Scott tackles the demons involved in benefit assessment

Scott versus demons scott davidson web revised

Comic book Scott Versus Demons takes a satirical look at the PIP process

25th August 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Being assessed for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) is a stressful process for many.

And Scott Davidson has turned his experience of the government benefit application process into a satirical comic which has been created with help from Alan Grant, of Judge Dredd fame, and artist Robin Smith.

The 23-year-old, who is autistic, had to travel from his home in Gorebridge to the Borders for an assessment last year, and it was a process that struck a chord with him.

“We wanted to make it something that people with disabilities could relate to, and the PIP assessments seemed very relevant,” said Scott’s mum Liz Davidson.

“Scott had to do his PIP assessment last year. As a result of that he was asked to have a face-to-face assessment. Although we live in Midlothian, we had to go down to the Borders. They didn’t ask us if we had transport, there was no consideration made about our circumstances.

“Scott has difficulties with conversation and going through the face-to-face assessment was very stressful. He couldn’t understand why he was being asked at 23 to prove he had a disability and thought he had done something wrong.”

Scott Versus Demons focuses on a character based on Scott, who experiences the “farce” of being assessed for PIP, and looks in to issues surrounding disability assessments and public austerity.

Produced in conjunction with Artlink Edinburgh, the comic was launched as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival.

Scott said: “I met up with Alan, who has done Judge Dredd and Batman, and told him about my idea for Scott Versus Demons. He thought it was a good idea.

“I do this for fun, and it is nice to get to say hello to people and ask people questions about the comics.”

Scott had previously worked with the artist and author on his first comic book Scott Versus Zombies, which examined the role art and creativity can play in the lives of those living at a disadvantage.

Liz said: “The first comic came about because Artlink had funding for projects for young adults with autism, focusing on the difficulty with transition.

“All young adults have difficulty with finding their own identity, what they want to do with their life. And for people with autism it can be even worse.

“To deal with anxiety, Scott would often pretend he was a superhero. That was how he coped with difficult situations. And that was how we came up with the story of Scott as the hero. He built a relationship with Alan and Robin.”

As well as being involved in the production of the comics, Scott has been hosting signings, designing t-shirts and attending comic conventions.

“It has made an amazing difference to Scott, the experiences of the two comics. With Scott Versus Zombies and the whole process of releasing that: meeting people, doing conventions, it has done so much for Scott’s confidence.”

Scott Versus Demons is on sale now from Artlink Edinburgh, at Blackwells Books, Deadhead Comics and online.