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Nigeria’s Comic Republic, Africa’s largest publisher of independent comic books, has signed a production deal with Emagine Content and JackieBoy Entertainment to adapt its hit comic Ireti as a feature film.
Ireti is the story of a university student in Ibadan, Nigeria blessed with superpowers. The companies bill the project as the first “African female superhero.”
The companies said the goal of the new venture will be to “portray a positive global influence of Africa and negate previous misconceptions.”
“It’s a great time to be alive. We are in a world where diversity has taken center stage,” says Jide Martin, CEO of Comic Republic. “We are thrilled to be working with Emagine Content and Jackie Boy to bring our heroes and stories to the big screen but mostly because we get the chance to be a part of black history.”
“This deal is a major push towards diversity on the silver screen for black superheroes,” says Emagine CEO Ben Phelps, who runs the L.A.-based group together with head of originals Kimberly Boyd, a producer on such series as Into the Badlands and The Shannara Chronicles. “The time is now to showcase heroes of all different backgrounds…The ability to create role models for future generations to come is a unique opportunity that comes with an important responsibility to make sure the storytelling is authentic. For us, finding a partnership that is looking to be a disruptive force with good morals is everything.”
The new agreement with Emagine builds on the cooperation between Comic Republic and JackieBoy, a Maryland-based entertainment group set up by music executive John Tillery, announced earlier this year.
“JackieBoy Entertainment is excited to bring the three companies together and embark on this watershed moment in comic book culture, connecting the voices of African stories to universal themes for all to enjoy,” said Tillery, together with JackieBoy EVP EA Brown. “We look forward to working with the stellar teams of Emagine Content and Comic Republic to strengthen the alliance between African-based creatives and comic enthusiasts with genuine characters and storylines.”
In addition to Ireti, Comic Republic publishes such African-based titles as Aje, a fantasy title inspired by Yoruba spirituality and mysticism and The Vanguards, which focuses on an Avengers-style team of superheroes. Most of the publisher’s titles are rooted in traditional African mythology, folktales, and culture.
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