EXCLUSIVE: Yetide Badaki, who starred in Starz’ American Gods, is biting into the comic book world.
Badaki is developing a Nigerian vampire story as a TV series and a comic and has teamed with Payback Entertainment, the company founded by Insecure showrunner Prentice Penny and Stranger Comics President Sebastian A. Jones.
Naija Vamp is about a Nigerian vampire’s hunger for eternal love, beyond the flesh. It is described as an irreverent love letter to all those who have ever felt othered, wrapped in a blood-sucking coming-of-age self-discovery romp.
The story follows Bisi, who is turning 40 years old. Again. In fact, Bisi turned 40 many years ago when she became a vampire as part of her Nigerian undead family heritage. Struggling to find herself in the New World amidst navigating her family’s Old World vampiric expectations and unable to keep a partner for fear of eating them, Bisi’s (after)life has felt like one perpetual time loop she can’t quite escape. But this year is going to be different. This year Bisi is going to learn to accept and fully embrace all of who she is, even the blood sucking part.
Badaki, who recently teamed with Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson, Spartacus creator Steven S. DeKnight and Mo Abudu to develop a series with Starz on the the life of African Warrior Queen Nzinga, will produce the comic book series and TV series with Penny and Jones as well as Chris Pollack and Alex Soler.
Payback will publish, where Jones will also co-write the comic with Badaki, and Stranger Comics will distribute. The comic will launch in summer 2023.
Penny and Jones launched Payback Entertainment last year to support diverse talent to launch comics that could also be adapted for TV and film.
Badaki said, “I am over the moon to be embarking on such an epic storytelling adventure with Prentice, Sebastian and the team at Payback Entertainment. As a geek and as a Nigerian it has been a dream come true to be able to fuse both of these elements in this unconventional coming of age tale and to hopefully play a small part in further expanding inclusivity in genre spaces. To see Naija Vamp, an idea that originated in my mind, brought to fruition in partnership with the immense talents and experience of Sebastian, Prentice and the team, is the absolute geektastic cherry on top. Gratitude is an understatement.”
Jones said, “When Yetide first pitched her idea of Naija Vamp I was bitten. She had created such a culturally rich setting, and one I had never seen before but in a tale we could all relate to in an ironically human way. Nigerian vampires with family issues and a hero wanting to find the true love we all crave. But it’s our cravings that can get us into trouble, and hers are little more deadly. I’m so excited to be able to be part of something as fun and bloody wonderful as Naija Vamp.”
Penny added, “Yetide has created something really special in Naija Vamp, it feels like the perfect blend of horror and comedy from a perspective we don’t get to see enough but need more of. I’m just really honored and excited we get to explore and develop both the comic and TV landscape from inception and then launch this vampire franchise on the mortal world.”
Badaki is repped by Innovative Artists and attorneys Nina Shaw and Derick Davis of Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein Lezcano Bobb & Dang. Jones and Penny are repped by WME. Penny is also repped by Theresa Kang-Lowe’s Blue Marble Management and attorneys John Meigs and Adam Kaller. Jones is also represented by Felker, Toczek, Suddleson, Abramson, McGinnis & Ryan.
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