The Prime Minister is dead. It makes for a catchy hook, right? Well that is what British comic creator Jamie Me is hoping for as he attempts to get funding on Kickstarter for his team to create a thriller about political corruption and hacktivism.
Queen is a story about Emily Green. She is a struggling politician, is the Deputy Prime Minister of the British government, but her personal life is falling apart, she doesn't believe in the political system anymore and she is preparing to quietly step down from her position after the upcoming General Election.
Hactivist group 'Nidus', known for releasing leaked documents to the general public, have greater plans for the Deputy Prime Minister, but how does that end in the biggest political death in a generation?
The creator and writer of the project, Jamie Me has explained to us what motivated his decision to take the unconventional step in writing a comic about politics without any fantasy elements.
“Back in 2013 I was diagnosed with OCD.” Explains Me. “I struggled to the leave the house for weeks at a time, and I was washing my hands until they bled. I’d be washing them up to 30 times a day, and getting multiple showers.”
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a mental condition where people can practice ritualistic behaviours, check things repeatedly and have repeated unwanted thoughts according to Wikipedia.
“I ended up getting therapy, and it was the hardest part of my life. Truly horrific. I had to face up to, and still do, everything I was afraid of. I lost my ability to work, and that destroyed my image of myself. It broke my heart. When I was diagnosed I was in tears saying ‘I just want to work’. The doctors said I’d be able to again, but I had to dedicate myself to therapy first. So I did, but then I was sent to an interview about claiming benefits with ATOS.”
ATOS handled duties appointed by the British government regarding theWork Capability Assessment for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). One of their key duties was assessing if people wishing to claim disability benefit were eligible or if they were fit for work.
“I’m at the lowest point of my life, but I’m trying my best to return to work as soon as possible. I’m interviewed by someone with no medical knowledge of my condition, and they keep telling me it sounds tough, and that I’ll surely be told I can claim until I’ve completed therapy. They judged I was fit for work shortly after. They did this a lot between 2011-2014 and it saw up to 10,000 people die that were incorrectly told they were fit for work, or they were wrongfully placed in work-related activity groups.”
After bad publicity the DWP negotiated an early exit for ATOS out of their contract with the government. They do however, as of October 2016, still make assessments of Personal Independent Payments in the UK. But how did this end in a comic being made by Me, Bernard Gita and Sean Callahan?
“I won my appeal like 60% of people that challenged their verdicts did, and I managed to complete my therapy over 22 weeks. Shortly after I became able to return to work. One of the things that helped this process was creating a comic, Queen. It gave me a purpose, and something to work towards. I was angry at the government, and telling a story about tackling political corruption became something I dedicated myself to. The further you look into things the worse it gets. People are profiting from the destruction and mismanagement of our Health Service in the UK. We all need to fight back whatever way we can.”
Jamie Me successfully funded Queen #1 on Kickstarter, and now he is looking to fund the sequel and a new run of the original comic. The team of Me, Gita and Callahan are looking for £1900 to continue the comic, and people who back the project can get unique rewards like getting drawn into a protest art print. You can check out the project here.