Tracker Pixel for Entry

​First Norwegian superhero is an African immigrant and school teacher

by Jack Hastings | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | HPR Abroad | June 28th, 2017

Photo credit: Jack Hastings

Josef Yohannes is the creator of “The Urban Legend,” about the protagonist he claims is the first Norwegian superhero. The comic series features a black African immigrant who fights street crime with martial arts skills, protects the innocent, and is committed to justice in the fictional setting of Capital City, a city ravaged by corruption.

The first issue of “The Urban Legend” was published in January 2012 in Norway. The comic was received with critical acclaim and garnered a digital publishing deal with USA Today.

“The Urban Legend” follows the story of Malcolm Tzegai Madiba, a 29-year-old high school teacher. As Capital City is nearly bankrupt, and the police force is cut back causing crime to take over, Malcolm dons the alter ego of The Urban Legends to fight crime’s reign over the city.

“I got the idea in 2010 when I visited Africa, went all over the place and saw a lot of things that changed my life forever,” Yohannes, who studied political science and human rights at the University of Oslo, said. “I saw a lot of poverty and I saw a lot of kids without any parents or role models.”

This is the thought that drove Yohannes to create a superhero that can inspire kids to believe that they can be somebody important in this world. From there, Yohannes developed his concept for “The Urban Legend.”

Yohannes had a very clear vision of how he desired his superhero to be during its conception. He wanted to create a very human superhero people could relate to and see pieces of themselves in.

“I think a lot of people see something in him that they wish they could see in themselves,” Yohannes said. “Like standing up for the people who cannot stand up for themselves and giving people who don’t have a voice a voice, and then just fighting against injustice and crime in a whole different way than all the other superheroes.”

The Urban Legend has set a significant precedent as the first Norwegian superhero. The superhero market in Norway is not nearly as strong is in the U.S. and Asia. That he is black, an immigrant and a school teacher are factors that also resonate in comics culture in the U.S. and abroad.

In the history of popular comic series, representation of people of color has not been relative to population demographics. Comics have had a long history of “whitewashing” their main characters. Through “The Urban Legend,” Yohannes is creating a wider, comprehensive scope of representation and providing a role model for those who otherwise would not have one.

Yohannes has also used “The Urban Legend” as a tool to address social issues through several collaborations. A Nobel edition focusing on Ebola was created in accordance with the 10th anniversary of the Nobel Peace Center.

Yohannes also collaborated with the Malala Fund to focus on education for girl’s rights. The comic sheet created from this collaboration was incorporated into school curriculum in Norway.

Along with being a part of curriculum in Norway, “The Urban Legend” is also taught in schools in South Africa, Kenya, Eritrea and Brazil, in subjects including Norwegian, English and media and communications.

The goal of “The Urban Legend” is to inspire youth to educate themselves and, in doing so, change the world in the process, Yohannes said.

“I want my superhero ‘The Urban Legend’ to really stand for something,” Yohannes said. “To not only inspire a whole generation but to also empower them and make them believe they can be somebody and that if you want to change something in this world, you need to change yourself first.”

The world of “The Urban Legend” is looking to grow internationally and Yohannes is also in talks with a major Hollywood studio to discuss the potential of turning the beloved comic into a movie.

To learn more about “The Urban Legend” and culture in Norway, visit www.oslorocksblog and https://hpr1.com/index.php/feature/hpr-abroad.

For biographies of HPR’s correspondents in Norway, visit https://oslorocks.blog/staff/

Recently in:

After nearly two and a half years since the people of North Dakota voted to pass the Compassionate Care Act into law in the state, medical marijuana is finally available to patients. Only one dispensary is open right now, but seven…

It was an, “aha,” moment, said Jeremy Jensen. A woman had her vehicle towed into the Fix It Forward Auto Care shop in Moorhead. Jensen and fellow Fix It Forward Auto Care co-founder Matt Carlson had the vehicle on a hoist…

Thursday, April 18, 5-9 p.m.Drekker Brewing Company, 1666 1st Ave N, FargoThe folks at Drekker have partnered with a handful of area artists and the Lend A Hand Up program. A program providing help and hope to families facing…

In 2016, the Rand Corportation’s National Defense Research Institute published a year-long study looking at potential consequences for transgender members to serve within the U.S Military. This study looked at seven different…

The Nordic ModelDr. Thea Hunter, a graduate of Columbia University and an adjunct professor of history at a number of elite colleges and universities, recently died at age 63 of extreme capitalism—and asthma—because of lack of…

Cocktail Showdown

​Yo ho ho!

by Sabrina Hornung

Well shiver me timbers. After weeks of sampling some of the finest drinks in F-M from more bars than we could shake a belaying pin at, the results of High Plains Reader’s 6th Annual Cocktail Showdown are in! For nine weeks,…

After three years Jon Beyer aka “Jonny B” has become the face and the beard behind Jonny B’s Brickhouse in Jamestown North Dakota. Besides the largest selection of craft beers between here and Bismarck, wood-fired pizzas and…

By Gary Usseryusseryg@gmail.comFYB. Three letters, three words, well known by the guys who make up Cascades, and anyone who is a fan of the five-man band. When asked what genre best describes their sound, I was bombarded with at…

Harmony Korine keeps a tight grip on his title as one of the most critic/critique-proof filmmakers of recent times with “The Beach Bum,” a sultry companion piece to 2012’s memorable “Spring Breakers.” Not without its own…

Arts

​Hold your head high

by Sabrina Hornung

“I started to look around at state arts council positions because I felt that even though I had never done that, I felt like it would be a really good blend of skills, so I started to look around in 2016. A few jobs came up but I…

Countless examples can be found throughout the history of great art that was only recognized as such after the life of the artist that created it. Such is true of Georges Bizet’s opera "Carmen."  While its reception during his…

Stand-up comedy is traditionally a one-way exchange. Outside of the odd question addressed to a random audience member, the limit of the spectators’ contribution to the conversation is their laughter at the comedy stylings being…

By Gabrielle Herschgabbyhersch@gmail.comThink & Drink is coming to Fargo! Organized by Humanities North Dakota, Think & Drink is a happy hour series that hosts a facilitated public conversation about big issues and ideas. Lead by a…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

It seems like the threats to North Dakota’s Badlands never cease. Let’s go back and revisit Wylie Bice. He’s the rogue, rich, rancher up in Dunn County, on the eastern edge of the Badlands, who’s built himself a private…