Note: I got to interview Jide Martin about founding Comic Republic. Read the interview here.
Universal City, CA – April 25, 2023 – UCP is expanding the world of heroes. The studio, a division of Universal Studio Group (USG), announced today a first-of-its-kind partnership with Nigeria-based Comic Republic to develop series based on the characters and stories from its popular Vanguards Universe. The intercontinental partnership has Selwyn Seyfu Hinds and his banner Mad Massive Entertainment set to executive produce projects based on the comic books.
“From the moment I plunged into the incredible world of stories and characters built by the wonderful team at Comic Republic, I knew that this was an opportunity to fulfill Mad Massive’s mission: To tell stories that reveal our shared humanity, stories that give wings to dreams,” said Hinds. “And as a devourer of all things fantastical from the moment I could read, having the opportunity to create multiple projects driven by characters who spring from the source of it all, from Africa, is truly the stuff of my lifelong dreams. I’m incredibly grateful to the teams at Comic Republic, UCP, and Mad Massive’s own Katie Zucker, who doggedly pursued this deal for more than a year. Right now, I’m just amped all the way up to work with our partners to build an entirely new, entirely different comic book universe that will entertain and inspire. Because we come from myth, from majesty, from heroes. And we deserve this.”
Founded in 2013 by Jide Martin, Comic Republic is a Nigerian online multimedia company that primarily focuses on the digital creation and distribution of original African comic books.
Martin added, “For ten years, Comic Republic has focused on building a community of storytellers and artists dedicated to putting Africa’s best foot forward with quality art, animations, comics, and authentic stories that would make all Africans and its diaspora beam with pride. I believe that the perception of our continent is better shaped when more people can look to African heroes as icons. We were patient to ensure that we found the right partners to take the story to the places we couldn’t and, most importantly, do justice to the culture it emanates from while providing much-needed representation for a generation of people that have been left out. The partnership needed to benefit the global community and us by collaboratively taking our stories, nurturing them, and delivering them to a worldwide audience. I am thrilled to be doing this with UCP, and I can’t wait to show you all what we’ve been up to.”
“We realize the magnitude of staying true to these heroes and know that the creative genius of Comic Republic and the incredible vision of Selwyn Seyfu Hinds will bring these voices and characters to life in the most brilliant and big way,” said Beatrice Springborn, President, UCP & Universal International Studios.
ABOUT THE VANGUARD UNIVERSE
When members of the first race – humanity’s self-proclaimed gods, unite to punish the people of Lagos for the sins of the Guardian, those who have decided to be heroes and protectors are forced to become humankind’s first line of defense, to serve and to protect, to be Vanguards.
ABOUT COMIC REPUBLIC
Comic Republic is home to an authentic African collection of stories about heroes and villains, hope and fear, developed for the young and old. With a unique foundation of over 100 characters and thousands of pages of comic book art, Comic Republic provides original African content and creates a world of authentic, diverse heroes with broad appeal.
UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group, is a best-in-class television studio that produces genre-defying, ground-breaking and intentional storytelling with a sense of discovery. Led by President Beatrice Springborn, UCP collaborates with visionary creators, including Nick Antosca, Patrick Macmanus (Littleton Road), John Legend and Mike Jackson’s Get Lifted, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Brian Chamberlayne, Sam Esmail, Selwyn Seyfu Hinds, Soo Hugh, Seth MacFarlane and Tanya Saracho. The studio’s top titles include the Emmy® Award-winning series “The Umbrella Academy,” “Monk,” and “Mr. Robot”; Emmy-nominated series “Candy” and “Gaslit”; fan favorites “Chucky” and “Resident Alien”; and acclaimed dramas “Dr. Death,” “A Friend of the Family” and “The Girl From Plainville.”
Comic Republic is represented by CAA.
Hinds has an overall deal with UCP to develop and produce projects across various platforms under the banner of his company, Mad Massive Entertainment. He is represented by The Gotham Group, CAA and Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano.
The Vanguard’s core characters include:
- Aje: Born of two worlds, gifted with two powers, cursed with two labels, she is neither abomination nor witch; instead, she is power, she is heritage, she is queen, she is Aje.
- Amadioha: Elder of the first race, god of thunder and storms, feared across history as Amadioha, the Storm Father….Kamalu Akanu now faces his most important challenge yet- a more mortal kind of fatherhood.
- Avonome: Spirited away from her origins in the ancient kingdom of Benin, Avonome embarks on a journey of self-discovery, one that will unleash ancient enemies and hold the destiny of the universe in the balance.
- Beatz: To Thomas, Rhythm is colour. Sound is power. Thomas is Beatz
- Eru: As the vessel of Fear, Eric Kukoyi reaches deep into our deepest and most hidden phobias. He is Nightmares. He is Eru.
- The Extremes (Maxspeed, Nu-Tech and Powerbox)
- Maxspeed: Marcus Chigozie’s impulsive, hot-headed and bras nature doesn’t change the fact that he is a hero at heart. Entitled, witty and fast on his feet while racing to save the world.
- Nu-Tech: The technopath grey hat hacker, formerly known as Network, uses his abilities to take down extremists, trafficking rings, and corrupt government officials. Joshua joins the extremes and becomes Nu-Tech.
- Powerbox: Toye Oluwadare, an orphan turned soldier with the ability to absorb kinetic energy as Powerbox, now leads the next generation of heroes.
