The partners launched four new superheroes called the Unbeatables, and the opening chapter of a new graphic comic book to highlight the daily battles and strength of the unsung superheroes of the global IBD community.
IBD Unmasked was launched at London Comic Con, held Oct. 28-30 this year. Comic Con visitors were able to sit through a live painting demo by a Marvel illustrator and meet Samarium, the first of the IBD Superheroes.
The Unbeatables team was created by Marvel with the contribution of a panel of IBD patients worldwide. All four heroes are introduced in the first chapter of the IBD Unmasked graphic novel series, available online here.
“Patients told us about the physical and emotional battles they face every day from living with IBD and particularly highlighted the isolating nature of this disease,” Elissa Johnsen, head of global product and pipeline communications at Takeda, said in a press release.
“Through working with Marvel Custom Solutions and our global panel of patient advisors, we were able to creatively bring these insights to life and create parallels between the strength, perseverance and positivity of comic book Superheroes and those living with IBD.”
On the online platform, visitors can also customize their own superhero avatar and share it with their friends through social media channels, take educational quizzes and download tips to help inform conversations about IBD with doctors, family members or friends.
IBD patients often feel left out of certain social situations — including friendships and intimate relationships — because of their condition. In a comprehensive study led by European researchers, it was found that 48 percent of IBD patients who participated felt they had been impacted in some way by their disease; 35 percent felt uncomfortable pursuing intimate relationships; and 26 percent said making and keeping friends was harder because of their IBD.
“IBD Unmasked uses the medium of fantasy and fiction in an attempt to highlight the hidden reality and daily battles that people with IBD have to fight every day,” said James Lindsay, consultant at Barts Health NHS Trust.
“Feeling comfortable about discussing symptoms and their impact on your life is a crucial part of every consultation. Therefore, I encourage people with IBD to use the online IBD Unmasked resources to enhance consultations with their healthcare team so they can map out the best management plan for them,” he said.