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June 15, 2016

ODESHI 038 - The Rise Of The African Super Hero With Roye Okupe

    EXO   Ever wondered what it would be like to create a Superhero? Well, wonder no more. Today’s guest had the same questions while growing up as a teenager in Nigeria and finally decided to do something about it. Roye Okupe is the creator of one of the first Africa-centric superheroes “EXO | The Legend Of Wale Williams”. We had a brief chat with him to learn about his story, which has been featured in several international publications including CNN, Ventures Africa, Forbes, BBC Tech Crunch and lots more. He shared how he discovered his passion for comics, animation and fiction, the steps he took to acquire the skills required to bring his creation to life and his collaborative process with the team of creatives that work with him to bring his vision to life. "E.X.O: The Legend of Wale Williams" is an action-packed graphic novel that tells the tale of a reluctant superhero (Wale Williams) in dystopian futuristic African city (Lagoon city ). In the first volume, we meet a young man from a typical African family who suddenly finds himself saddled with the responsibility of protecting his city from nefarious underworld elements. It’s the type of story Roye grew up watching on cable television in Nigeria, but this time told from an African perspective in an African environment. It encompasses a rich narrative backstory, fast paced dialogues and action sequences and familiar themes, morals and motivations that resonate with every lover graphic novels. Although the idea took a long time to come to life, Roye and his team ( Ayodele Elegba the editorial wizard, artist supreme Sunkanmi Akinboye, Godwin Akpan (the cover art design don) and color master Raphael Kazeem ) worked painstakingly to ensure that their story could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any Superhero produced by the fabled Marvel & D.C. publishing houses. And their efforts paid off tremendously; they were able to raise over $10,000 from their Kickstarter campaign which beat their initial target by 185% and helped finance the publishing of the first installment of the series. Like with any heroic story, success did not come quickly for Roye. There were many failures & setbacks along the way, but Roye was relentless in his quest and risked a fair bit of his life savings, and gave up his lucrative full-time job to pursue his passion. Today, Roye’s Youneek Studios is set to release the second volume of the Wale Williams adventure series and is currently developing another graphic novel set for release at the end of 2016 (Malaika The Warrior Queen). So pull up a chair, grab a cup of tea and listen to the fantastic tales of Roye Okupe.

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