The work of frontline staff on the Tyne and Wear Metro is to be celebrated by a specially stylised comic book.
Local artist Mike Duckett is drawing the 40-page comic in homage to the ‘everyday superheroes’ who undertake customer service and revenue protection roles on Metro.
Mike, an illustrator from Bardon Mill in Northumberland, will tell the stories of Metro’s frontline employees as they look after customers, challenge ticketless travel, and provide a reassuring presence on stations and trains.
He will be taking inspiration from a range of comics, including the iconic pages of DC and Marvel comics.
The project is part of the big Metro Community Takeover and involves Mike travelling across the rail network to meet with and bring to life the stories of some of Metro’s 120 customer service advisors as they go about their work.
Mike said: “Usually you see superheroes like Batman and Spiderman in the pages of comic books, but I want to capture the everyday jobs of frontline Metro workers as they perform their duties – they are the real superheroes.
“They are the going to be the stars in their very own comic, whether that is helping a customer use a ticket machine or helping a person with the gatelines. It’s all part of the everyday that I aim to capture in my drawings.
“The Metro is an iconic transport system and I don’t think it has ever been represented through this type of artwork before. It’s a new and very contemporary way of celebrating the Metro and its staff.”
Mike will produce a final printed ‘Metro comic book’ which will be available to buy as part of the Metro network’s 40th anniversary celebrations.
The Metro Takeover programme involves major regional arts organisations running community projects and commissions which are being showcased at stations across the busy urban transit system by Metro’s operator, Nexus.
Huw Lewis, Customer Services Director at Nexus, said: “Metro has a long tradition of promoting public art but this is the first time we have commissioned comic book art. We are really excited to be showcasing the work of staff through this fascinating and iconic medium.
“Creative arts and the barriers it breaks down are a great way to help people reconnect with Metro in their everyday lives.”
Between August 2021 and spring 2022 Metro will be brought to life in new ways through dance, song, music, and visual arts projects involving people right across the region and funded by Arts Council England.
Image credit: Nexus