LBCC 2019: Waid & Briones Discuss The H1 Universe & Ignited

by Gary Catig

Mark Waid is the Director of Creative Development of H1, the new superhero line from Humanoids. During the Labor Day weekend, the comic creator led a panel at Long Beach Comic Con to discuss the H1 line. In particular he spoke about his series, Ignited. Also in attendance was the artist for the title, Phil Briones.
In the H1 universe, ordinary people become “ignited” when under stress and trauma and gain powers. Though certain people become enhanced, the stories try to avoid the cape and cowl feel typical of superhero comics. There are currently three books that are on shelves. Strangelands, written by Magdalene Visaggio and Darcie Little Badger with art from Guillermo Sanna is described as an adventure romantic comedy. The latest addition, Omni, follows an African American female doctor who is participating in Doctors Without Borders. She experiences a terrorist attack in South Africa and gains the power to think at the speed of light. Now ignited, the doctor comes off as a combination of House and Sherlock Holmes. Omni is written by Devin Grayson with art from Alitha Martinez.
Ignited is co-written with Kwanza Osajefyo and has the elevator pitch of what if the Margaery Stoneman Douglas High School kids received powers and fought back. Waid doesn’t shy away from the political aspects and did not hide his distaste of the NRA at the panel. He partially uses the story to shut down false flag attacks and conspiracy theories of the real school shooting. He’s been surprised at the lack of push back so far and admits that a comic like this could not be done at the Big Two. In addition, beginning with the second issue, a letter section is included that provides a platform for survivors of similar incidents to speak about their experiences and how they would solve the current gun control crisis.
Waid seems very optimistic for the line based off of the first three series. As they look to the next two books coming out, they want to be even more experimental. Although, he’s very involved with H1, he still has other projects that he plugged including History of the Marvel Universe, Invisible Woman and an upcoming Doctor Strange relaunch. Briones wanted to publicize his new graphic novel, Vikings and Mermaids, also for Humanoids. It will focus on a woman, who is half human and half troll, and her relationship with a Viking. It will be 52 pages and will come out next spring in France and some time later in the U.S.

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