There are a huge amount of great projects seeking backing on Kickstarter (and, let’s be honest, other crowdfunding platforms, too) – so it’s perhaps no wonder that a planned new limited series superhero comic, The Me Generation, conceived by Barnaby Eaton-Jones, written by Colin Brake, with art by Yishan Li, almost slipped under my radar.
Inspired by the true-life experiences of ME sufferers around the world, The ME Generation – planned as a graphic novel, told over four chapters, aims to tell a positive, life-affirming story of four sufferers from this most misunderstood of illnesses, who find themselves forming an unlikely superhero team.
Written by veteran TV scriptwriter and novelist Colin Brake (EastEnders, Bugs, Doctors, Doctor Who, Dan Dare), it tells the story of Sara, Kerrin, Liam, and Eliza, who are all dealing with their own personal ME hell.
Offered the chance of a new, radical, and experimental therapy four of them find themselves enhanced with incredible superpowers and thrust into danger.
With the Doctor who transformed them killed in an accident by secret agents trying to shut down his practice, and their superpowers running out-of-control, our four heroes, aided by their tech-savvy friend Arjan, have to uncover the truth about what has happened to them… and why.
The Me Generation was conceived by actor/writer/director/producer Barnaby Eaton-Jones (The Goodies, Robin of Sherwood, Passport To Oblivion, Running To Stand Still), who has battled ME himself for nearly 30 years, the initial idea for the comic came from Barnaby’s own experiences, and with characters originally based on four female friends of his; who have their own ME stories to tell.
People living with ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) and CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) are warriors who have had to battle with the life-changing affects of this debilitating condition whilst simultaneously fighting the medical establishment to recognise and treat their suffering.
The ME Generation seeks to celebrate their on-going struggle, offer hope and entertainment through a fantastic comic-book adventure, and ultimately raise money for vital research into the causes of ME and to fund the development of new treatments for the condition.
The ME Generation is planned as a four issue, comic book series, which will then be collected and published as a graphic novel, with some extra content. The current crowdfunding campaign is for Issue One, but you can also pledge to support the final combined graphic novel.
“Offering thrilling action, appealing and relatable characters, a good dose of wit and even a touch of satire, The ME Generation tells a story shot through with mystery, conspiracy, and unexpected twists,” enthuses Barnaby Eaton-Jones.
“I’m just a few months older than Spider-Man,” says The ME Generation scribe Colin Brake, “and I’ve been a comic-book reader for, gulp, about 50 years! I can’t wait to share these great characters and their awesome, funny and thrilling adventure with an audience and, of course, raise awareness of this terrible illness.”
Each action-packed issue, illustrated in full colour by Yishan Li (Hellboy, Batwoman, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Les Contes Du Boudoir Hante), features exciting comic-book action, character development, intrigue, suspense, and each issue ends on a classic cliff-hanger moment, leaving the reader (hopefully) desperate for the next chapter.
“I love that we are using this comic to raise awareness of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis!” says Yishan Li. “It’s a story full of adventure, actions and hope. Let’s go on the journey together!”
“I’m aware of how the media and the world has focused in on chronic illness, with the appearance of the ‘Long Covid’ strain of the pandemic we’re living through.” says Barnaby. “It couldn’t be more timely, as research continues to find the markers, to bring out this graphic novel which seeks to entertain first and foremost – giving sufferers some excitement and adventure, that could well be sadly missing because of the severity of their condition.
“I hope this connects with sufferers, non-sufferers, and comic book fans alike. It’s tale that I wanted to tell and I’m really very happy that Colin and Yishan will be telling it for me.”
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.