Thanks to his acclaimed runs on Fantastic Four, Superman: Birthright, and Daredevil, Mark Waid has become one of the most popular writers in comics. So it’s no surprise that European publisher Humanoids wanted his help when launching a new line of superhero books. Waid serves as Director of Creative Development for Humanoids’ H1 imprint. The company will give readers a sampling of their titles this weekend for Free Comic Book Day. While speaking with ComicBook.com, Waid shared new info about what readers can expect from this latest assortment of superhumans.
Waid’s Ignited is one of the upcoming titles. He created the book with writer Kwanza Osajyefo and artist Phil Briones. According to Waid, the series is going to examine a major national issue through the lens of a superhero origin story.
“Ignited is about a small group of high school kids who were survivors of a domestic terror attack — as Kwanza says, let’s not call it a ‘school shooting,’ which has tragically become a numbing phrase, let’s call what it really is — in their school,” said Waid. “They’ve now been given a variety of superhuman abilities and the power to effect change. Like many actual survivors, of whom I am in awe, their big takeaway from what happened was that they don’t want to feel helpless ever again. They begin a grassroots movement against gun violence that escalates faster than they’d accounted for. Their heroism is tested, it needs direction — but it shines.”
The real-world correlations are far from an accident. Waid noted that one of his reasons for joining H1 was to tell superhero stories that subvert people’s expectations.
“Allow us the one moment of fantasy in all the H1 books where seemingly random people are granted superhuman powers and abilities in times of extreme global stress, and we’ll deliver the very natural, very real consequences those people would face,” said Waid. “These books are designed first and foremost to entertain, but they’re not apolitical. The characters are driven to make the world a better place, whatever that may mean to them. Their first challenge, however–especially with the kids in Ignited — is how exactly to go about it. There aren’t supervillains to punch.”
Of course, emphasizing the humanity in superpowered characters is one of Waid’s strong suits. That’s why fans of his Marvel work are also likely to appreciate what H1 has to offer.
“We can load you up with smart stories and spectacular visuals — and there’s no shortage of them in our line!” insisted Waid. “But at the end of the day, what matters most to us — what we deliver best and strongest — are believable human characters we can feel for and root for.”
Will you be picking up a copy of H1’s Free Comic Book Day sampler? Let us know in the comment section below!