About the URBAN LEGEND

The Urban Legend is a comic book created by Josef Tzegai Yohannes, with art by Steve Baker. It's about a black superhero who uses martial arts to fight street crime.

publication History

The first issue of The Urban Legend, was originally published in January 2012 in Norway. After rave reviews in Norway, Josef took TUL to San Diego Comic Con 2012. At SDCC, TUL was selected for a digital publishing deal with USA TODAY. The first issue released commercially in Norway in 2013 and quickly became a success. 

About the URBAN LEGEND

The Urban Legend is a comic book created by Josef Tzegai Yohannes, with art by Steve Baker. It's about a black superhero who uses martial arts to fight street crime.

publication History

The first issue of The Urban Legend, was originally published in January 2012 in Norway. After rave reviews in Norway, Josef took TUL to San Diego Comic Con 2012. At SDCC, TUL was selected for a digital publishing deal with USA TODAY. The first issue released commercially in Norway in 2013 and quickly became a success.

 plot

The main character Malcolm Tzegai Madiba is a 29-year-old high school teacher in the fictional city of Capital City. Corruption has forced the city to near-bankruptcy. With the police force cut back, crime has taken over the city. When Malcolm’s friend, a local business owner, is robbed and assaulted, Malcolm is troubled that the assailant has not been arrested or charged. Soon, Malcolm learns that his brother Justin has been murdered. Overcome with grief and burning with a desire for revenge, Malcolm swears that the criminals will pay. This leads Malcolm to put his martial arts abilities to use and become a hero. Malcolm is an expert martial artist but does not flaunt his abilities, his training stems from his father who was the pupil of an ancient Chinese Kung Fu legacy and from his training in China. Malcolm takes on The Devil’s Advocate, a powerful crime boss who now controls Capital City. As The Urban Legend (TUL), Malcolm fights criminals of all types, sometimes they are just street level thugs, but also crime syndicates like The Devil’s Advocate.

Some of his opponents have abilities that border on the supernatural and they force him to test the limits of his own abilities. Quickly, TUL’s notoriety grows with the citizens of Capital City and his admirers and detractors have heated debated over his true allegiances and identity. However despite the challenges of his new double life, Malcolm continues to be a teacher in and out of his costume and does what he can to keep his students on track and in school. He is known for his kindness, compassion, and inspiration, and would be considered a hero even without the costume. His name, The Urban Legend, comes from the early newspaper reports on his deeds written by the journalist Sarah Parks. Malcolm decides the name fits, after all he is the people’s hero, why not let them name him? We also follow Malcolm on his hunt for his friend, Mr. Fong, in China and Japan. There he battles enemies guarding ancient secrets as well as forces of the Yakuza.

Quickly, TUL’s notoriety grows with the citizens of Capital City and his admirers and detractors have heated debated over his true allegiances and identity. However despite the challenges of his new double life, Malcolm continues to be a teacher in and out of his costume and does what he can to keep his students on track and in school. He is known for his kindness, compassion, and inspiration, and would be considered a hero even without the costume.

His name, The Urban Legend, comes from the early newspaper reports on his deeds written by the journalist Sarah Parks. Malcolm decides the name fits, after all he is the people’s hero, why not let them name him? We also follow Malcolm on his hunt for his friend, Mr. Fong, in China and Japan. There he battles enemies guarding ancient secrets as well as forces of the Yakuza.

About the creator/author

Josef Tzegai Yohannes, a native of Eritrea, was born in Copenhagen, Denmark with his twin sister in 1980. At the age of 9, he and his family moved to Oslo, Norway. 

From an early age, he experienced bullying, poverty, racism, and fear, yet he participated in charity events, and always had hope for a better future. As he grew older, he decided to study human rights and political science with the goal of earning a political position that would allow him to take on social issues of the underprivileged.
Josef Tzegai Yohannes, a native of Eritrea, was born in Copenhagen, Denmark with his twin sister in 1980. At the age of 9, he and his family moved to Oslo, Norway. A shy, adventurous child, from an early age he had a vision and a goal of helping people and making the world to a better place for all of us.

