Maurice Mander is the founder of HBCU Superheroes, “a genre-bending epic detailing the struggle of a new breed of heroes faced with a universe-shattering threat. This new breed of heroes distinguishes themselves by being graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).”  As part of his mission, Mander is holding an event to help a local gunshot victim get around Trenton easier. 

A Superhero Among Us: Maurice R. Mander and the Rise of HBCU Superheroes in Trenton

“The event seeks to raise money for gunshot victim Rodney Jenkins of Trenton, NJ. Mr. Jenkins was paralyzed as a result of being shot during a robbery and currently needs a handicap accessible van,” said Mander, who explained that Jenkins was shot in 1995 during a robbery that left him in a wheelchair. Jenkins is now in need of a handicap-accessible van to maneuver around the city. “I told him, I said…give me 60 days to organize a drive and put something together. My company will get you your van,” Mander said. 

Mander noted that it would be the only event featuring his characters this year. “So I was scheduled actually to go on an HBCU college tour with HBCU superheroes. And we have subsequently put that on the back burner because college and universities have canceled homecomings. So the only thing I’m going to do for 2021 is a Comic-Con and Art Gallery in Trenton, New Jersey, to raise money to help us to acquire his handicap-accessible van,” Mander said. 

This isn’t the first time Manders has reached out to help people in the community. He has done charity events across Trenton and has donated over $30,000 to youth education and essential needs. Mander’s pride and joy is the creation of HBCU Superheros. “I am 100% committed to providing visual energy. The children, especially children of color in the community, help promote education and positive education to develop self-esteem,” Manders said. 

The HBCU superheroes include diversity across the race spectrum. “So (there are) HBCU superheroes that consists of Black superheroes, I have Caucasian, I have Asian, and so we are providing balance where the good and evil is equally distributed across the spectrum where you can see people doing something productive, and people who are suffering negative, and the color isn’t associated with either one.” 

In about three weeks, Manders explains that he is set to debut a proof of concept to show the world what he has created. Manders plans to sit down with an animation studio across the country to pitch his comics as a feature-length movie. “We’re going to debut, what’s known as a proof of concept, which we show the world what we’ve done with the project ourselves as we begin to sit down and talk to interested parties,” Manders said.

This is event will be on October 2, 2021 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Tracy’s Kitchen located at 241 E Front Street in Trenton, NJ. The event will feature distinguished writers within the comic and entertainment industry like Adisa Iwa, a screenwriter from NYPD Blue and Law and Order Special Victims Unit; Nicole Martian and Noxi, The Priestess of Darkness; and Jahleel Johnson, the actor who will play E-Dog in an upcoming movie. They will be able to sign autographs and answer questions.

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