sprinkled with MANY Easter eggs regarding African history!
Queen Malika & The Empire of Azzaz
From it’s humble beginnings with founder Hasan Bakwa to more than a decade of civil war and finally its expansion into a formidable empire under Queen Malika, Azzaz has seen its fair share of both prosperity and turmoil. Covering an area of about 850,000 square kilometers, Azzaz is divided into five provinces, with the capital city, Azzaz, at its center: the Kano Province in the North, the Bornu Province in the North East, the Fon Province to the West, the Mandara Province to the East, and the Nupe Province to South. Each province has a Chief to represent it in the Council; as a group the Council, advises the current ruler. Over the years, though not a law, it became implied that no one ruler was above the council – a notion that would eventually cause great disunity.
Fun Fact: Since taking over as queen, Malika is undefeated in battle.
The WindMaker & The Kingdom Atala
Once a very peaceful nation, the Atalians were forced to fight for freedom after being subjugated by General Cheng of the Ming Dynasty. Cheng, in search of ancient powerful relics he believed had been hidden by the Atalians, got more than he bargained for when an Atalian warrior, Bass Kazaar, found one of the relics and became The WindMaker. With his newfound powers to manipulate the wind as well as his Red Raven Army, Bass would go on drive Cheng and his forces away from Atala. His victory would go on to earn him the honor of being crowned the first-ever King of Atala.
Fun Fact: Bass Kazaar was trained by a group of Shaolin monks who disagreed with Cheng’s approach and rebelled against him, fighting side by side with The WindMaker and his Red Ravens.
General Cheng & The Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty is the ruling dynasty of China that followed the fall of the Yuan Dynasty. With its capital in Beijing, the Ming Dynasty boasts one of the most organized governments and socially stable economies. An army of over a million troops makes the Ming Dynasty the most formidable force in the world. General Cheng, an accomplished voyager and military tactician, was sent by the Emperor to Atala to investigate the presence of ancient and very powerful relics called the Dragon Stones. Upon his failure to subdue the Atalians, Cheng called for massive reinforcements from Ming, but not before setting his eyes on the Empire of Azzaz after an apparent interference on their behalf.
Fun Fact: It is rumored that general Cheng’s forces total about 100,000, making it the largest Ming force ever assembled outside the empire itself.
The YouNeek YouNiverse is a series of stories featuring a very diverse list of awesome heroes, villains, and locations with continuity and inter-connectivity from story to story – think of it as the Marvel movies, but with graphic novels. I created the YouNeek YouNiverse to make it easy for ANYONE to get into superhero stories, which at the end of the day are just, well… “stories.” The first title in the YouNeek YouNiverse is E.X.O. - The Legend of Wale Williams (one of the rewards in this Kickstarter), and the second is – you guessed it: Malika: Warrior Queen Part One.
Check out my interview on the Washington Post were I go into details about Malika as well as the YouNeek YouNiverse as a whole!
As with all my other books, none of the success would be possible without a great team behind the art. Below are the guys that truly make things happen:
- Ayodele Elegba - Editor/Letterer
- Chima Kalu - Pencils & Inks
- Raphael Kazeem - Colors
- Godwin Akpan - Cover
- Paul Louise-Julie - Map & Logos
Below are the awesome and in some cases Kickstart EXCLUSIVE rewards for this campaign. Look to the right sidebar for more detailed information on each.
I have some great stretch goals I’m really hoping we can reach on this campaign.
- Should we reach $9,000, as with all my other Kickstarters, I’ll be donating at least 15 books to a public library or a local high school.
- At $12,000 I’ll be giving a SIGNED Variant cover to EVERYONE.
- At $15,000 I’ll be giving out SIGNED copies of the YouNeek YouNiverse Genesys Poster to EVERYONE
- At $25,000 something special will truly happen! I’ll be giving out a SIGNED HARDCOVER art book titled - WindMaker: The History of Atala. This Art book will give some amazing back story of The Kingdom of Atala and it’s King, Bass Kazaar/The WindMaker. Everyone who pledged $150 and above will get the signed hardcover and EVERYONE else will get a PDF version.
READ CHAPTER ONE FREE!
Check out some pages from the book. To read chapter one FREE click here
Here's some amazing concept art of some of the structures and environments you can look forward to while reading the Graphic Novel (Art by Godwin Akpan).
Risks and challenges
My hope is obviously for everything to go according to plan without any hiccups, but in reality you cannot plan for every contingency. There are certain factors that could get in the way of progress (e.g international printing/shipping issues). However, having run two successful Kickstarter before, I know how to avoid many pitfalls. My goal is to handle any issues, should they arise in a professional manner by sending out daily messages via the Kickstarter updates thread. I believe in 100% transparency and you guys deserve nothing less. I intend to keep every backer, fan and supporter informed by providing updates on a regular and timely manner.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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