Background: Disney, Marvel and DC Comics have done much to embed their superhero creations in the public domain, through movies and art. Acquiring superpowers and learning to live differently can be associated with shock and bewilderment, whilst being viewed with suspicion, ignorance and misunderstanding by others. These issues can be extended to those who develop type 1 diabetes. These individuals often have to dispel myths and challenge ignorance from both public and healthcare professionals. Whilst there are resources available to help, it can be challenging to find appropriate educational materials that younger people with type 1 diabetes can easily relate to.

Aims: To develop a new type 1 diabetes resource for younger people.

Methods: Working with individuals living with type 1 diabetes, the project group took the current popularity of superheroes as inspiration. Based on real life experiences, ‘type 1: Origins’, the comic book, chronicles the early experiences of a young man developing type 1 diabetes and some of the challenges he faces.

Results: Since its launch in October 2016, this free to access online comic book has had over 7000 international downloads. There has been a positive response from people with diabetes, their parents and the wider public. Several key UK diabetes charities have also endorsed and championed its use as part of diabetes education. In October 2017, the comic won a UK nationally coveted ‘Diabetes: Quality in Care’ award as ‘Best Diabetes Collaboration initiative of the year’.

Discussion: The authors believe that this collaboration has produced the first diabetes educational resource of this kind. It has been centrally recognized by NHS England as an innovative way for raising the profile of type 1 diabetes. Following its successful launch, there are plans to translate the story into different languages. A sequel is in development, in which safety in hospitals around type 1 diabetes will be a theme. Comic link:


M.B. Patel: None. P. Kar: None. D.G. McLaughlin: None.

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