HNHS student hoping to make difference with comic-strip flyers

Jaq Webb, of Huntington, a junior at Huntington North High School, holds the comic-strip style flyer he created providing several resources and suggestions for those interested in celebrating peace and taking care of the Earth’s environment. The flyer is available in both English and Spanish.
Jaq Webb, of Huntington, a junior at Huntington North High School, holds the comic-strip style flyer he created providing several resources and suggestions for those interested in celebrating peace and taking care of the Earth’s environment. The flyer is available in both English and Spanish. Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

A Huntington North High School student hopes he can use his art to influence people and help bring change to a world in which peace is at a premium.

Jaq Webb, a 17-year-old HNHS junior, has created a comic-strip style poster and flyer to educate and provide resources about the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, recycling, taking care of the environment and writing to representatives in Congress, among others. And Webb, who is a Spanish student, has created the infographic poster in both English and Spanish.

“It’s part of a series that I’m doing of projects that recognize the International Day of Peace, which is also recognized locally as the Huntington Day of Peace on Sept. 21,” he says. “It’s about the idea of raising the community to a consciousness of peace. …It calls attention to ways in which the community can be involved.”

Webb says in the past, several students, ministry leaders, pastors and concerned citizens were part of the local Day of Peace Committee.

However, with many people graduating and moving away, the committee disbanded – except for him. His self-described “super-passion” continued to motivate to make a difference in the world around him.

To that end, the black-and-white bilingual comic-style flyer features a character called “Fedora Fred,” whom Webb says is his alter ego. The flyer encourages people to take more ownership of the world around them and embrace peace as a multi-faceted concept.

“Holistic peace covers multiple different bases,” he explains. “It’s basically the idea that peace isn’t just like an end to war – it’s also environmental peace, and making peace with the environment that we have to operate in, so that would be like the community environment and the natural environment.”

A not-so-good environment can often be found in a microcosm such as high school, where Webb has often faced challenges. One of those is mental health, which has posed a personal challenge. Getting help for and overcoming those issues has also brought about peace, he says.
However, he adds there are many more young people his age who need to come to grips with some serious issues, noting there is a spike in the current generation of adolescents who are suffering from mental illnesses. Many of those youths feel alienated or ostracized by their peers, Webb says.

“It’s just this idea that at the school, suicide, violence at school, drug abuse – these things are very important, because I see it every day,” he says. “It’s near and dear to my heart because I want to help people to realize that their stories are worth being told, in the same way that I eventually got to tell mine.”

While the Huntington Walk for Peace is not happening this year, the annual Walk for Hope is taking place, on Saturday, Sept. 21, at the HNHS Fieldhouse. The event will begin with registration at 6:30 p.m. and the two-mile walk will start at 7 p.m. Webb will be a participant in that event, which is aimed at raising awareness and preventing suicide. He says that event dovetails with his mission to foster peace, including peace with one’s self.

“There is mental health and paying attention to our inner needs,” he says. “And there’s education, because that’s very important to develop an understanding of our past and equipping people for the future, as well as discussing current events, staying informed as citizens and bringing artists into the forum. … What we are participating in as part of the Walk for Hope is also part of building peace in the community.”

Webb wrote down his ideas and documented his personal struggles into an essay, which he plans to present to his English class. He also plans to post his essay online and hopes to have his comic-strip flyer available to the public at the Huntington City-Township Public Library. His Spanish class teacher is already distributing the flyer at HNHS, Webb adds.

Creating comics and educational resources – and a combination of the two – has been a passion of Webb’s since he was a young child. A drawing table occupies much of the space of his bedroom, from which spring his artistic creations. After he graduates high school, he plans to jump headlong into the comic book industry. He also plans to attend college and become an educational professional, becoming an art, history or writing teacher.

In the meantime, Webb plans to meld his superpowers together to change the world, for good.

“I’m hoping I can reach my peers in particular, since we’re the next generation,” he says. “It’s our job to take care of the earth afterwards. I’m personally pretty committed to the environment as well as peace. Both of those things are pretty important to me.”