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UCP Partners With Nigerian Company to Make Comic Book TV Shows (Exclusive)


Universal Studio Group’s UCP is delving deeper into the comic book universe.

The studio has partnered with Nigeria-based Comic Republic to develop a slate of TV series based on characters from its popular Vanguards Universe.

Comic Republic was founded in 2013 by Jide Martin and is an online multimedia company that focuses on the digital creation and distribution of original African comic books. The Vanguards Universe revolves around what happens when members of the first race — humanity’s self-proclaimed gods — reunite 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. The deal gives UCP access to more than 14 characters that are core to the Vanguards world, including Aje, Eru, Metalla and Sango.

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Selwyn Seyfu Hinds (Hulu’s upcoming Washington Black limited series) and his UCP-based banner Mad Massive Entertainment will oversee the Vanguards Universe for the studio.

“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.”

Added Martin, the CEO of Comic Republic, Africa’s first digital comic book company: “For 10 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.”

Hinds is currently developing the graphic novel series The 6th Gun as a series for the Beatrice Springborn-led studio. He serves as showrunner on Hulu’s Washington Black, starring Sterling K. Brown and Tom Ellis. His credits also include the former Twilight Zone update for CBS All Access, the Greg Berlanti-produced DC anthology Strange Adventures (which HBO Max nixed) and previously developed with Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin. On the comic book side, he co-created the Vertigo title Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child.

“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 Springborn, who serves as president of UCP and Universal International Studios.

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