WATCH: Sovereign Comics discuss using edutainment to highlight the dangers of county lines during Global Crime conference


If you don’t know Dean and Paul of Sovereign Comics I’m sure you will soon. The pair lead the London-based comic book group and have long been consistent around two fundamental points:

  1. That ‘edutainment’ can serve as a catalyst for social mobility.
  2. Comics and art can be used to engage youth and help address some of society's biggest issues.

It is a different form of activism, but one which they believe could prove crucial all the same. Speaking in April, they emphasised that it has a role to play in raising youth awareness of serious threats in various communities, as well as in bringing a distinct approach to traditional classroom learning.

County lines

One such topic that they have discussed, written about, and highlighted is the impact of county lines, which is increasingly being viewed as a form of modern-day slavery and has also been linked to growing fears around missing black children.

Sovereign Comics teamed up with Liberty lines earlier this year to launch a comic focused initiative around the perils of county lines. This week, both Paul and Dean spoke about the project's trajectory and using comic books to educate children on its dangers.

As stated in April, educating youth is only one part of the approach to keeping them safe from the threat of county lines. It does not, on its own, prevent perpetrators from grooming children into this life, nor does it materially change the environments that foster the use of juveniles in the drug trade and all it entails. However, as they stated during the event, this is just one of many key 'dents' towards an issue of monumental importance.

Make an effort to listen. It is a one-hour session that is well worth your time.

This is just the first step in the many steps we will be taking towards actively helping young people through this and making a dent in it - just engaging parents as well, you know? The fact that we're signposting them to where they can get help and also talking about what actually happens; giving them the story before the child actually has to live that life. We're showing you, ‘this is where you'll start, this is where you can end up, and this is what can happen to the rest of your life,’ - here's a success story, here's a bad story. A lot of children aren't having these conversations with their parents or aren't having these conversations with adults or organisations that can help them directly until it's too late. By introducing it earlier, I believe that we're gonna see a difference in the change with our approach.

Paul Nelson, Co-founder of Sovereign Comics

Mayowa Ayodele