NYCC 2018: Humanoids Launches Shared Hero Universe And Other Miniseries For July 2019

by Hannah Means Shannon

At the 20th Anniversary Humanoids Panel at New York Comic Con 2018, panelists included Fabrice Sapolsky, John Cassaday, Kwanza Osajyefo, Dennis Calero, Fabrice Giger, Jock, Carla Speed McNeil, Yanick Paquette ,and more.

The panel opened with a teaser video revealing H1, teasing “we are heroes” and debuting in July 2019.
Fabrice Giger spoke of his 30th anniversary of taking over the imprint and bringing the company back to the “spirit of its founding fathers”. 20 years ago they came to the USA with the same innovative spirit, he reflected. He feels that “creators are still the heart of Humanoids”. “New emotions, new adventures, and new powers” were the tone of the new slate of books, he explained.
The panel was hosted by journalist and writer Evan Narcisse. He spoke of the inspirational aspects of European comics and John Cassaday’s impact on his life.
He asked John Cassaday why they wanted to create a shared universe rather than standalone stories the way Humanoids have before. Cassaday said that standalone can be very “dense” and that we live in a time where people are binging things. He also likes long-form and serial format, he said. He also likes the room this gives for each character to get enough attention.
Asked if he intends to address some of the problems he may have faced with shared universes in the past, Cassaday said he doesn’t know that he has such power, since this slate is community-based.

In a video interview with Mark Waid, he explained that the books will feature “challenges” that we face internationally right now, but there are still aspects of the “morality tale” to these comics. Readers will bring what they want to bring to the story, he clarified, and though comics deal in allegory, these books will feature “real world issues” too. Discussing his role as Director of Creative Development, Waid said that he’s here as a voice and consultant with a lot of experience, but the team that’s been put together already means that he’s a member, too. He intends to learn from younger voices too, he said.
Kwanza Osajyefo said that realism is really important to their construction of this world, like the unrealistic aspects of secret identities being taken into account.
The panel showed the audience work in progress teases for pages coming up in their Summer 2019 slate.
Kwanza Osajyefo, Yanick Paquette, and Carla Speed McNeil were some of the earliest architects of this universe, Sapolsky said.
The H1 universe will be 6 series launching in 2019, starting in July. Each is designed by Rian Hughes, and each issue will have a backstory by McNeil and Alberto Albuquerque.
Ignited is a book about a team of teenagers with powers, written by Kwanza Osajyefo with Mark Waid. It will reflect teen issues in school and life, and show events with real consequences, he explained. Designs for this series were by Yanick Paquette. The team are “ordinary kids with a little bit extra”. McNeil said that they gave the characters backgrounds as full and complex as they could come up with so that when their special abilities come in, their reactions are true to character.
Omni will be an ongoing series. It features a female lead, Cecilia, who is a young doctor, and gains certain “abilities” that she uses to help people in her life and strangers, too. Her powers are “mental” and those types of powers put her ahead of other people. It ties into real world problems like anxiety and PTSD issues, where people are often thinking several steps ahead of others.

Yanick Paquette has brought a lot of pink into the design for the line of comics, and he finds it “exciting” as a graphic element, he said, and is used to suggest a “visual incarnation of what they can do” for the characters. Cecilia was shown with hovering imprints of brain function in pink in Paquette’s designs.
Strangelands is the third series in the slate. It’s a “relationship book”, Sapolsky said. It will launch as ongoing in August 2019. Two people with extremely different backgrounds on a tourist trip find they have the same last name, so people assume they are a married couple. This leads to flirtation, and then horrible things happen. “Perfect vacation”, McNeil laughed. Sapolsky described it as “Moonlighting with superpowers”.
A “suite of original miniseries” are also part of this new line of H1, beyond the shared universe, Narcisse said.
The Big Country, written by Quinton Peeples, and drawn and colored by Dennis Calero and Darick Robertson, is a Texas-set story. It will be 5 issues and debut in July. It’s a story about being on the throne as a lawman when the “throne fell”.
In Meyer, a book about Meyer Lansky, we follow a kingpin at the end of his life. It’s written by Jonathan “Swifty” Lang, and illustrated by Andrea Mutti and Shawn Martinbrough.  
Cassaday said that these books are, of course, outside the shared universe, and this is a book that examines a man losing power and health, finally viewing the world as it really is.
NicNevin and the Bloody Queen is a 4 issue series by Helen Mullane, Dom Reardon, Lee Loughridge, and Jock. It’s set in the UK in real places, and it imagines a world where all the folklore of the British Isles are still existing and strong, Jock (who is the cover artist) explained.
Paquette said that as a Canadian, European comics influenced him a lot. When he became an artist he had to choose between the two markets, and felt the Euro market was too sophisticated for him. But at Humanoids, this is a brige that’s bringing those worlds together.

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