Alumnus Creates Black Superheroes Comics Book

News Date
Xounn pic

By Hazel Scott/ASU

By day, he’s a CEO; by night, he’s a writer/illustrator and creator of superheroes.  Julian Herring (’98), the founder and CEO of FLARENOVA Studios, is all about promoting education and literacy through comics.

Julian herringMore than 10 years in the making, his new comic series is called “Xounn“ (pronounced “Zound”): Children of Muse.” This unique universe combines sci-fi grand adventure with the kinetic energy of song, dance, and martial arts to take readers on the journey of three reluctant teenagers (Ramzeses, Zabrina and Kenzo) traded at birth as emissaries of a peace treaty, who must now abandon their stations at the risk of starting another war to stop an ancient evil goddess intent on destroying all three nations (the Singing Nation, the Instrument Nation and the Dance Nation).

“‘Xounn’” is a lot like ‘Star Wars.’  It doesn’t take place in today’s world or culture. It is an exciting tale that takes place in a fantasy world, paying homage to 20th-century African Diaspora’s global musical and performing arts contributions,” Herring said. “It’s a graphical love letter to Jazz, Blues, Hip-Hop, Gospel, Afro-Latin Beats...African Tribal Dance, Tap, Breaking…and so much more…It’s a diverse story, a relatable story…There is such a big hunger for Black superheroes.”

The Atlanta, Georgia, native noted the comic series, geared to a diverse audience of 13 and up, takes all that musical heritage and transports it to another universe where the rules are a little different.

“One of the key rules is the title of the comics. Xounn is this energy, this element in the universe that humans can all access. It is all music related.  The three teenagers can tap into Xounn and use Xounn to perform incredible feats,” Herring pointed out. “That’s the crux of what Xounn is.”

The comic series, Herring said, is family oriented. “It’s about relationships and forgiveness. It’s about blended families, people who find themselves in adoptive situations where you have these stepparents. It’s about people who have a bad situation with their birth parents,” he said. “It’s about the rhythm of families.”

The 28-page, six-part series comic book is self-published under the FLARENOVA imprint. It was created after the process of generating an animated short series “that we hope to have out next year.”

Herring said “Xounn” is now being sold at several HBCU bookstores, including ASU, Spelman, Clark Atlanta, Morehouse and Howard. “By the time the second quarter wraps up, I hope to be in 10 HBCUs.”