Travelers Insurance creates a new comic book hero based on a young Navajo boy who was tragically killed in a distracted driving accident.
Zaadii: The Legend of Z-Hawk is a free online comic book produced by Travelers Insurance to raise awareness about distracted driving. While distracted driving is most often associated with cellphone use, almost any activity can result in dangerous driving conditions if performed while operating a motor vehicle. This includes innocuous actions like turning up the radio or interacting with a navigation system. But Zaadii: The Legend of Z-Hawk is more than just an illustrated public service announcement. The lead character is based on a real-life boy whose life was cut tragically short by distracted driving.
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Zaaditozhon Tso, Zaadii for short, was born in Flagstaff, Arizona on November 11, 2011. Zaadii’s father was Navajo so his mother, Rachel Cox, delivered her son at a reservation hospital. Almost immediately, Zaadii developed a passion for comic book crime fighters. Batman was his favorite. His parents bought him a Batman costume that he refused to take off, even in the bathtub. At three years old, Zaadii already believed himself to be a superhero. Tragically, Zaadii was struck by a car in 2015 while crossing the street with his mother and passed away from his injuries. Zaadii was a victim of distracted driving.
Zaadii: The Legend of Z-Hawk tells the story of Zaadii Tohzon, aka Z-Hawk, a Navajo environmental lawyer who battles ecological injustice by day and super-villains by night. Like all good superheroes, Z-Hawk is a master tactician and skilled combatant. He also deploys an arsenal of useful gadgets including an infra-red helmet, retractable hawk-like claws, and the sleek “Z-Runner” electric car. When a terrorist named The Decimator kidnaps Z’s girlfriend and straps her to the side of a dynamited dam, Z-Hawk must defuse the bomb and subdue the villain before the valley and his love life are sunk.
Upon hearing of her son’s tragic passing, Travelers Insurance reached out to Rachel Cox about sharing his story. Rachel assumed that this meant pamphlets or television commercials. It wasn’t until Traveler’s suggested a comic book adaptation that Rachel realized Zaadii’s dream of being a superhero was going to come true. Comic book writer Gail Simone, acclaimed for her work on Birds of Prey, penned the inspirational story, while J. Calafiore and Mark Dos Santos provided the art. Zaadii’s Navajo family was consulted to ensure his heritage was faithfully and accurately represented.
Z-Hawk is part Batman and part Daredevil but still manages to feel like a wholly unique character. The dangers of distracted driving could be further disseminated if the property were picked up by a major publisher. Z-Hawk could hypothetically fit right in with the Justice League or Avengers. At the very least, Travelers Insurance should produce future issues of Zaadii: The Legend of Z-Hawk and continue Zaadii’s legacy.
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