The Amazing Story of Health

Comic, Heroes and Health
 
Heroes of the real world

The Amazing Story of Health

Last weekend, I went to the Phoenix Comicon. Thousands of people of all ages were gathered to celebrate the culture of comics. I saw people dressed as aliens, as explorers, as preachers, I saw entire cities built from Legos. It was as though a Universe had sprouted up in the middle of the city, and I marveled at the ability of comics to become such a large part of people’s lives.

Stories that Change Lives

On the surface, comics are purely about entertainment. The narratives contained within the stories, however, go much deeper than that. Characters like Superman and the X-Men become cultural icons. Their stories inform us about some part of our own, and as a result we connect with the story on a personal level. When I saw Batman walking through the hallways of the Phoenix Convention Center, I knew the reason he was there was because his story of justice resonates with each of us. The ability of a character to connect with a reader is the true power of a narrative. With our readers, when we present a character who is living with an illness, we are using narrative to connect with them as well. The characters are often sad, sick, frightened and lost. They may have access to all the information they need to manage their medical conditions, but no way of understanding it, no way of relating to it and integrating it into their lives. But the characters find hope in friends, loved ones and doctors, and we want our readers to feel that same hope. We want them to feel like they, too, can live with their illnesses and be happy.

Why Stories Matter

Health literacy is the key to helping people live with their illnesses, understand their doctor’s instructions and feel like they have control over their lives. A narrative is a powerful tool for giving health literacy to people who would not be able to understand the warnings, dosing instructions and other information contained on the back of a pill bottle. Our readers are not in the classroom–they are living in the real world, facing challenges daily, and they need to feel like the information they are receiving is relevant to them. It has to mean something to them! And that takes a story.

Comicon shows how the power of narrative can create a real, tangible Universe within the confines of our world. Our comics use that same force of storytelling to help give people knowledge and the ability to understand and live with their conditions. Batman may make a child want to grow up to be a cop, but at Storynamics, we can help a child who has a debilitating illness, who is living with bullying, or any number of dangers underserved populations face, to grow up happy, strong and healthy.

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