A new cast of superheroes is being developed for the big screen! HBCU Superheroes is a Trenton-based comic series being pitched to Hollywood to become a major motion film and television series. What started as a vision from HBCU grad Maurice Mander has rapidly transformed into a media sensation. Mander has transitioned from comics to animation with a dynamic team of industry professionals, including Raynal “Shaka” Harris of Harris and Smith Architect Firm, Ronald Sullivan, a Harvard Law Professor, and Adisa Iwa, a Film Professor at Spelman College.

As the HBCU Superheroes universe takes the entertainment world by storm, they need the community’s help spreading the word. With excitement building here and around the country, your participation and enthusiasm let production companies and other leaders in the entertainment industry know this is what you want to see on your screens. You can help spread the word by watching the video linked below, liking it, and sharing it on social media with the hashtag #HBCUSuperheroes. With just a few clicks of a button, you can play an integral part in shaping the future of this innovative series.

Per the HBCU Superheroes website, “HBCU Superheroes tells the story of superheroes who matriculated on various Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) campuses with powers that cannot be mistaken or overlooked poised to save the world from itself. Isaiah, a 21-year-old, Morehouse-educated high school teacher, awakens to learn he has acquired superpowers. Within days, his siblings reveal they have special abilities, too. As they assume secret identities to unleash their skills to fight crime, they become the targets of criminals and hidden terrors in their city.”

Isaiah Kemet, a featured character in HBCU Superheroes

Discussing representing Trenton, Mander noted, “I think too often what’s focused on in regards to Trenton is the crime and the negative aspects of the city, when in fact that’s just a very small percentage. The majority of people in Trenton aren’t criminals; it’s just that criminals get all the limelight because they have the most nefarious behavior. So I’m trying to push people to know we can do wonderful things coming out of this city.”

Mander, a graduate of both Trenton Central High School and Morehouse College, seeks to leverage his success to pour back into the education of youth right here in Trenton. Since founding HBCU Superheroes, the team has utilized its platform to provide Trenton’s students with resources, enrichment, and support. From outfitting our community’s young students in HBCU Superhero gear to offering high school students the opportunity to network and learn from industry professionals, there is no shortage of commitment to our community’s young people. As a former student and success story of Trenton Central High School, Mander, and his partners have taken it upon themselves to ensure that the next generation of Trenton students have access to the resources necessary to thrive.

When asked what his ultimate goal for the future was, Mander replied, “I want this project to allow me to return home and to be able to write a check big enough to send children to college for free.” From the rollout of the series to the very theme of the project, education has remained a central motivator in the growth and development of the HBCU Superheroes universe. This series exemplifies Mander’s legacy as a true testament to the benefits that can be reaped through a hands-on, enriching education.

If you pay close attention to the background of HBCU Superheroes, you might take note of some familiar sites. While the animation was being developed, Mander and his team felt it was crucial to include Trenton’s authentic sites and sounds. From the halls of Trenton Central High School to iconic spots like Walt’s Barber Shop, this true-to-life interpretation shines Trenton in a brand new light. In addition to background locations, Mander, and his time, you also made it a point to incorporate Trenton-based brands and businesses in apparel. Be vigilant because you might see some TCHS swag or Frugal But Fly apparel donned by your favorite heroes and villains.

Left to right: Raheem Mander, Adisa Iwa, Raynal Harris; Center: Ronald Sullivan

Discussing the choice to make this series authentically Trenton-based, Mander noted, “I went to people with clothing ideas in Trenton, and I asked them if they would like us to highlight their clothing in our product, and they said yes. My whole deal is each one helps us. I don’t get anything from this promotion – for example, Walt’s Barbershop is there free of charge – because Walt is an asset to the community. Once this blows up, his barbershop will become a landmark to anybody coming to Trenton and will drive more business to him.”

When asked if he had any words of encouragement for up-and-coming Trenton creatives, Mander noted, “You have to do your research. I never wrote a comic book before in my life – when I started with my first comic book, I just spent hours researching how to put a comic book together. I can’t draw, so I found talented artists and put my first comic book together.” And this hard work would not go unnoticed – upon writing his very first script, Mander was offered a movie deal. However, rather than accepting the first offer that came his way, Mander boldly chose to keep developing the franchise. This would be the right decision, as time would prove, as the HBCU Superheroes universe is now valued as a billion-dollar IP, according to toy executives who have expressed interest in the HBCU Superheroes franchise.

The future for HBCU Superheroes is looking bright. With the team in talks with some of the world’s leading production companies, it’s only a matter of time before you see these characters lighting up the biggest screens in entertainment. However, it won’t be possible without your help. With just a like, share, and comment, you can play a part in putting Trenton on the map.

If you’d like to read more about the world of HBCU Superheroes, please visit their website, linked here: HBCU Superheroes. You can also keep up with the latest news by following HBCU Superheroes on YouTube. There’s no doubt we’ll be seeing much more of the HBCU Superheroes in the months and years to come, and now is your chance to play your part in shaping its legacy. Don’t forget to share!

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