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My City: Heroes of the World

This past Tuesday, September 7th, I met with some of the minds behind “Heroes of the World,” (I.E. Mark Williams, Joe Osei Bonsu, and Shawn Cuffie). For the un-endowed “HotW” is a Toronto based superhero comic, clothing line, and brand name. It is a testament to this city that though we are diversified our beauty is found in unity.

The venture started when these friends endeavored to make their own comic book. After a few failed attempts they penciled their hero Oreh Gaia. Initially just a story about this powerful boy and his flag wearing friends, it soon turned into a colorful t-shirt line with ambitious aims. Having seen some of its growth first hand I took it upon myself to learn some more and take you along for the journey.

1.) What makes “HotW” so unique is its passion for patriotism. How did you come up with this marriage of super-heroism and multiculturalism?

Mark: Myself, [and the guys] realized that our love for entertainment, (i.e. comics, videogames, anime…) could be expressed using geography in a Wikipedia like format.

Joe: Like Mark said we found a way of sharing knowledge via our brand, “Heroes of the World.” By combining a focus on patriotism with our comic book we are able to reach out to more people. From kids to soccer moms, everyone has a reason to pick up the book.

2.) Like other mythical tales your comic is loaded with many unique characters and terms. Could you briefly explain the following (Atomisk; General U; UNI.T.E.; and F.I.S.T.).

Joe: Atomisk was a character our friend Aaron came up with. Basically he is the overseer of the universe. “UNI.T.E.” stands for “UNIfied Taskforce Elite”, and they are a group of scientists and superheroes who work to ‘unite’ the world as one. “General U” was one of the original members of UNI.T.E.

Mark: There were 5 original Generals ( H, E, R, O, and U… which stand for H.E.R.O’s Unite!). They were the very first heroes who united to fight F.I.S.T. FIST stands for “Fraternity of Insidious Soldiers of Terror.”  They are the source of all that is negative in the world.

3.) Your lead character, Oreh, at times is just a simple boy. Then suddenly he is a conduit of unspeakable power. Yet, what makes him intriguing to me is his indomitable will. What makes Oreh great in your eyes?

Joe: What I love about Oreh Gaia is that he is a 12 year old boy with a vast amount of power; and having discovered this power he is honest enough to struggle over what he should do with it.

Mark: I love his evolution. The fact that he is trying to understand what it means to be a hero. He wants to learn everything and use that knowledge as power.

4.) One of the most impressive aspects of “HotW is its advertising campaign; how did you come with the concept of partnering the comic book with a clothing line?

Mark: First Joe made posters that we sold at Caribana (a few years back). After the success of the posters people requested we make t-shirts. Really, the idea came from the fans. People wanted t-shirts so we gave them t-shirts.

5.) The latest issue helped shed light on the mystery that is the “Earth Conduit”. What do fans have to forward to in the near future?

Joe: A lot of surprises! With the comic book, one thing I’ll spoil is for the next issue is the fact you’ll get to see our central villain in action! Oreh Gaia and the F.I.S.T.’s evil mastermind will be facing off!!!

Having read the first two issues I am stoked about the above news!!! For all of you who want an issue of your own check out their shop/studio at 1610 Bloor St. W. For all of you interested in picking up a comical t-shirt of your nation’s flag, or even your zodiac sign, be sure to check out their website or Facebook Group.

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