- Guardian Prime: Tunde Jaiye is man as the creator truly intended for him to be. He is master of the elements and guardian of all. He is Guardian Prime.
- Ireti Bidemi: Descendant of the ancient Yoruba warrior princess Moremi, Ireti will follow in the footsteps of her father, but her path will lead to a far greater destination.
- Ireti Moremi: Born of men and gods, Moremi will inherit a land riven by war, beset by mythological beasts, and will, through her bravery, forge the history of a people who will flourish for ten thousand years.
- Metalla: An unknown organization exists on the fringes of society, in the shadows, hidden. This organization has no name. This organization is Thirteen. They exist for one purpose: to give those who are victims of atrocity a simple choice: Justice or Vengeance.
- Oxossi: Oxossi, the god hunter, is trapped in a teenage boy – Danmole.
- Sango: As punishment, Oba Koso, god of thunder, lightning, storms and fire, was banished into the dark void by Obatala as penance for his attempted coup on the heavens. Sango returns, and now the heavens and earth must atone.
Jide Martin is a serial entrepreneur, illustrator, and author of multiple comic books about heroes of color. He is the CEO of Africa’s first digital comic book company – Comic Republic, a community known for shaping the reputation narrative of Africa with quality art and authentic stories in the form of illustrations, comic books and animations.
Martin has impacted over 40 million school students through notebooks by making available the Comic Republic characters and stories on school notebooks nationwide. This initiative has allowed school students to learn more about the rich African Heritage through their school notebooks.
Martin’s Comic Republic is behind multiple global campaigns that utilize art for a cause from DW’s African roots which explores the sad tale of those who shaped the African continent to BBC’s Marc Ellison’s grueling narration of children branded as witches in some parts of Nigeria and beaten to Motherhood in Crisis published on Aljazeera focused on highlighting the fragile health care system in Sierra Leone to driving out misinformation with Meta in Ghana, Congo and Nigeria.
In 2018, he was identified by a United Nations program headquartered in New York that provides humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in development (UNICEF) as one of Africa’s Change Makers. He was nominated in 2017 by MIPAD 100, a list of the Most Influential People of African Descent under the age of 40, an initiative supporting the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent.
Martin’s start-up has received extensive coverage by local and international media in all seven continents, including CNN, BBC, Forbes, Comixology and Aljazeera, for the depth and quality of the company’s comic books and its unique business model.
In 2016, CNN recognized him in the program: African Start-up for creating a comic empire drawing on stories from African Tradition, while PRI applauded his intent to create a universe of superheroes for Africans and black readers around the world.
Martin’s start-up has been nominated for multiple awards and received accolades for the quality of its books, including the comic book studio of the decade and comic book studio of the year awarded to it at the comic book conventions held in Nigeria.
He leads a team of creative artists and has spoken extensively on the power of superheroes to shape the African Narrative – a narrative he has taken to the TEDx Stage.
Martin is a Law graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife and the Creative Enterprise Programme for Entrepreneurs facilitated by the British Council and the University of Edinburg.
He loves to ride out on adventures on his power bike and teach the art of quality comic books and code sites. He has coded sites for global companies and start-ups and is constantly raising the bar in the African Comic Book Scene with the unique business model of his Comic Book Company on www.thecomicrepublic.com
Selwyn Seyfu Hinds
Selwyn Seyfu Hinds is a prolific and award-winning creator and storyteller of all kinds—author, editor, music scribe, producer, and screenwriter.
Selwyn is currently adapting the Civil War graphic novel series The 6th Gun into a TV series for UCP. Recently, he served as creator, exec producer and showrunner of the forthcoming Hulu limited series epic, Washington Black, starring Sterling K. Brown and Tom Ellis. Hinds was also a writer/producer on Jordan Peele’s new iteration of the Twilight Zone for CBS All Access, penning the critically hailed police brutality episode “Replay,” starring Sanaa Lathan. The episode earned Hinds a finalist nomination in the Drama Teleplay category for the 45th annual Humanitas Prize. Hinds was a Consulting Producer on HBO Max’s DC universe anthology Strange Adventures, and he has developed at HBO with George R.R. Martin.
On the feature side, Hinds’s current slate includes an adaptation of Running A Thousand Miles For Freedom—the true-life tale of the extraordinary escape of enslaved couple William and Ellen Craft—which he developed for Big Beach Films, with Hanelle Culpepper set to direct; and The Belgariad, an adaptation of the classic David Eddings fantasy series (over 20 million books sold worldwide) for City Hill Arts and Game of Thrones producer Vince Geradis.
Hinds’s storytelling life before screenwriting includes co-creating the Vertigo comic-book series Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child; serving as Consulting Producer of Original Programming and Executive Producer of News and Docs at BET Networks; penning two critically hailed non-fiction books, his memoir Gunshots in My Cook-Up: Bits and Bites of a Hip-Hop Caribbean Life, and To a Young Jazz Musician: Letters from the Road, written with Wynton Marsalis; and serving as Editor-in-Chief of The Source magazine during its late-90s heyday. Hinds’s also written for a wide array of major publications, including The New York Times, The Village Voice, Vanity Fair, USA Today, Spin, and Vibe Magazine, and his essays have been collected in numerous anthologies.
Longtime DJ, poet, unrepentant shopaholic, and sci-fi Nerd, Hinds got cracking on all those journeys as a kid back at Guyana’s Queens College, one of the most storied schools in the Caribbean, before later attending Princeton University, where he received degrees in English and African-American Studies.