More than 30 years ago, actor Paul Newman started a free camp where kids could escape the stigma and isolation of their medical conditions and, in his words, “raise a little hell.” Today, there are 30 camps and programs in the Serious Fun Children’s Network serving the needs of children and families around the world. To support the Network, Newman’s Own Foundation asked us to create a series of social media comics that share what it’s like to be a kid at a Serious Fun camp.
Our goal was to create characters rather than caricatures, and to show how camp helps kids gain independence and see beyond the limits of their medical conditions. Getting it right required research, listening, and checking in with those who know the campers best to make sure we portrayed the safety and medical care available at camp and conditions like dwarfism accurately. Creating this series not only helped us understand Serious Fun campers, it helped us understand how different it is to construct a narrative primarily through visuals – and the beats and payoffs built into comics.