Above: a 'Medikidz' comic focusing on HIV. Copyright Medikidz 2010.
The medical education comic-book series 'Medikidz', created by former Hawke's Bay doctor Kim Chilman-Blair, was officially launched in New Zealand this week.
The 'Medikidz' are a team of five superheroes from outer space, who each specialize in different parts of the human body. They inhabit a living planet shaped like the human body called 'Mediland', and go on adventures designed to entertain and educated children about their bodies and the causes and effects of serious illnesses.
Dr.Chilman-Blair conceived of the series while training at Auckland's Starship Hospital. She realised there was a need for an education resource specifically aimed at children to help explain, in terms they can understand, the often complex world of medical issues, procedures and treatments. She partnered with a fellow medical graduate Dr Kate Hersov to form the publishing company 'Medikidz Limited' in 2006, and moved their business to London to trial it on a larger market. Since it's official launch last year, they have sold more than 600,000 comics to hospitals, clinics and families based in the UK, Europe, India, Australia, and the United States.
The comics are co-produced by the doctors with John Taddeo a long-time comics enthusiast, once employed as a Marketing Manager for Marvel Comics. All the material produced is peer reviewed by doctors and specialists in the medical field to keep it accurate and accessible. So far topics covered by the comics include: Leukaemia, Breast Cancer, Swine Flu, ADHD, Childhood Overweight, Epilepsy, Type 1 Diabetes, HIV, Asthma, Osteosarcoma, Autism, Food Allergy, and Scoliosis.
To celebrate the New Zealand launch, local businessman Owen Glenn purchased 500 issues, which have been donated to the Starship Hospital.
Published in New Zealand by HarperCollins, the series of graphic novels should be available from all good booksellers this month and retail for $16.99. If you would like more information regarding upcoming titles or resources, you can visit the 'Medikidz' official website HERE.
Above: The Medikidz take on HIV. Copyright Medikidz 2010.