The Urban Legend
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. From there on the comic has been released in 2 seasons, along with a hardcover compilation book for season 1. The collected edition for TUL Season 1 has gone on to sell over 10,000 units in the Norwegian market. Additionally, special editions of the comic focused on moral and social issues such as bullying, education and ebola have also been published through “The Urban Legend Inspirator.” 16 issues have currently been printed with a total of 27 that have been fully produced. Distribution through the Norwegian market is handled through Gyldendal Norway.
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 master, Mr. Fong, in China and Japan. There he battles enemies guarding ancient secrets as well as forces of the Yakuza.
As the story moves into “Season 2” the situation in Capital City becomes increasing dark. The Mayor is assassinated and there is a bombing at a local high school, ultimately it is revealed that both these heinous acts were perpetrated by The Devil’s Advocate. However before this information comes to light the citizens of Capital City, scared and angry, spill into the streets causing violent riots. TUL does his best to contain the madness but he is overpowered by the crowds and he himself is thrown into jail. There he finds a few “old friends” waiting for him, eager to get a chance at revenge. With the help of TUL’s real friends, the local cop Marco Addesa and Sarah Parks, he’s able to escape and keep the criminals behind bars for good this time.
The stakes continue to raise for TUL when a fellow teacher he had affections for is murdered by a local gang, TUL goes on a rampage seeking vengeance once again. Perhaps TUL goes too far and forgets what it means to be a hero dedicated to justice. But no matter how far TUL may fall, he is sure to rise again, for whatever darkness the people of Capital City may face, they are not alone. They are under the watchful eyes of the The Urban Legend!
WHY TUL?: TUL is a superhero book created to inspire the youth of today while providing a boatload of exciting action and characters they can identify with. There has long been a lack of representation for heros of color created by creators of color and that’s an issue TUL seeks to address. Additionally, TUL as a brand wants to continue to inspire today’s youth to consider the global issues that connect us all which is why we have forged partnerships with organizations dedicated to social and societal change. Currently, TUL is being used in school curriculum in countries on three continents including, Norway, Eritrea, Brazil, Kenya and South Africa.