An Interview With UMI President & CEO Jeff Wright
- Monday, November 20, 2006
Q: What convinced UMI to enter the comic book arena?
A: As we expand our vision and our mission, the concept of reaching a younger audience with the Christian message appealed to me. Comic books are an ideal vehicle for reaching young people all over America and specifically in the African American market. It made sense for us to offer them a viable option that will entertain as well as teach them spiritual truths and a biblical worldview in a compelling and entertaining manner.
Q: How did Michael Davis become involved in your comics series?
A: Michael came to us with the idea for "The Guardian Line," an idea he had been contemplating for years. We had met several years earlier on another media project. Superior editorial and graphic product design have established UMI as the market leader in product excellence. Michael’s talent far excels any other creator in the Black comics industry. Working with Michael ensured that the positive content we wanted would be presented by someone who was an “insider” in the comics industry and not simply by UMI trying make a place in an industry we had not participated in before.
Q: How can positive, faith-based comic books generate interest in young urban readers?
A: Comic books are taking the marketplace. Young readers are captivated by the intrigue, the artwork and the compelling stories that comic books offer. Major motion pictures and comics have been converging for years. Both art forms influence culture. Positive, faith-based comic books can teach as well as entertain young urban readers if they are written by legitimate professional comic artists and meet the artistic standards of the secular comic book industry. "The Guardian Line" does both!
Q: What is "The Guardian Line"’s target audience?
A: "The Guardian Line" features four different comic books scheduled releasing this fall. Set in the present day, in the fictional New Hope City, "The Guardian Line" features a cast of characters – some with extraordinary powers – who combat evil. "The Guardian Line" delivers the message of God through compelling characters led by their biblical code of conduct, the Ten Commandments. Each of the four comic books targets a different age group:
- Joe and Max – tweens (pre-teens)
Meet Joe, a feisty 11-year-old and Max, his guardian angel. God has chosen Joe for a future mission – to defeat evil. Max must protect Joe from those who want to destroy him. There’s one problem – Max can only speak to Joe in Scripture. Talk about a communication gap! When Joe needs it the most, will Max’s words help?
- The Seekers – preteens and teens
The Seekers tells the story of Jessie, Nila, Brooklyn and Grio – three teens and a mysterious man who are given a special gift. Jessie is a 13-year-old African American genius who has been given the most powerful instrument in the world – an MP3 player that enables the possessor to travel in time! The Seekers is a constant thrill ride through time with stops along the way to experience the teachings of God.
- Genesis 5 – teens and young adults
What happens when five angels with the appearances and personalities of teenagers are called to a high school to battle against evil? Genesis 5. Aided by a mortal teenager and a prophetic leader, these five angels battle the Guardian Universe’s nemesis, Steven Dark, lend an ear to their teenage friends and still make curfew.
- Code – young adults and adults
He travels the earth helping people in need. He is a man on a mission from God. He is a man of mystery. He is "The Guardian Line"’s Code. This technologically savvy man of mystery has a revolutionary knowledge of Scripture that empowers him to help others. As Code’s story unfolds, we learn that even his spiritual knowledge does not keep obstacles and evil from his path.
Q: When will "The Guardian Line" be available?
A: "The Guardian Line" releases this fall (Joe and Max) with additional titles releasing weekly. The comics will run bi-monthly (every other month) with 6 issues of each title per year.
Q: How much do "The Guardian Line" comics cost?
A: At $2.99 per issue, "The Guardian Line" are priced competitively with existing books in the marketplace.
Q: Where can "The Guardian Line" comics be purchased?
A: "The Guardian Line" comics can be purchased through UMI, Comic Book specialty stores and will soon be available on www.TheGuardianLine.com and www.urbanministries.com.
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