Able2Do Anything: Music & Arts

Meet the Department of Ability

Department of Ability

Comic heroes are everywhere at the moment. Avengers barricading into multiplexes, Suicide Squads ready to rule box office records and Batman Vs Superman…Well let’s just forget about that one shall we?

There’s a new breed of Superheroes on the horizon and they are about to be unleashed into our orbit thanks to artist Dan White.

White’s first comic book, ‘The Department of Ability’ opens a new universe of characters which all have something in common – they all have a disability.

First off there’s ‘Billy’ – a stray cat who was hit by a car. The moggy now relies on a carbon wheels to crawl around town, but that isn’t all. Billy also has a radar and transmitter lodged in his tail and an emergency backpack.

Jacob Claypole has been given a new lease of life and we aren’t exaggerating here. The former chief scientist at Hero H.Q. was killed whilst testing out one of his own experiments but he was brought back to life. However, results from his trials have had a life-changing impact – Jacob is now blind although his remaining senses have been supercharged and his cane doubles as a lethal weapon.

He maybe 10,000 years-old but age is just a series of numbers for Azzi. Hailing from planet Peacealorr this alien looking creature was equipped with a bionic arm after his original limb was broken off in a black hole.

Then there’s Pawsy. First name cerebral – only kidding! Caged in London Zoo the cheetah was allowed to escape from the park after an accident ripped off his leg. After being approached by the last hero Pawsy’s speed teared up a gear thanks to a solar powered super limb which accelerates his speed up to 300mph…and his ego!

Finally we meet Emily – who is without doubt White’s most important creation. Based on the artist’s disabled daughter the adventurous girl overcomes her spina bifida with a positive attitude taking up activities such as climbing, boxing and guitar.

The real Emily was born ten years ago. When she was three Dan bought his daughter her first wheelchair, but he wanted to show Emily there were other disabled people just like herself so she could have someone to relate to. Her dad sat down and started channel-hopping with a TV remote… “But there was nothing,” he said. “Some educational stuff but nothing fun. No one there just as them, rather than ‘the character in the wheelchair’. So I did something about it.”

White retreated to his front room in Hampshire where he started to create characters of his own and posted his pieces of work on Facebook. His work paid off when he was contacted by a children’s charity called Strongbones which supports youngsters with life-threatening illnesses.

It wasn’t just charity which came knocking on Dan’s door. His followers now include celebrities including Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and TV personality Zoë Ball – who also make an appearance in the comic.

So you can keep your Iron Man, Hulks and trust us, you can really keep your Batman/ Superman punch ups…We’ve found a new batch of marvels and after hearing comic-book legend Stan Lee is also interested in The D.O.A who know what could be in store for a cheetah rejected by London Zoo?

Dan White will be showcasing his work at Hamleys in London on Tuesday 26 June.

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