Humanoids’ Debut Superhero Series Ignited to Run Letters from Survivors of School Shootings

Mark Waid, Kwanza Osajyefo & Phil Briones’ Series Deals With the Aftermath of a Mass Shooting

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Humanoids’ Debut Superhero Series Ignited to Run Letters from Survivors of School Shootings

If superhero comics have a responsibility to reflect our real world, then superhero comics featuring teenage characters have more to reckon with than ever before, including the seemingly omnipresent threat of school shootings. Per Education Week’s tracking, there have been at least 13 school shootings resulting in injuries or deaths this year, many of which barely make national headlines now due to how often a tragic event like this occurs. Marvel Comics’ Champions series (perhaps clumsily) tried to tackle this wave of violence in a special issue last year, and now Humanoids’ nascent superhero universe is confronting gun violence in schools head on with Ignited, their first ongoing shared-universe title.

Written by Mark Waid and Kwanza Osajyefo and drawn by artist Phil Briones, Ignited opens on the first day back at Phoenix Academy High, where returning students and faculty are still haunted last year’s horrific attack. Friends and colleagues were lost to senseless violence, and some of those who survived underwent changes—they Ignited, gaining supernatural abilities they barely understand.

Drawing from such a sensitive real-world topic can be tricky territory to navigate (co-writer Osajyefo similarly pulled from police murders of unarmed black people for Black AF), but Humanoids and the creative team are seeking to use their platform to elevate the voices of survivors. Starting with Kindra Neely’s letter in the second issue, Ignited will open up the letter column to survivors of school shootings, any of whom are invited to write in and share their thoughts in the pages of future issues.

“School shootings like the one that inspired the story you’ve just read happen in real life in this country with despicable frequency,” reads Humanoids’ note accompanying Neely’s letter. “We’ve reached out to various students who have survived these shootings and have invited them to speak their minds openly in the pages of Ignited, saying whatever they feel needs saying. We’ll be publishing their responses in each issue.”

To help announce this initiative, Paste has obtained permission to share survivor Kindra Neely’s letter below. We also have statements from co-writers Waid and Osajyefo. Survivors of school shootings who’d like to share their thoughts in upcoming issues should contact Humanoids at [email protected]. Ignited #1 hits comic shelves and digital retailers this Wednesday.


Kindra Neely:

Much of the narrative surrounding mass shootings is focused on the shooter’s motivation. We ask ourselves and each other why did they do it? What makes a person enter a room of unsuspecting strangers, and open fire? What led them to do that? We analyze and dig for stories about mistreatment and abuse. We accept a narrative that isn’t true, that they were outcasts and unloved, because that lie is an easier pill to swallow than the truth. Nothing made them do it. It seems senseless because it is senseless. We, as a nation, have to accept that in order to move on. Instead of focusing on the why, we need to focus on the how. How do we prevent this in the future? How do we help those who have already suffered? Not a second more should be spent focusing on the shooter. They are not affected by what they have done. We are.

It is time we take the narrative back. Let our grief and our strength be the rally cry for change. Let our stories unite us through empathy and compassion. No more silence. No more fear. Just us, and the tenacity to make tomorrow better than yesterday.


Co-Writer Kwanza Osajyefo:

The best stories are sown from a seed of truth, and a true epidemic has plagued U.S. children for nearly 50 years. It’s become generational, with 2018 seeing the highest number of domestic terror attacks on schools in American history. We are witness to an enduring apathy, perhaps because we focus on the attackers and not the attacked.

While we tell a story, the stories we can’t tell are how these assaults continue to destroy real people’s lives, liberty and their pursuit of happiness. So if the fiction of Ignited can provide a voice for the reality of those impacted by school shootings—listen up.


Co-Writer Mark Waid:

The events of Ignited are based on real-world tragedies, and we don’t take that lightly. With that in mind, we’ve reached out to kids nationwide—some now adults, because that’s how long this national tragedy has been going on—who have been directly involved in these shootings and given them free rein in our editorial pages to write about whatever they want—their stories, their solutions, their hopes for the future. Their voices deserve to be heard.


Ignited #1 Cover Art by Mike McKone

Ignited #1
Writers: Mark Waid & Kwanza Osajyefo
Artist: Phil Briones
Publisher: H1/ Humanoids
Release Date: June 5, 2019
Welcome to the H1 Universe and Ignited, Humanoids’ first ever ongoing super-powered series-brought to you by an explosive team: writers Mark Waid (Kingdom Come) and Kwanza Osajyefo (Black AF), and artist Phil Briones (Aquaman), with covers by John Cassaday and Yanick Paquette! It’s the first day back at Phoenix Academy High, but this year there’s no back to school excitement in the air as returning students and faculty are haunted by memories of last year’s horrific attack. So many friends and colleagues were lost, and some of those who survived underwent changes; they Ignited, gaining supernatural abilities they barely understand. Little do they know this is just the beginning!

Ignited #1 Interior Art by Phil Briones

Ignited #1 Interior Art by Phil Briones

Ignited #1 Interior Art by Phil Briones

Ignited #1 Interior Art by Phil Briones

Ignited #1 Interior Art by Phil Briones

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