When Our Place and Tyson and Lucy, the two comics for young people in care, went into circulation in January this year it was the culmination of an idea that started almost three years ago.
In 2006 a reference group of young people in care compiled a list of materials that would be useful to children and young people in care including the Being in Care booklet, backpacks, contact cards, Oog key rings and rub-on tattoos, the Oog soft toy and, most ambitious, a comic.
Richard Dall, artist for the comic project, was immediately impressed by the input from the reference group of young people in care who came together to guide the development of the comic.
‘We knew from the start that it would be important to involve the kids but it was only when we had our first meeting that I realised just how much we would rely on them for the stories and the issues.
‘You start out thinking in terms of your own childhood but when the reference group shared their stories you realise that their experiences of growing up were different in profound ways.’
The project started in mid-2007 with the idea of producing a single comic until things changed, as writer for the project Daniel Watson recalls.
‘We were pretty far down the track with one comic, checking to make sure we had got the language and the tone just right, when some frank feedback by a young man in care caused a major change of direction. With his comments we realised that we would need two comics to capture the range of experiences of kids in care.’
The Office revisited the project and the second comic was born.
Guardian Pam Simmons is grateful to the creative team and the adults who advised the Office and organised and supported the young people to participate and adds high praise to the young people themselves.
‘Their insights and the stories of difficulty and success which they shared so freely with us are the heart of the comics. The success of the comics is their success.’
You can order copies at the Requesting materials page of the website.