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Images from climate change comic The Renagades ;

Can comics help save the planet?

King's students have created a unique comic which they hope will motivate people to tackle climate change and navigate the moral dilemmas of taking direct action.

Captain America first appeared on the front of a comic in 1941 and his popularity peaked during World War Two as he stirred up patriotism and took on the enemies of the Allied Forces. Now, a new research project is underway by King's students looking at whether comics could have a similar impact on the climate emergency.

They hope the comics called The Renegades will inspire more people to get involved in tackling climate change and in turn put pressure on politicians to act.

The comic was developed by Jeremy Brown, Jonathan Hyde and Tom Hambley, who are studying on the MA course in Climate Change: History, Society and Culture, and Liberal Arts student Katy Jakeway, who created the illustrations and dialogue.

Mixing fiction and real life

In the first edition, called Fight or Flight, we see one of the main characters discovering a new monster called Methanaur under the permafrost of the Canadian Arctic.

The giant reptile, which has been asleep under the ice for millions of years, represents the real threat which scientists have raised around methane gas under the ice. If this is released as the planet heats up, this could accelerate warming at a much faster rate than currently.

In the comic the scientist takes her discovery back to a group of people who share her eco-anxiety about the planet. We then see them try to work out what they can do to make the world wake up to the threat it poses and they debate different tactics, including whether to use drones to ground planes.

The Renegades was launched at an event on The Cartoon Museum in London on 19 September.

To complete the comic book The Renegades are now on the lookout for a second artist. 

Artistic experience is required but not necessarily with comics or superheroes. Contact Jeremy Brown to find out more.

 

Through the comic we can mix fiction and real life, so people can look at the issues through the eyes of the characters, rather than just seeing it as a scientific issue. I hope to reach a broader section of society, beyond just eco activists and researchers. I want to show how art and fiction also can help us in the fight against climate change. – Jeremy Brown, MA student

Moral questions

Aimed at young adults, the comic takes the reader through various moral questions around direct action and explores the instinctive and different reactions people might have to a threat.

Jeremy, who is also a member of Extinction Rebellion, said the aim is to use the comics in focus groups to see how they affect people’s attitudes and understanding of the issues around climate change and he hopes to turn the project into the basis for a PhD thesis. There are also plans for a series designed for younger readers aged 10 to 18 in which they help to generate the ideas and storylines.

If you are interested in supporting the project you can do so via Patreon.


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