The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 Monday, November 23, 2020

US-French comic book tackles mass shootings with superheroes
French comic book illustrator Phil Briones works in his home office in Los Angeles, California on September 18, 2019. Two US authors have found a novel way to address the mass shootings that regularly plunge their country into mourning -- comic-book superheroes. The daring "Ignited" series, penned by former Marvel and DC writers Mark Waid and Kwanza Osajyefo and released by legendary French publisher Humanoids Associates, tackles the politically controversial topic head-on. Robyn Beck / AFP.

by Laurent Banguet

LOS ANGELES (AFP).- Two US authors have found a novel way to address the mass shootings that regularly plunge their country into mourning -- comic-book superheroes.

The daring "Ignited" series, penned by former Marvel and DC writers Mark Waid and Kwanza Osajyefo and released by legendary French publisher Humanoids Associates, tackles the politically controversial topic head-on.

It tells the fictional but tragically familiar story of six teenagers who survive a shooting at their high school in Phoenix, Arizona.

Under immense shock and stress, the teens develop superpowers. They view their newfound strengths as an opportunity to "make a difference" in their violent world, "because otherwise we went through all our pain for nothing."

In addition to giving a voice to real-life shooting survivors, "Ignited" was a chance for scriptwriters Waid and Osajyefo to address a range of sensitive, highly topical issues in the United States -- while drawing on their backgrounds with Captain America, the X-Men, Batman and Superman.

Topics featured in the first few issues include gun control, immigration police raids on Latino families, militias and growing calls from ultra-conservatives for teachers to be armed with guns.

"The 'Ignited' shared universe is different because it's not really superheroes -- to me, having written a million superhero comics, superheroes are about masks and capes and powers, and super villains," said Waid.

Here the real "villains" are extremists and the National Rifle Association (NRA) gun lobby.

The books' heroes are "dealing with things on a more realistic and a more human level," added Waid, 57.

'Make some waves'
Publisher Humanoids Associates was founded in Paris in 1974, and is the only French-language comic book publisher to have successfully entered the US market.

It remains one of the top players in the European market, where it is first became known for wildly popular sci-fi comic anthology "Metal Hurlant" ("Heavy Metal") -- which Ridley Scott said partly inspired "Blade Runner."

The publisher's owner Fabrice Giger said superhero comics are "a first for us."

"Our logic was to approach (mass shootings) from another angle ... What can we say that hasn't already been said by others?"

The series, which had its US launch this summer and will be published monthly, has "the taste and look of American comic books but is something a little bit different."

"We started from the basis that Marvel, DC Comics and even smaller American publishers are all politically correct ... whereas we have always dealt freely with all subjects," said Giger from his Los Angeles office, where the company has operated since 1998.

Scriptwriter Waid agreed that "because American comics are corporate owned, they have to cater to all political stripes.

"We're a smaller company. We can afford to make some waves," said Waid, who is director of creative development at Humanoids, the US branch of Humanoids Associates.

"It's a timely book because, clearly, it's about the madness that's happening here in America."

Could a project like "Ignited" have been created at Marvel or DC?

"Not a chance -- not to this degree. We would have had to dress it up as 'both sides are OK.' No, listen, both sides are not OK. This is ridiculous," Waid said.

His co-writer Osajyefo also started at Marvel and DC, but had to turn to crowd-funding to publish his controversial series "Black."

The critically acclaimed work imagines a world in which only black people develop superpowers -- which the authorities seek to stifle by all means.

'Speak up'
"Ignited" is drawn by Philippe Briones, a French comic book virtuoso who worked for a decade at Disney.

Briones applauded the "courageous" decision to tackle a subject as political -- and taboo -- as shootings in the United States.

"Living in Los Angeles, I see how important it is here," he said, comparing it to the idea of writing comic book stories about the Bataclan terror attacks back in France.

"That would be really tricky, personally I wouldn't want to deal with this kind of subject," he said.

"The most important thing is for people to speak up, and comics is a good way," Briones added.

© Agence France-Presse

Today's News

October 20, 2019

Egypt unveils trove of ancient coffins excavated in Luxor

Elizabeth Taylor's personal treasures set for auction block

Keith Haring mural cut out of New York stairwell heads to auction

Ed Clark, pioneering Abstract Expressionist painter, dies at 93

A passion for drawing: The Albertina Museum exhibits drawings from the Guerlain Collection

The Phillips Collection features projections and sculptural portraits by the Los Carpinteros collective

Christie's announces highlights included in its Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art auction in London

Marc-Arthur Kohn to sell the interior of a castle whose decor was designed in the 1950-60s by Erté

Phillips to offer Norman Rockwell's 'Before the Shot' on 14 November

US-French comic book tackles mass shootings with superheroes

National Gallery of Australia launches new learning gallery and studio

Two solo exhibitions of new work by Vik Muniz on view at Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

Art Deco & Beyond: A celebration of 20th century jewellery at Sotheby's Geneva this November

A Louis XV silver tureen to lead Sotheby's October Auctions of Furniture & Decorative Arts in New York

Exhibition celebrates twenty-fifth anniversary of Fundación Botín's Visual Arts Grants

'Anila Quayyum Agha: Between Light and Shadow' transforms Toledo Museum of Art galleries

$4 U.S. coin worth $200,000 to be auctioned

Beaverbrook Art Gallery highlights contemporary Atlantic art in exhibition

Perrotin opens an exhibition of works by Takashi Murakami

Exhibition examines successive generations of African American artists

Dallas Museum of Art premieres new works by Wanda Koop and Sandra Cinto

Nobel Committee member defends Handke pick

Uruguay's national ballet stretches to new artistic heights

Ballet Philippines battles Disney, typhoons and poverty to endure

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful