HOWTOONS: [RE] IGNITION Fires Up Children's Imaginations

January 5, 2015

Graphic novel teaches STEAM skills through story

HOWTOONS, the comic that taps into kids’ imagination and curiosity with DIY science projects, is back with HOWTOONS: [RE] IGNITION. In this February graphic novel from Image Comics, Celine and Tucker are siblings who wake up in the far future, where energy is scarce and their parents are missing! They explore a strange new Earth using their gadgeteering skills to create projects and experiments to survive hostile tribes and bizarre mechanized threats — projects and experiments kids and parents can make themselves at home, and learn basic energy literacy at the same time!

Created by MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow Dr. Saul Griffith and Eisner-Award-nominated comic book artist Nick Dragotta, HOWTOONS celebrated its 10th anniversary with TOOLS OF MASS CONSTRUCTION in July 2014. RE [IGNITION] uses the HOWTOONS model — incorporating fun science projects into stories — in a post-apocalyptic adventure story written by Fred Van Lente (Action Philosophers, Archer and Armstrong) with art by Tom Fowler (Quantum and Woody) and Eisner-winning colorist Jordie Bellaire.

“I love making things, making comics. So it’s cool to be able to share that with kids and show them all these different disciplines,” said Dragotta in an interview at Multiversity Comics. “Hopefully we can provide an entertaining story first, that will motivate them to build the projects in the book. Maybe learn something through play.”

In HOWTOONS there is something to interest every kid who picks it up, Dragotta explained, whether they’re into art, stories, design, or engineering. “If the book serves as any kind of primer to opening a reader up to something new, I’m all for it,” he said.

Van Lente praised his artistic collaborators in the same interview. “Tom has such great dynamism and expressiveness to his figures,” he said. “he’s really perfect to work on a kids-oriented project that needs to be full of energy — no pun intended — and he and Jordie have done so many projects together they’re kind of mind-melded. It’s mildly frightening.”

Melding science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM), HOWTOONS: RE [IGNITION], is perfect for kids from ages 8 to 12 and a must-have graphic novel for every classroom. It will be in comic book stores on February 25 and in bookstores on March 10. Specially priced at $9.99, HOWTOONS: [RE]: IGNITION is available for pre-order now.

HOWTOONS: [RE] IGNITION, Volume 1 by Fred Van Lente, Tom Fowler, and Jordie Bellaire

  • ISBN 978-1-63215-056-1
  • Diamond Comic order code DEC140668
  • 160 pages, paperback, color
  • $9.99
  • Collects HOWTOONS: [RE] IGNITION #1-5
  • In comic book stores February 25, bookstores March 10
  • Retailers, librarians, and reviewers may request a PDF galley from Jennifer de Guzman, Director of Trade Book Sales,


“’ll definitely want to introduce [HOWTOONS] to the young people in your life. It’s got enough imagination and action to carry itself, but the projects are the irresistible cherry on top. Maybe, just maybe, it’ll help sneak more physical comic books into the hands, hearts, and minds of kids again.” -Vince Ostrowski, Multiversity Comics

“The rare unicorn on today's comic rack, Howtoons [Re]Ignition #1 is completely all-ages and truly delivers on every level, entertaining readers with a fun, loose story punctuated by how-to projects.” -Doug Zawisza, Comic Book Resources

“The mission of Howtoons: [Re]ignition is to educate and engage kids in the science knowledge necessary for them to function within and positively impact the world they will inherit. It does a fabulous job.” -Andrea Sefler, Pop Mythology

“If you have young children of your own, or are just a kid at heart, go out and pick up a copy of this very different, very ingenious, very awesome comic book.” -Outright Geekery


“Nick Dragotta’s cartooning is every bit as imaginative as the projects offered, bringing a larger-than-life comic-book sensibility and sense of adventure to these wisecracking siblings’ investigations and tinkering. Packed with ideas and creative fodder for DIY-minded kids. All ages.” -Publishers Weekly

“The comics in Howtoons focus on safety, recycling, and, most important, fun. The bright, somewhat chaotic artwork is designed to capture a kid’s attention and imagination. The projects are not laid out in a staid, step-by-step manner, and several of them will require extra thought or adult assistance, but the variety is hard to beat, as the creators cover art, math, engineering, science, and more…. This is a great addition to STEM collections, maker spaces, and elementary- through middle-school graphic-novel collections.” -Booklist

“From the Rola Bola Balance Board to Shake Ice Cream, so many of the projects are so well placed at the intersection of interesting + cheap-and-easy materials + happily challenging.” -Michelle Hbulinka, Make: Magazine

“I hope this book finds its way into every household and classroom, because this is the sort of handbook that could kickstart a young scientific mind and launch kids to bigger and better creations.” -Glen Dallas, San Francisco Book Review