Craig Delano, Wraparound Comix Creator
September 06, 2017 | Craig Delano
My name is Craig Delano. I have been creating Wraparound comics for the NWI website since 2010, but I have never taken an opportunity to introduce myself and explain why I do what I do.
Both Wraparound and reading and creating comics have been important to me for a good majority of my life, and in an odd way, they sort of go hand in hand.
As a young child, I had severe difficulty in reading comprehension. I could read and sound out words and sentences perfectly, but could not recite the content and meaning of anything I read.
One day, when I was about 8 years old, a neighbor loaned me a comic book and my mom caught me on the couch looking at it. It was just a comic book, but still, I had a book in my hands. So my mom began buying them for me, and soon after, I was able to comprehend everything I read.
Comics allowed me to realize what I read, panel by panel, allowing me to connect and envision what was written. When I began to read actual books, I would form the content in my mind as if the story were moving sequentially, panel by panel.
Later, my life became difficult at home and at school. I was diagnosed with mental illness and spent a lot of time away from home, and my family was eventually accepted into Wraparound.
It took me some time before I warmed up to the idea of Wraparound after my family was initially accepted into it. We had already received several other different services for a couple of years before and it had all felt one and the same. It hadn’t crossed my mind that Wraparound was different and could really help, but there were many differences.
One difference was that it had the ability to bring all sorts of people that worked with my family to the table together who would have never done so otherwise. Another was a personal perspective, when I realized that the structure and the format of both comics and the Wraparound process seemed somewhat interrelated to me. They both consist of many similar aspects such as safety and crisis, needs, strengths, community well-being, culture, outcomes, etc.
For example, a comic book issue will typically center around a crisis, such as a villain desiring to take over the world and/or destroy it. So a hero, or a group of heroes will take notice and come up with a plan by utilizing their own unique and individual strengths to meet the immediate need, which would be to stop the villain and save the world. The culture of what the story is placed within, whether it’s a city, a rural area, or a different universe is important in determining how to plan for its safety and resolve and utilize each hero’s strengths and resources accordingly. The outcomes are determined by how and when the characters in the story will know that its safety can be obtained.
This is very similar, if not a mirror image of the Wraparound process, alhough in Wraparound, I would replace the term “Villain,” for “dire situation.”
For instance, a family might have Wraparound as a service mainly because they have a child that is at risk for long-term placement and the Wraparound process is designed to keep that child at home. So a Family and Child Team is assembled in order to utilize their individual and collective strengths’, knowledge, and expertise to meet the child’s and family’s needs by focusing on safety. The family’s culture is what keeps a family intact and brings out their most vital strength’s to be used as a principal resource in achieving their outcomes and determining their success.
So I was moved by the Wraparound process, and it became an important aspect for my family and what we did and how we planned.
I eventually decided that I wanted to volunteer for Wraparound and other services, becoming a youth advocate.
As an adult I became a Wraparound facilitator and a Wraparound trainer for the state of Michigan, but I felt that I wasn’t giving enough, nor had I found a way to utilize my own unique perspective in an effective way.
So I thought hard on the process and what it really meant to me. I began toying with the idea of a comic based on Wraparound and ended up creating Johnny Chaos and the Wraparound Brigade which was loosely based on my own story. The idea behind it and the other two series that I created since was to develop a tool that was both fun and interactive, and could teach what the Wraparound process really is from my own knowledge and experience.
I believe that something as fun-loving as comics can be a great tool and resource to make knowledge accessible and attainable because comics are so easy to embrace and unintimidating.
Taking on this task has been a pleasure, and I forward to creating more Wraparound comics in the future.