Comic book writers who created some of Marvel and DC Comics’ world famous characters have teamed up with the University of Central Lancashire for a superhero inspired science project.
Over the past 25 years Andy Lanning and Anthony Williams have illustrated and written a host of comics including The Avengers, Batman, Captain America, Superman, Iron Man and X-Men.
Now they’ve given UCLan a Gotham City style make-over and turned engineering lecturer Matt Dickinson into a superhero character as part of a national schools’ science competition.
Matt is the main character in the Hero Lab comic who is turned into two characters; superhero Mecha-man and super villain Doktor Darkness, after being struck by lightning while working in his lab.
Primary school age children are being encouraged to create 10 new characters for the final story that will help the nemeses fight each other.
The only stipulation is that any super powers must be based in real-life science.
A team of engineers will also work on the project providing online materials that children can access as part of their research into what science fact rather than science fiction can be applied to the characters’ super powers.
The Hero Lab project funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering , is a follow-up to the Science of Superheroes show run by Matt Dickinson over the last three years .
The project is being co-ordinated by Dr Jo Heaton-Marriott, at UCLan, and will also be included as a character in the comic book.
She said: “We hope to debunk stereotypes about engineering and show the breadth and depth of engineering research in the UK.
“The comic book will allow primary school children to explore cutting-edge research and fuel their imagination.”
Andy said: “It’s an exciting concept to develop new characters grounded in real life engineering.
“Working with Matt and the team has been really insightful and has given us some fantastic ideas for Herolab.”
To enter the competition children can visit www.herolab.co.uk for an entry form and choose whether they want to join Mecha-Man in creating the next generation of superheroes or join Doktor Darkness in his Vault of Villains.
The 10 winners will see their characters developed by the two comic book artists to play a starring role in the Hero Lab comic. They will also receive signed artwork of their characters.