The Darwin Animal Doctors’ team recently attended the Denver Comic Con to spread the word about their Humane Education focused comic, “A Piggy’s Tale”. “A Piggy’s Tale” was originally created to bring the humane education and activism message to a not typically activist crowd, and has been showing up in Comic Cons around the U.S. ever since.
The comics where, once again, a great success with young and old, and the team sold out of boxes of novels and plush toys. With all money raised going to support the Humane Education and Veterinary support efforts of Darwin Animal Doctors, this support will make a difference to communities all around the world. One of the most heart-warming moments to see was when our team had children returning to the table after purchasing a comic at another Comic Con (some even from earlier that day!) who wanted to donate to Darwin Animal Doctors and help save the lives of animals, just like Piggy.
Another wonderful experience of the day, and an amazing chance for sharing and education, was when the team participated in two very lively humane education panels with amazing and inspirational panelists.
The first panel, “Tools of Adversity: Helping Students Find Themselves in the Comics Medium,” went beyond the classroom, as students spoke about how the current generation faces a lot of adversity and feels that their is not a fair representation of all people in pop-culture. One of the panelists, Mairghread Scott (https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3309878/), writes comics with the understanding that people can find themselves in comics – associating with different characters and their life events. Mairghread wrote Transformers Windblade, where she created the robot character, Starscream, as someone suffering abuse at the hands of a superior. Starscream developed a huge female following, helping those who have faced domestic violence process what they have faced. The panel discussed further how various others, especially children, can use comics to help them process adversities which they face. Interestingly, it was also discussed how comics do not always need to offer a tidy, happy ending to be of support – especially for those who have not yet found their happy ending. To be represented and to be able to associate with the characters was of most importance.
In the second panel, “Bullying: Using Comics to Help Cope,” it was not just personal classroom bullying that was discussed, but also institutional bullying (that can be found anywhere from the workplace to online) and more extreme forms of aggression and violence. One of the panelists was Tony Medina, who wrote “I Am Alfonso Jones” (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34099859-i-am-alfonso-jones). It is a graphic novel taught in schools in Ferguson to help children there process the police shooting problem plaguing their community.
The panel then ran an empathy demonstration and listened to different stories people told about their experiences getting bullied. One audience member spoke about her experience being bullied as a Puerto Rican adult woman, and how deeply it still affects her. One of our panelists, Dr. Katie Monnin, who is now the Director of Education at Denver Comic Con’s parent company (Pop Culture Classroom), told how she left her most recent job when her bosses outright told her they would not promote her because of her sexual orientation (hence her new role with Pop Culture Classroom).
The team also had the wonderful experience of meeting Anne Wheaton (wife of Star Trek’s Wil Wheaton) who wrote the children’s book “Piggy and Pug”. As director of the Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA for four years, Anne’s heart lies very much in the care and respect for animals. She gifted the team with a free signed copy of her book to auction off to raise funds for Darwin Animal Doctors’ work.
The team left the Denver Comic Con feeling informed, moved and proud. Participating in the panels meant that our team could bring the importance of Humane Education to the forefront and to ensure that the topic of bullying against animals was also raised and considered. Further, the team raised money through the sales of the comics, graphic novels and plush toys and through donations that will help Darwin Animal Doctors continue spreading Humane Education around the world.
Help our team continue to spread Humane Education around the world, helping build a compassionate and caring society. Donate today.