The Department Of Ability comic; the superheroes' disabilities are their special powers

Illustrator, Dan White was influenced by his daughter, Emily who was born with spina bifida.

Emily, nine, uses a wheelchair but still has a very active life and full diary. She lives with her family in Fareham. Her father, Dan has created a comic called The Department of Ability, based on five disabled superheroes whose disabilities are actually their superpowers. And, at the centre of the drama, is Emily. The comic is being funded by Strongbones and the colourful characters stem from Dan’s love of sci-fi. Dan says: "We were blessed when Emily was born. "Like all the other kids in our circle of friends she is incredible and determined to seize life and shake it up.
"I looked for a disabled icon for her and found none – so I came up with my own. "They all have special powers and are united to fight evil and prejudice by using their disabilities as powers. "But, again and again, when I approached animation companies, TV networks and famous authors, I was told the characters wouldn’t work because they only represent a minority of society, they’re not mainstream. "But we believe the concept and the characters are universal.’ After receiving several knock-backs, Dan uploaded his superheroes to Facebook and the response was incredible. He now has fans all over the world and the charity Strongbones, which helps children with bone conditions, is publishing the comic at the beginning of next year. Emily's mum, Aimee says: "The comic is brilliant. "I’m so pleased that Dan is doing it because he loves it. He gives Emily the opportunity to join in too. There is another comic book in the pipeline for next year and the couple also run a website promoting children’s art work. Click here to find out more. Aimee, who is Emily’s full-time carer, taught herself how to build the website by watching YouTube videos. Any child, of any ability, can upload their artwork absolutely free – and fans have been buying it. Dan says: "It’s called Amazing Kids Art. Whether it’s animation, paint, pencil, clay, they can upload photos of it on to our site. At the end of 2014 Emily became very ill. She has a shunt implanted in her skull to drain away the water from her brain. Aimee says: "She was unwell for around a year before doctors realised the shunt was blocked and she underwent a major operation to repair it. "There were complications which meant she was poorly for longer. But the difference in her now that she is back to her usual self is amazing. "When she was ill she didn’t even want to go to basketball – which she loves. She is absolutely full of life again now." If you would like to order a comic book specifically aimed at childhood brain injury, click here.
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