Sixteen-year-old actress (and more) Amandla Stenberg has launched a new comic book franchise titled "NIOBE: She is Life," which she co-wrote with Sebastian A. Jones, and is illustrated by Ashley A. Woods, with a layout by Darrell May.
It’ll be published via Los Angeles-based Stranger Comics (founded by Jones) – a multi-platform company which seeks to produce and distribute narratives about the experiences of people of color, via different artistic mediums; comic books being one of them obviously.
May serves as the company’s art director.
The official synopsis for the "NIOBE: She is Life" describes it as a coming of age tale of love, betrayal, and ultimate sacrifice: "Niobe Ayutami is an orphaned wild elf teenager and also the would-be savior of the vast and volatile fantasy world of Asunda. She is running from a past where the Devil himself would see her damned… toward an epic future that patiently waits for her to bind nations against the hordes of hell. The weight of prophecy is heavy upon her shoulders and the wolf is close on her heels."
"I was drawn to give voice to Niobe and co-write her story because her journey is my journey. I connect to her mixed racial background and quest to discover her innate powers and strengths, to learn who she truly is," Stenberg told The Huffington Post.
Stenberg first became involved with the project when she met Stranger Comics founder Jones at the Mixed Remixed Festival – an annual celebration of people of mixed race heritage through the cultural arts.
Jones added: "It did not take long for me to know she was the person I needed to develop; she’s the most beloved character in a franchise I have been brewing for more than two decades – a hero that has the weight of the world on her winged shoulders, a woman who will bind nations."
Niobe first appeared in Jones’ series "The Untamed," which follows the story’s protagonist, known as The Stranger, and his quest to seek vengeance for the deaths of his wife and daughter.
"She [Niobe] is on a path to a destiny that will test her faith and her will, something we can all relate to," said Stenberg, "But there’s never been a character quite like her – one who shatters the traditional ideal of what a hero is. We need more badass girls!"
And with that… the obvious next question is, movie rights??
"NIOBE" is scheduled for release in November alongside "The Untamed" graphic novel.
By the way, it may just be a coincidence, but Niobe also happens to be the name of the character Jada Pinkett-Smith played in "The Matrix Reloaded" and "The Matrix Revolutions," and one of the protagonists of video game "Enter the Matrix." And she certainly was a "badass girl," to use Sternberg’s words.