From an early age, he experienced bullying, poverty, racism, and fear, yet he participated in charity events, and always had hope for a better future. As he grew older, he decided to study human rights and political science with the goal of earning a political position that would allow him to take on social issues of the underprivileged.
While studying Political Science and Human Rights at the University of Oslo, Yohannes was selected to attend a United Nations Conference for students sponsored by Harvard University. He attended the conference 3 years in a row (in Hague, Netherlands, Taipei, Taiwan and New York, USA).

In 2010, while he was visiting Botswana, South Africa, and several other countries, Yohannes got the idea to combine his creativity and passion for social service to create a new comic book superhero called The Urban Legend. His biggest inspiration came when he saw two children that instantly reminded him of himself and his brother. In an emotional moment, he called them over and talked to them, and was struck by their beauty and closeness. He gave them 10 dollars and told them to buy some ice cream; they happily accepted, and as they walked away, he shed a few tears, feeling helpless and angry with himself that he didn’t do more than give them a few dollars. He wanted to give them hope, a role, something that could motivate them and show them the path to a better life.

Three months later, he had the epiphany to create a superhero that would change the world. The Urban Legend would be the first global black superhero, inspiring kids from all over the world, especially Africa. He wanted his character to be the most human superhero ever and, so he gave him a job as a teacher. The Urban Legend is a superhero who fights against evil and oppression, and gives the poor, the forgotten, and those who can’t stand up for themselves a voice.

His name is Malcolm Tzegai Madiba, named after Malcolm X, Yohannes’ father Tzegai, and Nelson Mandela (Madiba is Mandela’s African name).

The Urban Legend is available in 8 different languages and is part of the school curriculum in Norway, Eritrea, South Africa, Kenya and Brazil.

About the illustrator

For 10 years Stevie Baker shared a space with Fused Magazine and now spends his time divided between his studio in Birmingham, UK and his second home in Brazil. Clients include: Mattel, Virgin, BBC, Capcom, X-Box, Levi’s, Spinach Japan, Dazed & Confused, Esquire, Sega, Magma Books, Graniph, Nokia, Lascivious, Disney, Channel 4 and many others.

Awards: Contributed to various award winning projects including the 2003 CIPD Design Awards for Codemasters and the 2009 Roses Design and Leipzig Awards with Fluid Designfor Sega.
At the weekend: Stevie used to spread his time between managing ColdRice (legendary Birmingham underground music events and record label) and playing in rock n’ soul band Copter, now he just spends his time wishing he was Black Mekon.

About the illustrator

Newtasty is: Illustration and design by Steve Baker aka Stevie Copter.

For 10 years Stevie shared a space with Fused Magazine and now spends his time divided between his studio in Birmingham UK and his second home in Brazil.Clients include: Mattel, Virgin, BBC, Capcom, X-Box, Levi’s, Spinach Japan, Dazed & Confused, Esquire, Sega, Magma Books, Graniph, Nokia, Lascivious, Disney, Channel 4 and many others.

Awards: Contributed to various award winning projects including the 2003 CIPD Design Awards for Codemasters and the 2009 Roses Design and Leipzig Awards with Fluid Designfor Sega.
At the weekend: Stevie used to spread his time between managing ColdRice (legendary Birmingham underground music events and record label) and playing in rock n’ soul band Copter, now he just spends his time wishing he was Black Mekon.

About the producer

Sajid Malik started his career as an actor when he was 10 years old, he starred and played the lead in the Norwegian movie “Beyond The Seven Seas.”

Since then he has worked as an actor, producer and consultant for many award winning productions in Norway. Malik wished early on to style the production method of The Urban Legend after the season based TV production model.
This method of working has been a key factor for the whole team. Past clients Include: NRK, Karpe Diem, Rubicon TV, Friland, TV2, Sony Mobile, Feelgood TV and Universal Music.

About the producer

Sajid Malik started his career as an actor when he was 10 years old, he starred and played the lead in the Norwegian movie “Beyond The Seven Seas.”

Since then he has worked as an actor, producer and consultant for many award winning productions in Norway. Malik wished early on to style the production method of The Urban Legend after the season based TV production model.
This method of working has been a key factor for the whole team. Past clients Include: NRK, Karpe Diem, Rubicon TV, Friland, TV2, Sony Mobile, Feelgood TV and Universal Music.

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