Mayke Studios is thrilled to announce its graphic novel saga – John Henry: Invictus, Chapter 1: Legend. The story is an adaptation of the John Henry ballads and folktale, but this time, Mayke Studios has taken some creative liberties to make it fit within our own world.
John Henry: Invictus was born out of a desire to connect marginalized audiences to the legends, mythologies, fables, and stories of their culture, connecting them to their most authentic selves through a blended fantasy-and-superhero driven exploration of folklore. Invictus also serves the need for stories outside of Black trauma, pain, and struggle, allowing Black audiences the chance to escape into worlds and dimensions where they can simply exist, fly, and slay dragons, too.
In John Henry: Invictus, readers will be taken inside an all-new mythical fantasy universe. It’s a universe built to explore cultural folklore by reimagining classic folktales like Invictus and creating new mythologies and characters for today. John Henry: Invictus expands on the mythology and legacy of the John Henry tales that have thrilled fans for over a hundred years. It is a story that respects the classic tale while infusing a unique, fresh perspective on the African American folk character.
“The railroad is a new frontier, and John Henry is ready to take it on. However, when an intimidating machine threatens to take it all away, he finds himself caught in a dangerous race to prove once and for all no man is obsolete in this alternative-fantasy graphic novel adaptation,” reads the novel’s logline.
John Henry: Invictus is written by Grae Williams, Mayke Studios Founder and CEO and illustrated by Omar Francia (Volition, Star Wars).
The graphic novel saga is told in chapters with each chapter expanding on the original tale of the Age-Old African American Folk Legend.
“Chapter One sets the stage by retelling John Henry’s classic tall tale story; the ultimate showdown between him and the steam drill. The original tale is magical on its own, and I think our approach and respect for that allowed the classic story to make room for us to expand on it. We didn’t come in with the intent to change the story we all know and love. We came in to amplify it,” says Grae Williams, the author.
“In the pantheon of American gods, John Henry is one of them. To me, he’s the Godfather of American Tall Tales and the Legend of Black Folklore. But he’s never been properly venerated. Matter of fact, the entirety of American folktales across all cultures deserve more prominence in society because of what they stand for. These characters were superheroes long before the name was coined. Mayke Studios is about venerating these characters and the stories that connect us to our past, our cultures, our lineages, and getting strength, healing, and self-transformation from them. We look back to move forward. Mayke is here to make that journey fun, entertaining, and heroic,” Williams adds.
The 54-page graphic novel is set to be released in late 2021 or early 2022 and is currently in production. The entire project will be funded by Mayke Studios and then sent to Kickstarter to fund printing and shipping costs.
For more information, please visit https://maykestudios.com/john-henry-invictus/.
Mayke (pronounced “make”) Studios is a Memphis-based comic studio developing inclusive graphic novels and comic books for fans of reimagined and classic cultural folktales, mythologies, and superheroes. To start, Mayke Studios is providing Black audiences with more fantasy and magic-based storytelling. As it grows, Mayke Studios intends to explore more folklore from different cultures (Samoan, Asian, Native American, etc).
For more information, please visit their website – maykestudios.com
Social media channels: @maykestudios