Charity Digital – Themes – Charity uses comics to tell its story


In 2022, health charity Re-live announced that it was launching a comic book series called Coming Home to highlight the mental health issues faced by veterans.

This innovative way for the charity to raise awareness of the challenges faced by the military is based on their lived stories. The project also involves an array of notable comic book artists and distributors.

While social media, video content and podcasting have been staple weapons in the marketing arsenal of charities for several years, it’s worth noting that Re-Live is turning to a medium that’s over 150 years old to tell their stories.

Here we take a look at Re-Live’s innovative use of comics. We also explore how the continued popularity of comic books can provide charities with an exciting way to tell their stories.

Additionally, we look to history to show the strong collaboration that has already taken place over the years between good causes and comic book artists and writers.

Go home

Wales-based charity Re-Live has teamed up with Diamond Comic Distributors, one of the UK’s largest comic book distributors, to publish a series of comics detailing the challenges faced by military veterans.

Called Coming Home, each issue is published in the UK for £5 and in the US for $5.99 in 2022.

The comic’s traumatic stories were adapted from the charity’s group of veterans’ real-life experiences “to develop their own narrative and work with a professional cartoonist to bring it to life as a finished story,” says Re-Live. .

Others involved include Supergirl artist Emma Viecheli. It also features covers painted by the late Ian Kennedy shortly before the comic book veteran died this year. His credits include notable UK comics including Dan Dare, Commando and 2000AD.

Positive Pathways, Cardiff University and the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust are also involved in this project to use comics to raise awareness for a good cause.

The enduring appeal of comics

Re-Live is arguably right to turn to the ongoing lure of comic books to tell their stories. The medium began in the 19th century in newspaper comics. It was through them in the 20th century that many still popular characters, such as the Belgian detective Tin Tin, were introduced to readers.

During the 1930s, comics kicked into high gear with publisher DC’s creation of superheroes such as Batman and Superman.

In 30 years, comic book publisher Marvel has taken the medium even further. Through its editor, Stan Lee, it created a series of exciting new heroes, such as the X-Men and Spiderman, who also addressed everyday social issues such as discrimination, bereavement and poverty. .

Such socially conscious stories go some way to explaining these characters’ continued relevance to people and show how comics can be a natural fit for charities and the messages they seek to convey.

The comic also offers wide appeal for all ages, with graphic novels developing from the 1970s. Modern comic series in recent years feature a range of real-life stories and characters, including patients with cancer, not just superheroes in tights and capes.

The latest estimates suggest the global comics market could be worth up to £11 billion by 2028. This market includes digitization, giving readers new ways to enjoy comics. For example, Marvel’s Marvel Unlimited online platform has over 30,000 comics online.

Comics and good causes

Comics have long dealt with social issues. Spiderman’s alter ego, Peter Parker, endured poverty and bullying at school as well as bereavement.

Meanwhile, the X-men, a group of so-called mutants born with special powers, faced discrimination and harassment in the 1960s as they held up a mirror to the emerging civil rights movement in the United States. United.

Over the years, comics have also become more formally associated with charities and activists.

One of the most famous is when Superman took part in an anti-smoking campaign, where in the early 1980s he fought The Evil Nick-O-Teen “the health hijacker and the enemies of the form”.

This was paid for by the UK government’s Health Education Council and designed by advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi and featured in comic books as well as television advertising campaigns.

Another was Marvel’s 1985 Heroes for Hope comic featuring the X-Men to raise awareness for famine relief in Ethiopia. Proceeds from the sale of the comic went to the work of the American Friends Services Committee to alleviate hunger in the area. The initiative has raised £130,000 for this cause.

The artists involved included some of the biggest names in comics at the time, such as Frank Miller and John Byrne. Elsewhere, Stephen King, George RR Martin and Stan Lee were among the notable writers and comic book writers involved in crafting its famine-themed plot.


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