Waid and Cassaday Launch Humanoids' H1 Superhero Universe
Apr 07, 2019
This June, the folks at Humanoids — the publisher best know for presenting the best in fantasy and science fiction graphic novels from some of Europe’s greatest creators — launches their “H1” superhero universe with the help of mainstream comics great and New York Times bestselling author, writer Mark Waid (Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Daredevil), and internationally-renowned artist, John Cassaday (Astonishing X-Men, Planetary, I Am Legion).
The H1 Universe begins with the flagship title, Ignited (APR191783). And we can expect more series to debut in the months to come!
PREVIEWSworld spoke with Mark and John about the new universe and series, and where things go from here…
PREVIEWSworld: What was the appeal of taking on this project at Humanoids?
Mark Waid: I was drawn to the human aspect. Superhero comics have been very, very good to me, but it's refreshing to take on, as I did with Archie, a project that's more grounded, more human. With corporate-owned superheroes, there are (obviously and justifiably) limits to how sociopolitical you can be, how much you can use your work to speak directly to the issues in this world that are immediately relevant — but those limits don't exist here.
John Cassaday: To be in the mix with an incredibly talented pool of creators looking to say something about the modern world of comics and the idea of heroes, in general. You’ll recognize some traditional comic hero staples, but around the corner will be a jolt of the unexpected.
PREVIEWSworld: Has working on this line fulfilled anything on your professional bucket list?
Mark Waid: It's always a joy to be collaborating or working with creators who don't match my demographic. Writers and artists who have a different worldview than I do are invaluable and keep me honest. It's long been an ambition to find some collaborative space where I'm the only white American male in the room so I can listen more than I talk — how else can I learn and keep leveling up?
John Cassaday: Like most comic artists, I’m accustomed to being a bit of a one-man-show, so the interaction on a regular basis with the various departments and talent at Humanoids has been a fun break from the norm!
PREVIEWSworld: How has working with Humanoids been unique from the work that you’ve done previously?
John Cassaday: Where with other projects I’m usually handling the art responsibilities, with the H1 line, I’m a consultant. I’m here to lend an eye, an ear and a voice when they need my two cents.
Mark Waid: Despite the number of publishers I've worked with — including my own, Thrillbent.com — this is my first deep exposure to the international market, and it's fascinating. It's not just a whole new pool of creators who are available to work with, it's a fuller understanding of how to create comics that have an international appeal, not something I've ever really had in the forefront of my mind before.
PREVIEWSworld: While it must have been a blast to work with a clean slate like this, what were some of the challenges you faced in the creative process for this brand-new line?
Mark Waid: Honestly? Finding writers and artists who aren't already under exclusive contracts somewhere (we aim high here!). But more than that, in finding creative people who understand the medium and can make people in street clothes look every bit as exciting and dynamic as people in capes and tights. Fortunately, we've turned up some really talented folks who fill me with confidence and whose work will be a breath of fresh air in the market. Some of them have familiar names, others are fresh faces, but all of them understand storytelling, which is my number one concern.
John Cassaday: The H1 Bible was something that had been in the works for a while, so I had to immerse myself into what had already been developed by the three architects of the line — Yanick Paquette, Carla Speed McNeil and Kwanza Osajyefo.
PREVIEWSworld: What inspiration did you draw on for these new books?
John Cassaday: While that’s a better question for the architects and Mark, inspiration isn’t hard to find when you’re bombarded with our news cycles today. I think when you read them, you’ll quickly come to see just how present-day the stories are, and recognize some of the real-life ugliness and bravery that can come along with it.
Mark Waid: With Ignited, the pitch given to me was, "What if a group of school shooting survivors had superpowers? What actions would they take to transform society?" That was a ridiculously compelling question to me. Look at what David Hogg and his friends have accomplished already in such a short time, the conversations they've sparked, with only the resources of a bunch of teenagers. How would their passion manifest if they had even greater resources?
PREVIEWSworld: What are you most excited for readers to discover in this new line?
Mark Waid: The voices of some of the most talented contemporary writers and artists I've ever had the pleasure to work alongside.
John Cassaday: The diverse cast of characters as well as creators.
PREVIEWSworld: What is a personal favorite aspect of these brand-new books that you’re hyped about?
Mark Waid: The character designs. Remember, the H1 Bible was assembled not by me but by Yanick Paquette, Carla Speed McNeil, and Kwanza Osajyefo, folks with a very strong sense of design and a very personal view of what heroism is.
John Cassaday: The accessibility of the line. You need to know nothing to just jump in, buckle-up and enjoy!
PREVIEWSworld: Are there any spoilers for the future of the H1 line that you can share?
Mark Waid: Nice try.
John Cassaday: It’s gets super dark when Thanos shows up...