Charlotte artists, journalists team up to tell real-world stories through comic books

By Savannah Levins
November 17, 2020

While this particular story won’t have a caped superhero fly in to save the day, it does show real truth, and fear, and hope and heroes nonetheless.

For decades, comic books have immersed readers in new worlds — in stories that make readers root for the good guy, face villains head-on and make anything seem possible.

“It was also [an] escape from the environment that I was growing up in, it was kind of like my way to tell a story, get things off my chest,” Wolly McNair said.

For artists like McNair, comics are also a way to tell important stories.

“Art is a part of the fabric of everything that is happening in the world,” McNair said.

And there’s been a lot happening in the world, with plenty of stories still to tell.

“The pandemic has been the news for months now,” said Manoj Kesavan with the artist collaborative BOOM Charlotte. “So, I feel like a lot of these stories won’t reach people unless we use a more creative way to tell the story”

Kesavan said this was a first of its kind idea — bringing journalists and artists together to turn real news reports into a graphic novel.

“This is not something most artists do, or journalists do,” Kesavan said.

WCNC Charlotte has partnered with the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative and BOOM Charlotte to produce a graphic novel called “Pandemic.”

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This story was produced by the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, a partnership of six media companies working together in an effort started by the Solutions Journalism Network and funded by The Knight Foundation.