“Art is a therapeutic technique that I used myself while being treated in the hospital and I wanted to provide this experience for children in the same position” Aaron Rackley talks about Little Heroes Comics kits and their new anthology

We always love discovering a story about how comics can help people, as well as entertain, and so Little Heroes project really warmed our hearts on these cold January days. Set up by Aaron Rackley, they provide packs of resources for kids in hospitals to help them make comics, but this month they are taking things a step further and crowd-funding their own anthology featuring some familiar names from the world of small press.  We catch up with Aaron to find out what it takes to be a Little Hero.

Let’s start at the beginning and tell us a bit about Little Heroes? What is it, and how and why did you get started making these packs for kids in hospitals?

Aaron Rackley: Little Heroes Comics was started in 2017 by myself (Aaron Rackley) as a way of giving back to the hospital that helped me during my own treatment for cancer a few years back. The initial idea was to send comics to children to read during treatment, but given some of the restrictions we faced with getting comics approved, this instead grew into a kit where children could create their own comics. We are now distributing these to sick children across the UK whilst they undergo treatment.

The Little Heroes pack comes complete with everything that kids in hospital might need to create their own comic. Just add imagination!

Can you tell us a bit about what’s in the packs and how they’re distributed?

AR: We are continually looking at ways to make our kits bigger and better, and currently a single kit includes:

1 x A5 Drawing Pad, 1 x Blank Panel Comic Book, 2 x Pencils With Rubber Tips, 1 x Double Ended Black Marker Pen, 1 x Sharpener, 1 x Pencil Rubber, 2 x Comic Related Sticker Sets, 4 x Helpful Drawing Guides, 1 x Pack of 8 Crayons, 1 x Pack of 12 Half Size Colouring Pencils

A number of hospitals have reached out to us via social media requesting kits, and we hope to have finished putting these together and shipped by end of February. After this we still have around 600 to allocate so we are on the lookout for more hospitals to help.

The Little Heroes Anthology is now funding on Kickstarter as a way to help develop more funding for the Little Heroes comic creation packs.

You’re running a campaign on Kickstarter now for an anthology, can you tell us a bit about that? What made you choose to do an anthology? Who have you got involved supplying stories for it, and how did they get involved?

AR: We are always looking for ways to fundraise as well as increase our exposure within the comic community and the Anthology seemed a great fit.

A minimum donation of £3 will get you the Anthology full of comics kindly produced by amazing creators around the unified theme of strength.

Our hope is to continue using the Anthology as a form of fundraising by releasing two a year.

It looks really great and appeals to all ages, was it important for you to create a book that would appeal to everyone?

AR: As we are a charity that is aimed at children we always want all our work to appeal to them. This approach will allow us to seek approval for our comics from the hospital trusts in the UK and we could start to ship our Anthologies with the kits.

What are the plans for it after the Kickstarter? Will there be more anthologies? Will you be selling it at Conventions? And is the plan for the money to go back into making more Little Heroes kits?

AR: We hope to continue the Anthology and grow it as a brand with a release at least 2 times a year. All profits from the Anthology go back into the creation and distribution of our kits with the printing costs being covered by the Kickstarter itself.

Perrywinkle’s Susie Gander joins like small press favourites likes Nick Prolix, Kev Brett, Tom Curry and Simon Russell to provide stories for the Little Heroes Anthology

We gather you’ll be True Believers this year, what will you be doing and are you looking forward to it? Will this be your first convention?

AR: True Believers is our first con and we are super excited. If the timing works out following the end of the Kickstarter campaign, we hope to be unveiling the Anthology for purchase at the con.

We will also be offering a limited amount of smaller comic making kits that we will give away free to any young children who come by and visit us. Most importantly we want to meet you all so we can all work together to get more kits out to children.

And finally, why do you think it is so important for kids in hospital to have comics in hospital and what do you think they get out of it as a result?

AR: It gives them something fun to do to pass the time away! Art is a therapeutic technique that I used myself while being treated in the hospital and I wanted to provide this experience for children in the same position.

You can help support the Little Heroes Anthology by backing it on Kickstarter here. And for more information about Little Heroes kits then visit wwww.littleheroescomics.co.uk. or follow them on twitter @littleheroeskits

Author: Alex Thomas

Alex Thomas is the Editor and founder of PIpedream Comics. He grew up reading comics in the 90s, so even though he loves all things indie and small press, he is easily distracted by a hologram cover.