Takeda Pharmaceutical and Marvel Custom Solutions have released two new chapters of IBD Unmasked, a graphic novel designed to raise awareness of the unrecognized superheroes of the global inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) community. These two final chapters complete the series.
The team of superheroes, called “The Unbeatables,” was created in 2016 to provide fun and educational information about IBD, to describe what it means to live with IBD, and to portray the lives of the “sidekicks” who support IBD patients (such as family and friends).
The series follow the adventures of five superheroes – Samarium, Switchback, Luminaria, Datawave, and Rubblerouser – as they take on their enemy, Technonaut. Some of the Unbeatables have Crohn’s disease (CD) and some have ulcerative colitis (UC), representing two of the most common IBDs. Others take care of IBD patients.
This is the first time a pharmaceutical company has partnered with Marvel CS to create a disease-awareness campaign.
“Only a person with IBD can understand what it is truly like. It can be very difficult, and it’s really important that your environment and those who surround you provide support and understanding,” Chantel Wicks, an IBD Unmasked patient panel member, said in a press release. “IBD Unmasked has shed light on the patient experience and given me the opportunity to have a positive impact on the IBD community.”
The Unbeatables were created by Marvel CS in collaboration with a panel of real-life IBD patients worldwide. The first chapter was launched at the popular London Comic Con in 2016, and the second was unveiled earlier this year on World IBD Day, May 19.
“When we launched IBD Unmasked, we wanted to provide inspiration for people living with IBD, and to recognize the truly heroic journey they go through in an authentic way,” said Elissa Johnsen, senior director of global product and pipeline communications at Takeda. “During the past year, IBD Unmasked and our partnerships with patients, physicians and Marvel have enabled us to support those living with IBD in a meaningful and creative way.”
The IBD Unmasked website also allows visitors to create and share their own “Super Hero avatar,” take part in quizzes, and download tips that can be helpful when talking with doctors, family, or friends about IBD. IBD Unmasked is also on Twitter. Follow the superheroes’ story at #IBDUnmasked.
“It was a unique and rewarding challenge to work on IBD Unmasked and collaborate directly with patients with IBD to create an inspiring new graphic novel,” said Fabian Nicieza, writer of The Unbeatables and co-creator of Deadpool. “We are proud to have created a group of heroic characters living with IBD and a dramatic adventure story that will raise awareness and empower people living with IBD.”