❉ Re-Live’s first anthology comic, ‘Coming Home’, hits stores Wednesday 16th November alongside a dedicated exhibition.
After positive responses at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival and Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival over the last month, Re-Live’s first anthology comic, Coming Home, about the mental health experiences of military veterans will arrive in stores this Wednesday November 16. To celebrate the release, there will be an exhibition of original artwork from Coming Home at The Panel Gallery in Northampton, from Saturday 19th November- Wednesday 7th December (opening hours Tuesday to Saturday 11am-4pm).
Based in Cardiff, Wales, Re-Live is an award-winning Arts in Health charity providing a dynamic, inspirational programme of Life Story creativity; working alongside under-represented communities, supporting them to share their experiences, so that audiences young and old can witness the untold stories of our time. The creative process takes people on a transformative journey and places their story centre stage. This process can be thrilling, cathartic and life-changing. Re-Live has worked creatively with military veterans with post-traumatic stress and complex mental health issues, older people, people living with dementia, and people diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Among the incredible British comics talent involved in the project is the legendary Ian Kennedy, whose previous work includes 1300+ painted covers for Commando comic. Ian’s wraparound cover painting for Coming Home was the last work he completed before passing away aged 89 in February 2022.
Re-Live have commissioned a limited edition archival print which is available from their website www.re-live.org.uk with all proceeds supporting them to continue making comics with veterans.
“It was such a thrill to have a legend like Ian agree to paint our cover. He worked collaboratively with our veterans to create something that depicts the realities for ex-service people living with mental health challenges. The fact it was the last painting on his art table when he died is truly humbling and very poignant,” says Re-Live’s comics editor Steve Sullivan.
Steve Sullivan has been a filmmaker for the last 25 years. His latest film, Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story, a feature length documentary about the comedian Frank Sidebottom and his mysterious creator, Chris Sievey, received a national cinema release in 2019. Coming Home is the first comic he’s edited.
Also working with veterans on the title are a host of classic and contemporary British cartoonists, including Emma Vieceli (Life Is Strange, Breaks), Mike Donaldson (The Dandy, The Broons), Keith Page (Commando) and Clark Bint (Heavy Metal). Comic letterer and logo designer Richard Starkings (Comicraft) created the Coming Home logo.
The impact on the veterans themselves of sharing their mental health stories through a comic has proved a positive process:
“Seeing my story in Coming Home has been such a proud and therapeutic moment for me. I now feel strong enough to encourage other women to share their experiences and reach out for support” Claire, veteran participant.
“To make the comic, I had to confront a story I had kept hidden for 48 years. Previously I had twice tried clinical exposure therapy, which caused me considerable negative effects. Re-Live’s Life Story process doesn’t attempt any formal therapy, yet being able to tell my story and see it illustrated has been a profoundly moving and healing experience” Stan, veteran participant.
“The process of creating Coming Home alongside military veterans has been a humbling and inspiring journey” adds Karin Diamond, Artistic Director of Re-Live. “We hope the comic contributes to the emerging field of military veterans using creative arts to support their mental health. Coming Home challenges mental health stigma and reminds us of our shared humanity.”
Karin Diamond has been Re-Live’s Artistic Director for 16 years, producing and directing numerous Life Story theatre productions with military veterans, older people, people living with dementia, and people with a terminal diagnosis. You can find out more about their work at www.re-live.org.uk
The reaction amongst the comics world to Coming Home has been favourable. Garth Ennis, writer of acclaimed comics series The Boys and Punisher, feels Coming Home shares “important stories from voices we hear too little of. It would be nice to think that these men and women, who have spent so long with only themselves to rely on, could get the support they need from the nation they served. Hopefully Coming Home will help raise awareness of their plight.”
❉ Coming Home’s retail release is on Wednesday 16th November and will be available via all good comic stores internationally, including UK, USA, Australia. It will also be available to purchase digitally via Comixology on Amazon, and can be ordered directly from Re-Live (along with the limited edition Ian Kennedy print) at www.re-live.org.uk/cominghomecomic
❉ News source: Chris J. Thompson (Freelance PR + Marketing)
❉ We Are Cult is not responsible for the content of this news release.
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