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Kelowna boy who has autism finds calm in comic book writing

The first issue of Super Riot Dog, by Ryan Berry.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Keith Berry

When 12-year-old Ryan Berry puts his pencil to paper he churns out comic books that have charmed his family and a growing readership.

But the Kelowna boy is also getting something from the artistic endeavour, too — a creative way to channel his energy for hours on end.

“I find it really calming and it’s fun,” Berry said during an interview this weekend.

Berry said he is autistic, and like many others who relate to the world in atypical ways, finding a creative outlet offers a wealth of benefits.

Berry’s particularly inspired to go down this path because of the story of Dav Pilkey, his comic-book writing hero. 

Pilkey, who’s known by children the world over for his Captain Underpants and Dog Man series, has spoken often about how comic book writing was a refuge during his school years. He had ADHD and dyslexia and when they made him feel alone he found a way to relate to the world.

Pilkey’s work and story is clearly top of mind for Berry when he penned his latest creation, Super Riot Dog.

“It’s a zombie story,” he said.

Ryan Berry is winning over a new audience with his comic books.
Ryan Berry is winning over a new audience with his comic books.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Keith Berry

But it has all the charming sass of a Pilkey tale and his dad Keith Berry is all for it.

So much so, that he had the idea to print the comic and list it on his local buy and sell page. They go for $10 and the money raised is being diverted to two causes close to their hearts — the World Wildlife Fund and Autism Canada.

“We kind of had a goal of selling 10 or 15 to friends and family and as of (Friday) night we reached 40,” Keith said.

They’ve also been contacted by local comic book groups and he’s been told they’ll have a place for him to set up shop once life gets a bit back to normal. Its popularity is a delightful surprise to both Berrys and Keith couldn’t be prouder.

“It’s really cool, when you find your kid has a passion, getting to help them with it and explore it,” Keith said. 

He’s also proud to see his son learn the lesson that hard work and effort can have good results.

As for what made it all popular, that’s a tougher question. He thinks the answer may be simply that it’s positive and fun in a time where things have been kind of negative.

“Anything you can to add hope and fun is great,” he said.

As for the artist, this is just the beginning.

Get ready for Volume 2, which will see the emergence of a super villain.

To get your copy, find Keith on Facebook.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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